Julia Withers VALLIVUE MIDDLE SCHOOL, CALDWELL, ID
7th Grade ELA : Unit #13 - Introduction to Poetry : Lesson #9

Poetic Sound & Structure Terms

Objective: SWBAT analyze how a poem's structure contributes to its meaning by identifying and writing about the use of sound and structure in poetry.
Standards: RL.7.5
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Word Roots Warm-Up - 10 minutes

Today, we work through examples of our word roots in action.  It is important that students copy the entire definition of the word so that they can use their notes to study.

2 Starter - 10 minutes

Because I have yesterday's posters still hanging around the room, it's very easy to begin our starter discussion today.

I draw the students' attention to the silent conversations they had yesterday and ask them to turn to an elbow partner and share one thing that helped them make a decision about whether a text was a poem or not.  They get 2 minutes to share an idea.

When we come back together, we will have a whole-class brainstorming session.  I again pose the question, "What did you think about when you were trying to decide if a text was a poem yesterday?"

If someone offers up a nonspecific idea ("It looks like a poem" for example), I will ask them to be as specific as possible.  I will say, "What does it mean to 'look' like a poem?"

As we go through this brainstorming session, the board will be filled with terms like it rhymed, it had short lines, strange punctuation, no punctuation, strange capitalization, stanzas, a beat, etc.

Once we have exhausted our ideas, I will take a step back and admire the list we create.  I then congratulate the students for knowing so much about the structure and sounds of poetry.  I tell them that we're going to create a set of notes today that will give us a common vocabulary to use when talking about poems.

3 Getting Down to Business - 35 minutes

At this point in the lesson, students will set up a sheet of paper for Cornell Notes.  However, since this particular set of notes will function as a glossary-type reference, I have students write the terms down the left-hand side and the definitions and notes down the right hand side.

You will notice that some of the slides contain an example.  With those particular terms, students can copy the examples that are there.  You can also ask students to create an example of their own.  They are fun to share with the group and a great way to do a spot-check to see if the students truly understand the term.

Once we have created our resource, it's time to apply the terms to actual poems!

I give each student a copy of the Sound and Structure Examples handout.  Their independent task is simply this: look at the three poems provided.  Using the sound and structure terms, underline and label examples of these terms.

As they are working, I will circulate around the room giving feedback and drawing their attention to details they may have overlooked.

Link

4 Did They Get It? - 10 minutes

When there are 10 minutes left in class, I will ask students to take out a half-sheet of paper (split one with a neighbor) and prepare an exit ticket.

For an exit ticket, I ask them to write some observations about the examples of sound and structure they have labeled.  I will write on the board, Why do you think the poet made the choice to use that particular sound or structure element?

I collect these exit tickets on the way out the door to see if students are able to write about the choices a poet makes.  That truly is my ultimate goal with this activity.  I want students to understand that the writer chose to make the poem look and sound like he or she did.  As we move forward through this unit, I will then ask students to think about how those choices contribute to the overall meaning of theme of a poem.

What used to be extension is now for everyone!
Rigor

Again, I find myself enamored with the Common Core Standards.  The have yet again forced me to reconsider the level of understanding I expect from my students.  

In years past, when working through this lesson, I did not ask my general students to complete the exit ticket portion.  This type of deeper thinking was something I considered "extension" and only appropriate for advanced students.  What a disservice to my general students!

As I increase the rigor for all of my students, I am continually amazed at what general students are able to do, when given a rigorous task.  I have always given lip service to the idea that students will rise to the expectations you set, but it's so exciting to actually see it in action!