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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Understanding the Basics of Poetry

Project URL: http://teachnet-lab.org/goldman/poetry/TeachNet/Contents.htm

How it works:


Understanding the Basics of Poetry is a unit designed to introduce students to the aspects of poetry they need to understand in order to successfully explicate a poem. The unit begins with a PowerPoint presentation that introduces poetic techniques and figurative language, rhyme and tone and theme. The types of poems explored are the ode, the villanelle, the sonnet and free verse. Students will work on various activities to enhance their understanding of these forms and how they influence tone and theme. Explications can be approached in various ways, but examples are provided to guide the students. A final project consists of a Web presentation using a poem of the student's choice and powered by Think.com.


Standards addressed:  
Writing

  • Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
  • Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing
  • Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions
  • Gathers and uses information for research purposes

Reading

  • Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
  • Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts
  • Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts

Listening and Speaking

  • Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes

Viewing

  • Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media

Media

  • Understands the characteristics and components of the media

Materials used:
Computers with Internet connection, and a free account at think.com.

The students:
This unit is suitable for 10th graders and older. Some level of higher thinking should be previously ingrained, such as the exploration of a novel that employs symbolism at great length.

Overall value:
Although poetic interpretation is considered to be somewhat subjective by students who feel that they can decide what a poem means to them, a basic understanding of how to break apart, or explicate a poem, is essential. Students really should understand that poets choose different poetic forms, rhyme techniques and poetic devices because they each serve different purposes to the meaning of the poem. By being able to identify such things, a student can come up with an intellectual interpretation of any poem.

 
Tips: 
Understanding the Basics of Poetry is a unit that can be altered to suit the teacher's particular preferences. You can spend five days or five weeks teaching poetry to your students. Think.com is an amazing tool that lets you set up free e-mail and Web site accounts for your students that can be used for a variety of activities.

   

About the teacher:
Denise Goldman has been teaching English for 6 years. She is a member of the New York City Writing Project and a recipient of an Impact II grant. She received her Masters Degree in English Education from NYU in 1999.

Email: 
mrsgoldman@msn.com

Subject Areas: 
English
Technology

 

Grade Levels: 
10 -12

 

 

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