Poetry. For years I would teach it every spring, and for years every spring I would hear a chorus of "Ugh" when I introduced it. As a poetry fanatic, it was always my goal to change my students' attitudes.
One way I worked on changing their attitudes is helping them with decoding poetry. I realized that many didn't like it because they didn't get it - and really, who could blame them? Reading something in I don't understand is hardly enjoyable!
I created this handout and graphic organizer to give them a step-by-step approach to decoding (explicating) poems. There are 8 steps, and each step has a standard aligned to it. Under the heading of each step is a bulleted list of prompting questions to help guide their ideas.
You may notice that the handout is divided into four columns. I use this by modelling an example as a class, having them try a poem/song on their own, having them writing their own poem and then analyze it, and then switch poems with a partner and analyze their partner's poems. They always get excited when other people try to "decode" their poetry.
This is a three-page document. The graphic organizer is two pages (1 page double-sided) and I also included an info sheet I made up for my students with key words to use, poetic devices to look for, and a brief example explication of "A Dream Deferred."
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