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This poetry activity is a high-interest mix of video, roads, and cars that examines Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” and compares it with Volvo’s television commercial that uses the same poem. The activity finishes with an opportunity for students to delve into the relationship between the arts and commerce with a creative copywriting task. CCSS-aligned.
Set to span 2 lessons, this activity includes the text for the 4 parts of the poem under consideration & is conveniently divided into 3 parts:
1. “Song of the Open Road” mini-analysis: a focused annotation of the 4 parts of the poem from which the ad draws its text – parts 1, 2, 5, & 6 – along with the identification of key ideas and additional attention to the 17 specific lines that the ad actually uses.
2. Volvo’s tv ad “Song of the Open Road” comparative analysis: a focused viewing of the Volvo ad with a comparison of the ad’s key images to the poem’s key ideas, along with a brief analysis of the effectiveness of the ad’s re-ordering of the poem’s lines.
3. “It’s So Lit!” creative copywriting task: a fun, relevant, and 21st century task in which students select a product for promotion, promote the product with lines chosen from “Song of the Open Road” along with a chosen image, and then explain their choices in a paragraph-long written explication. Rubric included.
I’ve included detailed keys with sample answers as well as a super-easy, straightforward rubric for the creative copywriting task.
• 2-DAY PLAN with text of poem, mini Whitman bio, questions & creative writing activity, link to TV commercial, teaching notes, rubric (6 pages, 1 pdf file)
• KEY (5 pages, 1 pdf file)
This activity is the first in a larger transitional unit that I’m currently developing, focused on creative and non-fiction writing for the modern world.
Looking for more poetry materials or more Whitman? You might like...
★ "Song of the Open Road" Walt Whitman, 4-Lesson Poetry Pack
★ BUNDLE "Song of the Open Road" Walt Whitman, 5-Day Poetry Mini-Unit
★ Poetic Terms: Classification Activity & Reference with Jeopardy Review Game
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