In this eight-week module, students will learn about poetry and poets through close reading and writing to learn. Throughout the module, they will determine the characteristics of poetry and consider what inspires writers and poets. Students begin in Unit 1 by reading the first half of the novel Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. Students follow the main character, Jack, as he learns about poetry and begins to write his own. Students closely read and analyze poems Jack reads, including “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening” by Robert Frost. Throughout this unit, students track what Jack is learning about poetry alongside their own learning though these close readings. They also experiment with writing their own poetry inspired by their reading. Students practice summarizing the events in the novel and discuss how the main character’s attitude toward poetry begins to change in this half of the novel. In Unit 2, students engage in deeper analysis of Jack’s character and his inspiration through extended discussion prompts. They also learn to write informational paragraphs in order to summarize larger portions of the text. For the mid-unit 2 assessment, they write a summary of the entire novel.
After completing the novel, students consider which of the poems they read inspired them the most and select a poet to study more deeply. In the last half of Unit 2, students read and analyze poems by their selected poet and engage in a poetry workshop to write an original poem inspired by their selected poet. Finally, in Unit 3, students prepare for their three-part performance task, a Poet’s Performance, in which students read aloud a poem by their selected poet, share an essay about the poet, and read their original inspired poem. In this unit, students are introduced to biography though reading River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. They then closely read a biography about their own poet. Then students learn to write an essay about their selected poet through engaging in a shared writing of an essay about William Carlos Williams. As the class writes each part of this shared essay (introduction, body, and conclusion), students complete their own essays one section at a time. Throughout this unit, students practice reading their poems aloud clearly and with expression. Once students’ essays are complete, they finish the module by presenting their poems and essay during the performance task.