This is a comprehensive poetry unit for Middle School students that is Common Core based and perfect for PARCC test prep. It provides wonderful poems for those literary text standards and forces students to analyze literary devices, vocabulary, and more. This unit also promotes students making a claim and supporting their claim with evidence as well as comparing texts across genres. This is a very well though out unit that I use in my own class. ENJOY!
In this packet...
TEACHER’S GUIDE TO TEACHING POETRY AND MEETING COMMON CORE/PARCC PREP REQUIREMENTS:
1.￼￼Find out what your students know. Give a literary device pre-test. Even if you have discussed literary devices in previous units, this is a great way to cycle learning and revisit concepts that are important to know. These terms are very important to know prior to beginning a poetry unit.
2. Have class complete a “Poe-Tree.” I recommend blowing up this handout into a poster-size page and having students write what they know about poetry on the poster (or the teacher can ask students and he/she can write on the poe-tree). This activity can create some great discussion about poetry and helps lead into the unit.
3. Begin the unit by explaining that poetry is a creative outlet for writers and often times allows us to learn about the writer’s life. It can be very helpful to learn about the poet prior to reading their work. This can offer insight and understanding into much of what the poet has written. —— As a teacher decide what poets you want to expose your students to and prior to reading their work, have students read a short biography about the writer. For the sake of this unit, I will use Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
4. Begin your unit by introducing the poet Robert Frost. Have student read his biography.
5. NEXT, read, analyze, and discuss Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” - Work out the poem and accompanying questions together with your students. It is important to worth through
this process together.
6. Introduce Maya Angelou and have students read the biography of Maya Angelou.
7. Students will read her poem, “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” and will follow up the reading with questions and an activity that will require the students to write a poem.
8. Students will read a short story called “The Butterfly” and will compare this story with Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” Students will write an essay about how “choice” is dealt with in both poems. This involves having a deeper understanding of what each piece is about.
9. The next steps are really up to you, the teacher. There is a series of Robert Frost poems to read and analyze (questions provided). Students must learn to analyze poems and look for literary elements in writing. Use one or all of the poems provided.
10. Another recommended activity is to have students use modern day music and see how song writers use literary devices in their writing. You could pick the music or students could look at their own playlists on their devices and seek out the lyrics. (A fun activity can be having students write their findings on post-it notes and place their finding on your board OR creating a graffiti wall where students write their findings). A graphic organizer for this activity is provided in this packet.
11. Finally, as long as you are confident the students are comfortable with poetry and literary devices, give the post-test provided in this packet.