Romanticism in Review: Snow Nostalgia

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SWBAT contribute to a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas by participating in a whole-class discussion of John Greenleaf Whittier's "Snowbound"

Big Idea

As we started with the idea of telling stories around the fire, so we end, with an understanding of poetry, Romanticism, and collaborative communication.

Introduction & Welcome: It's Veteran's Day

10 minutes

I greet students at the door, reminding them they need their textbook today.

Once students have settled in at the bell, I remind them that it is Veterans Day, and I ask they thank a veteran. We do not have many vets on staff, but there are a few, and the kids mostly know who they are. In order to give a bit of background about Veterans Day, I share this History Channel Veterans Day video with the class. After the video, I ask students if they have any thoughts or veterans' stories they'd like recognized. 

The main purpose of addressing Veterans Day, as with all Daily Holidays, is to continue building the sense of trust and community in my classroom. Veterans Day, however, has a bit more gravitas to it, which is why I took the additional minutes to share the video. 

Teacher-Directed Discussion: Reviewing "Snowbound" & Romanticism

25 minutes
To check my students' understanding of their collaborative and independent reading of the Fireside Romantic poets, we take time today to have a whole-class discussion on "Snowbound", addressing both their reading of the literature and their group discussions. 

I ask the students to pull their chairs into a circle. While not-quite a Socratic Seminar, as it is a teacher-led discussion and review, the whole-class collaboration builds a sense of trust and interaction between the students, as they share their ideas on Snowbound with the classI chose to use a "circle-discussion" in this situation to continue the collaborative momentum of the small-group week, but wanted to directly assess students' understanding. Since we've done writing and discussion in small groups, sharing the ideas to the class as a whole provides another means for students to demonstrate their understanding. 

Since students have already read the material under study and addressed these questions in small groups, they have prepared evidence to support analysis and inferences of the poem (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1). With this preparation, students hold a thoughtful exchange of ideas (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a). As we discuss the poem, I direct the students to the developing plot, looking at how the storm threatens (Modeling Questions 3, 5, and 13) and how the safe, warm inside contrasts with this growing storm outside (Modeling Questions 9, 10, 11, and 12). This analysis of John Greenleaf Whittier's development of the central idea addresses the specific details that shape the message or theme of finding comfort from nature (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2). 

Transitioning to the Gothic: Revisiting Jigsaw Notes

10 minutes
As we wrap up the Firesides, I ask students to pull the desks from a whole-class circle into the smaller, jigsaw groups with whom they worked in our analysis of the Fireside poets. When we conducted the jigsaw reading on the Romantic period, one student read and took notes on the Gothics. Today, they will share these notes with the group to provide background, as we did not have time during "Stories By The Fireside."
We are moving on to Edgar Allan Poe and will do an analysis of the "Brooding" or Gothic Romantics. After the "expert"from the jigsaw shares notes on this literary movement, I ask students to read the biographical sketch of Poe in their textbooks. Students already have the textual evidence to support identification of the characteristics of Gothic Romanticism (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1) and to present the information logically, in a manner appropriate to their peers (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4). As a class, we review the three primary characteristics of Gothic Romanticism, and how they develop from the core Romantic movement. 

A focus on...
1. Imagination and emotion
2. Drawing inspiration from nature
3. Individuality

Evolves to a belief that...
1. People are capable of great evil
2. The supernatural haunts people
3. Isolation leads to insanity.
These ten minutes give students an opportunity to get these notes, and by reading Poe's
biography, transition to the deeper look at his life, tomorrow. During our next lesson, we will compare how Poe addresses the Romantic characteristics, and how he turns them on their heads with Gothic characteristics.  

Wrap-Up & Reminders: Tomorrow, We Get Gothic

5 minutes

I give students five minutes to return their desks to where they belong and address the homework, as over the course of the class, the shifting from group-to-group will have created chaos in regards to where the desks and students' belongings end up. 

After the desks have been returned to rows, I note the homework (also written on the board): please complete anything that was not finished on the reading of Poe's biographical sketch and in their notes, journal/brainstorm what pops into their heads when they think of Edgar Allan Poe.