NOTE: I used this activity for a Compass Evaluation and received a Highly Effective rating as a result.
In this activity, students work in small groups to first obtain a solid foundation of understanding of the poem before connecting the elements to characters from Of Mice & Men.
For the poetry comprehension and analysis portion of the activity students tap into a plethora of knowledge and Common Core standards that go deeper than just “what is this poem about.” Students use context clues to define unfamiliar words, discuss each reaction to a dream deferred, organize the imagery of the poem in a graphic chart, analyze the tone, theme, and figurative language use, and its intended effect.
Students then cooperatively discuss how the various reactions to dreams deferred connect to specific characters from Of Mice & Men (George, Lennie, Candy, Crooks, Curley, & Curley’s wife). The thing my students love the most about this part is there is no wrong answer as long as you successfully back up your claim. This activity simultaneously combines students’ understanding of both texts while giving teachers and insight on your students’ interpretations of the novella and its characters.