Poetry Mini Lesson, Emily Dickinson's "We Grow Accustomed" and September 11

Julie Faulkner
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Julie Faulkner


In this poetry single mini lesson, students will close read, annotate, analyze, and respond personally and creatively to Emily Dickinson's "We Grow Accustomed to the Dark" poem. The study then concludes with an optional connection to the tragedy of September 11th.

What is a poetry single study? Poetry can be difficult, and many students are reluctant to even try it. However, with my poetry singles with everything you need on one page, students are given the opportunity for success because the material is presented in a guided, step-by-step process that builds confidence from beginning to the end. Right on the page, they will find directions that give explicit instructions and prompts for annotating the text. After warming up to the poem through that process, students are more prepared to dive into analysis, and those questions are right there on the page as well. It's a quick, yet powerful resource to add to your tools for teaching poetry toolbox.

About the September 11th Connection: Many victims’ families will forever be affected by the darkness, and everyday they must walk the challenging road and face living life “almost straight.” Like the speaker of this poem, they know the darkness of loss, and their lives will never the same. We remember September 11, 2001, in classrooms today because it is a historical marker in our history. While we don't want to diminish the darkness of that day, we do want to offer hope and light in the face of hate. We don’t want to grow accustomed to anything that sparks such darkness. Instead, we want to remember the love and light that followed the tragedy and to honor and remember those who brought hope to that darkness in order to show compassion and empathy each year going forward.


- Guided Annotation Prompts

- Standards-Based Questions

- Thematic Questions for 9-11

- Creative 9-11 Activity

- Author Background Info

- Link to video for 9-11

- Answers and Objectives

- Super Simple Sub Sheet

Free teacher-prep resources related to teaching this resource:
- Blog post about using poetry to teach September 11.

- Teaching material with difficult subject matter video tutorial.

- See a quick and free video tutorial where I explain more about guided annotations here.

- Visit my growing catalog of ready-made lessons with guided annotations here.

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For more ideas and inspiration:

Faulkner's Fast Five Blog

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Teaching Middle and High School English Facebook Group

Yearbook and Journalism Facebook Group


Terms of Use: Created by Julie Faulkner, 2018

Please, one classroom use only. Additional licenses are sold at checkout. This license is nontransferable. Not eligible for online environments unless password protected. Posting openly online is prohibited. No part of this resource can be used for commercial purposes, altered, or resold. This work is my original work, and taking portions of it to create something else for resale is prohibited. Art, text, images documented inside file.

Total Pages
5 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.


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