Make a study of poetry compelling and relevant to your students’ lives.
In the film Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams famously delivers portions of Walt Whitman’s beloved “O Captain! My Captain!” poem. This funeral dirge serves as a compelling extended metaphor for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln just days after the end of the Civil War. Use this 45-minute lesson to pull your students into this classic Walt Whitman text, which they’ll compare to a poem written by W.H. Auden upon the death of President John F. Kennedy.
This product includes:
A single-sheet featuring both poems (PDF)
A separate nine-question worksheet that will require students to dig into the text and their own minds (PDF)
A detailed answer key to allow ease of grading and provide discussion starters (PDF)
A six-slide mini-presentation to use as a mood lightener at the end of the lesson showing strange, but true similarities between the fallen presidents (Powerpoint and PDF formats)
This 45-minute lesson will add rigor to your students’ enjoyment of Dead Poets Society, but also works as a stand-alone assignment for any poetry or American literature unit if, like me, you aren’t able to use the full-length film with your classes. Either way, your students will be challenged and entertained as they work through the words of Walt Whitman and W.H. Auden.
Want another lesson to connect to Dead Poets Society?
Click HERE for a two-day poetry analysis and non-fiction media literacy lesson on Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!”
Click HERE for a 45-minute lesson on Robert Herrick’s poem that begs teens to “gather ye rosebuds while ye may...”
Click HERE for a bundle of these three lessons at a 16% discount!
This item is also included in my full, 4-week poetry unit. Click HERE to check out my money-saving poetry lesson bundle.
If you purchase the bundle, there's no need to buy this item separately.
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