K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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  • Poetry through music: "Smooth": This lesson draws students into a study of poetry, using Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas' "Smooth" as an entry point.
  • Figurative language: Metaphor: This lesson is a part of a unit on poetry and figurative language. It is designed to teach students the characteristics of metaphor within the context of poetry.
  • An integrated poetry unit: My students have always disliked poetry. The different ways in which this lesson approaches poetry and the connection it makes to their "March Madness" studies seems to make poetry more enjoyable, fun, and relevant for my students. In order to integrate with the sixth grade math and social studies teachers, I teach this unit during the ACC tournament to coincide with the "March Madness" unit that is covered in the math classes.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • demonstrate comprehension skills.
  • demonstrate analysis and response skills.
  • make personal connections.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

3 days

Materials/resources

  • Pen and paper
  • Copies of poem “Song of Life” on page 60 (use the BookViewer to search by page number)
  • poetry vocabulary list
  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Magazines
  • Glue

Pre-activities

  • Students will need to know the basic elements of poetry
  • Students will need to be able to work cooperatively in groups

Activities

Day One

  1. Students will begin by sharing their personal definition of life and ways to celebrate life. Ask, “What is life?” How does one celebrate life?”
  2. Based on student responses (each child will be required to respond in writing or verbally), groups of four will be formed.
  3. Next, students will read the poem aloud in their groups. Each student will take 1-2 minutes to write down an immediate reaction to the poem. They will then discuss their reactions within their groups.
  4. We will then come together as a class to analyze basic poetic elements (rhythm, rhyme, symbolism, theme,and figurative language).

Day Two

  1. We will begin by reviewing our discussion of the elements of poetry. Students will be given additional examples of rhythm and rhyme to enhance their comprehension of these elements, then they will listen to another reading of the poem “Song of Life.” Students will then get into their groups from the day before and brainstorm to develop a musical rhythm that matches the mood of the poem or the group’s interpretation of the poem.
  2. Students will create a visual advertisements (using construction paper, glue, markers and magazine pictures) for their song. They will use the visual in presentations of their song the following day.
  3. Note: Students will be asked to begin brainstorming ideas for their own personal songs. Suggestions will include selecting a rhythm that represents their personality.

Day Three

  1. Students will create their own “song of life” using their personal experiences. For each year of the students’ life, he/she will select a memorable or meaningful event and record the event.
  2. Next, the student will summarize the events (in chronological order) in a rhyming format. Lastly, students will select a rhythm for their personal songs to be performed at the end of the class period.

Assessment

  • Peer Evaluations (using rubric)
  • Participation in collaborative groups (using http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/actbank/collaborub.html”>rubric)

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 11-12
          • 11-12.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 11-12.L.5.1 Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text. 11-12.L.5.2 Analyze nuances in the...
        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. 9-10.L.5.1 Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text. 9-10.L.5.2 Analyze nuances in the...
      • Speaking & Listening

        • Grade 11-12
          • 11-12.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly...
        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 11

  • Goal 1: The learner will demonstrate increasing insight and reflection to print and non-print text through personal expression.
    • Objective 1.02: Reflect and respond expressively to texts so that the audience will:
      - discover multiple perspectives.
      - investigate connections between life and literature.
      - explore how the student's life experiences influence his or her response to the selection.
      - recognize how the responses of others may be different.
      - articulate insightful connections between life and literature.
      -consider cultural or historical significance.
  • Goal 4: The learner will critically analyze text to gain meaning, develop thematic connections, and synthesize ideas.
    • Objective 4.01: Interpret meaning for an audience by:
      - examining the functions and the effects of narrative strategies such as plot, conflict, suspense, point of view, characterization, and dialogue.
      - interpreting the effect of figures of speech (e.g., personification, oxymoron) and the effect of devices of sound (e.g., alliteration, onomatopoeia).
      - analyzing stylistic features such as word choice and links between sense and sound.
      - identifying ambiguity, contradiction, irony, parody, and satire.
      - demonstrating how literary works reflect the culture that shaped them.