Use this activity for a new calendar year or a new school year. Ideal for Back to School or welcoming the new year. The poem “Burning the Old Year” hooks students by first asking them to think of their own lives—and what they would burn from the past year if they could—before they begin closely reading the poem stanza-by-stanza and analyzing it as they annotate. Hits Common Core standards and engages students at the same time. Great for anytime during the year when you want to usher in a new beginning.
Note: This activity is based on the poem "Burning the Old Year" by Naomi Shihab Nye. The link to the poem is included in the teacher instructions.
1. Activities that are aligned to Common Core Standards:
*RL. 9 -10.1; 11-12.1: Textual evidence, inference
*RL. 9-10.4; 11-12.4: Meaning of words and phrases
*RL. 11-12.5: Author’s choices re: structure
*W. 9-10.1; 11-12.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of text
2. Two short answer responses
3. 17 close reading questions and tasks, carefully designed to help students focus on what’s important in each stanza. Your students will circle, box, underline and/or comment on in the margin on specific words, phrases, and lines in the poem.
4. Objective Summary with sample response
5. Constructed Response inference question with sample response
6. Answer Keys for Questions/Tasks, Objective Summary, and Constructed Response!—All of the prep work has been done so that you can just print and teach!
7. Two different links to the poem (from two credible websites. Each has a slightly different format. You choose which one you prefer.) Students can easily access the poem online, or you can print it out for them.
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Keywords: New Years activities, Ring in the New Year, Happy New Year, Back to School, New Semester, close reading, poetry analysis