In this lesson, students bring to class annotations and questions to help analyze a poem. The teacher draws the student's attention to concepts and ideas, and then encourages them to move towards a deeper understanding. Students collaboratively evaluate the quality of their own questions, then use those questions to discuss and dig deeply into the poem's central message and theme. Finally, this poem was compared to a previous day's reading of "I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman. The texts in this lesson can often be found in libraries or at online bookstores. If you need support finding these texts, please reach out to us by clicking the “send feedback” button below.
Questioning Poetry (Troetti)Download
The teacher is reviewing the previous assignments, in which students were immersed in the complex text of two poems and annotated them. She also introduces today's task, in which students attend to the poems' concepts and relate those concepts to the essential question of the unit.
Students have created questions that attend to the structure, concepts, ideas, and details of the poems. The teacher has also crafted a task that will require students to find the central message of the poems, and use textual evidence to support ideas.
Conditions have been created for student conversations about their thought processes while questioning the text, as well as an accountability check for listening to their group, and reporting the ideas of their group.
Using questions they have created, students are discussing the poem, "I Too, America" by Langston Hughes. This partnership is discussing a key phrase in the poem, using textual evidence and attending to phrases as evidence in the text.
While talking with students about the kinds of questions that elicit good discussion, the teacher highlights the idea that it is the reader's responsibility to analyze the author's choices with structure, concepts, ideas, and details. She draws attention to the objectives to refocus the class.
The teacher notices that a partnership is struggling with the task of analyzing the text with the questions. She brings students back to the text and requires that they come to a deeper meaning of the text through analysis. When students exhibit a superficial understanding, she reminds them to stay open-minded and to go back again to look for a different interpretation.
Because these students are struggling, the teacher provides some scaffolding and differentiation with some question stems, in order to support students independently moving forward successfully.
Students are using every piece of text, including citations, to find out more about the author's meaning and purpose. Since they have done this independently, it is apparent that this kind of critical thinking and persistence is a normal part of their reading routine.
The student has analyzed a key line in the poem and done some deep thinking about what would happen if the author had not included this line. Further, the teacher helps her to think about the impact of having the line in the poem.