Grade 10 ELA Module 2, Unit 1, Lesson 6

Students studying

In this lesson, students read and analyze the poem “In This Blind Alley” by Ahmad Shamlu in dialogue with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In his poem, Shamlu investigates the human cost of living in a violently oppressive society, globalizing for the students issues that King discusses in his letter. Students analyze this poem to understand its central idea and to explore how Shamlu uses figurative language and word connotations. In small groups, students engage in a class reading and discussion of the text. The lesson ends with a Quick Write on the following prompt: Analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices, including figurative language and connotations, on the development of a central idea present in both “In This Blind Alley” and ”Letter From Birmingham Jail.”

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Common Core Learning Standards

CCLS State Standard
RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course...
RL.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and...
RL.9-10.6 Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from...

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