Halloween Poetry - A Noiseless Patient Spider Poem by Walt Whitman TED Talk

Grade Levels
8th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
15 pages
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Are you looking for a rigorous and engaging Halloween (or anytime) activity that teaches close reading skills, meets many ELA standards, and is ideal for secondary students? Based on the poem “A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman, this lesson includes Poem Analysis with fifteen Words to Know, a coordinating (and very cool) four-minute TED Talk video, a Speaking and Listening activity, a Constructed Response or Multi-paragraph Essay with rubrics for each, which you can choose to include if you’d like to, and an optional activity for Differentiation/Extension.

Day One: (Note: If you only have one day, you can simply stop after Step 3.)
1. Respond to the Bell Ringer

2. Review Vocabulary found in the poem using the Vocabulary.com list I’ve created for you or with a traditional verbal review of the words. (The words and the definitions are listed in the Teacher’s Guide so you don’t have to look them up!)

3. Analyze the poem using the stanza-by-stanza breakdown in the Teacher’s Guide to assist you.

Day Two:
4. Watch the Ted Talk video (link included.) Students record their responses, share their impressions with their classmates, and listen to their classmates’ ideas. (Speaking and Listening)

Days Three - Four
5. Write either a Constructed Response or Essay:
✓Students: Write a Constructed Response or multi-paragraph essay.
✓You: Assess the CR or Essay with the appropriate rubric.

6. Do the Differentiated/Extension Activity: This activity, based on a TED talk about spiders and their silk proteins, is ideal for for those students who need differentiation and extension. The TED talk presents sophisticated terminology and ideas and introduces the possibilities of biomimesis using spider silk, yet is fascinating and expertly presented.


This is a complete lesson from bell ringer to writing with a rubric to a differentiated extension activity. You will need to go to two links to access 1. the poem and 2. the TED video.

All other materials are included.
Teaching Plan – 3 pages that includes
✓Lesson Length (flexible, from 1 – 3+ days)
✓Skills and Standards
✓Resources Needed (including link to the poem and the TED talk),
→ 15 Words to Know (and link to list in Vocabulary.com),
→ Poem Analysis
→ Speaking and Listening instructions
Student Handout – 2 pages
Constructed Response – 2 pages + Rubric
Multi-paragraph Essay – 2 pages + Rubric
Differentiated extension activity – 2 pages with Ted video link (The Magnificence of Spider Silk) and Two, one-page Writing Options

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A Freebie!
Poetry: Poem: Sonnet 97 Close Reading Analysis and Constructed Response

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Copyright Secondary Strategies; license for one classroom use only. Please use the multiple licensing option for additional classrooms. Thank you!
Total Pages
15 pages
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
2 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.


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