Unit Overview:  Students will learn that reading and creating poetry can be enjoyable, and that understanding poetry is not as hard as it looks.

Content Area: Language Arts

Unit Title: Poetry

Target Course/Grade Level:  Middle School
Name:             Wes Jarrell                             
School:  The Ellison School                                       
Date:  15 May 2011                           

Unit Summary: Students will study an array of poems with the intent to increase their knowledge of figurative language and their appreciation of poetry as an type of literature. 

Primary interdisciplinary connections: Social Studies, Art, Music

21st century themes: Civic Literacy, Global Awareness

Unit Rationale: :  This unit will help students develop vocabulary, the ability to analyze a text carefully, and conduct comparison reasoning. It will also help students empathize with others by having

Learning Targets : Standards Key Ideas and Details Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text

Standards :
6-12 ELA Anchor Standards: Reading

1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details
and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

6-12 ELA-Reading (Grade 8)

5. Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.

6-12 ELA Anchor Standards: Reading

4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

Unit Essential Questions:
What is the difference between poetry and prose?
What do poems have in common?
What techniques do poets use to add meaning to their work and say more with fewer                    words?
Who are some of history’s great poets?
What subjects inspire poets?
Why should we study poetry?

Unit Enduring Understandings:
Poetry is ubiquitous.
Poets find inspiration in daily life.
Poets use figurative language to say a lot with few words
Poetry helps us see the world in fresh ways.
Music has a great deal in common with poetry.

Unit Learning Targets:
Students will:
Identify different types of figurative language.
Use figurative language in their own writing.
Interpret the meaning of new words through the use of context clues.
Interpret the main idea of various poems.
Examine how the structure of a poem adds to the meaning.
Recognize the characteristics of different poets.

Evidence of Learning:         

Summative Assessment (10 days)
Students will create a poem using phrases copied from the daily blog.
Create a poem using the headlines of newspapers and magazines.
Write an essay comparing the point of view of any two poets writing about the same                     subject.
Draw a picture(s) illustrating each of the types of figurative language.
Create a video illustrating the types of figurative language without using words.

Equipment needed
Smartboard, document camera, flip camera, Internet access for poems

Teacher Resources

Formative Assessments: Daily reflections posted to class blog, daily exit passes

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1: Poetry and Prose: Some definitions

Lesson 2: Figurative Language--Simile, Metaphor, and Personification Yeats, “Meditation of an Old Fisherman”

Lesson 3: Irony: E.A Robinson--”Miniver Cheevy”, “Richard Cory” and Browning’s “My Last Duchess”

Lesson 4: Alliteration and Onomatopoeia

Lesson 5: Themes in Poetry: “Ozymandias”, “Mending Wall”, and “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Lesson 6: The Importance of Structure: William Carlos Williams and e.e. cummings

Lesson 7: Comparing the tone of Byron’s “When We two Parted”,  Pushkin’s “I Loved You”, and Yeats  “When You are Old”

Teacher Notes: Each lesson starts with a motivating free write assignment and discussion designed to activate background knowledge and spark student interest. Next, students examine the text closely in a variety of groupings—whole class, small group, and individual. Students post notes about what they read and understand on the class blog as a way of collaborating. Each lesson will contain different vocabulary and grammar lessons tailored to the text used and the needs of the individual student.

Curriculum Development Resources
Internet poetry links

Lesson Plan 2
Content Area: Language Arts Literacy
Grade: 7/8
Lesson Title: Figurative Language
Timeframe: 2 45 minute periods

Lesson Components

21st Century Themes: Global Awareness

21st Century Skills: LearningandInnovationSkills

  1. CreativityandInnovation
  2. CriticalThinkingandProblemSolving
  3. CommunicationandCollaboration


  1. Students will master both of the  objectives below:
  2. Master 15 vocabulary words from the various poems.
  3. Identify all of the different types of figurative language in the poems we studied.

Learning Activities/Instructional Strategies Daily Lesson Plans (10 days)

Engagement: Students freewrite on topics related to the poems we are studying for the day.

Exploration: In small groups, students discuss what they predicted for the poems.

Explanation: Read Each poem aloud stanza by stanza. Students confirm their understanding by rephrasing each stanza as one sentence. Focus on the structure of the poem and the meaning of each line

Elaboration: Students practice various skills using the Smartboard lessons

Evaluation: Create a poem using quotes from the blog, newspapers/magazines, or an original work that uses several tupes of figurative language.

Formative Assessment Tasks

  1. Exit Cards- students will answer the questions posed in the lesson objectives
  2. Blog Entry –On the class literature blog students will summarize  and state the theme of the ballad
  3. Observations of students working in groups during the exploration and elaboration phases of the lesson.

Universal Design for Learning Options

Multiple Means of Representation

  1. Perception- Readability software allows the user to customize the display of information by reducing visual distractions that surround written text on the web.
  2. Language & symbols- Visuwords visual dictionary provides flexibility of color and contrast is a great example of customizing the display of information so that it is accessible to a broader range of users.
  3. Comprehension- Graphic organizers will help students organize and retain knowledge - cause and effect, character and story, compare and contrast, and more. Graphic organizers are effective examples of guiding information processing. These supports help students to organize their thoughts and establish relationships between ideas.

Multiple Means of Action and Expression

  1. Physical activity- For students with limited ability to use a keyboard, the Virtual Keyboard creates and onscreen keyboard that students can “type” using a mouse or trackball. Students also use Smartnotebook lessons to reinforce concepts.
  2. Expressive skills and fluency- SAM Animation is software designed to give students the power of making stop-action movies to share their ideas and understanding. The software is easy to use and provides a unique experience for students to explore challenging problems in any subject through creating animations. SAM provides an engaging way for students to communicate their ideas. 
  3. Executive functions- The Ellison Eighth Grade Literature blog is a place where students share and debate ideas about works they are studying. The use of a blog encourages collaboration and the dissemination of ideas.

Multiple Means of Engagement

  1. Recruiting interest- We will use principals found in the Word Generation program in order to give students the sustained exposure to academic language they need for success in school.  Embedding new vocabulary into engaging, controversial passages is an effective way to enhance relevance, value, and authenticity. For use throughout the unit.
  1. Sustaining effort and persistence in Exploring LanguageSlatebox allows students to markup ideas on embeddable "slates" and collaborate in real-time and  is another great tool that will enhance communication among students. For use during the exploration phase.
  2. Self-regulation Students -  Goal setting worksheets will enable students to encourage and organize personal goals. For use at the engagement phase of each lesson.

Resources :

The following websites were used in preparing the strategies, accommodations, and modifications in the lesson: