|CREATING A POETRY WEB SITE
HOW IT WORKS
Using poems that illustrate the use of figurative language, tone, repetition, imagery, and refrain, high school English students write short essays, first in small groups and then by themselves. Afterwards, they answer questions on the poem they have selected as their favorite and write about it. Along with the poems, these essays make up the Favorite Poem classroom Web site. Students scan the poems, and artwork can also be incorporated. Then they compare and contrast their classroom site to a national Favorite Poem Web site. There are also video and audio readings of some of the poems on the national site. Students can also analyze and write about some of these poems.
Students are assessed by their comprehension of the poems’ content and the literary devices used, as well as by the essays they write.
WHAT YOU NEED
This project takes ten or more class periods to complete. Computers with an Internet connection and word processing equipment, as well as a scanner, are necessary. Students should have a basic working knowledge of computers and the Internet. Teachers must be knowledgeable in creating a Web site.
I covered this unit with 9th and 12th graders in New York City. The ability level can be wide.
Once students have learned how to recognize literary devices in poems and use this understanding to see the author's tone and theme, they can deepen their interpretation of new poems. After reacting to and analyzing more than eight poems, two of which are on the national site, students write essays about their favorite poems and create a class site. They also examine poems new to them on the national Favorite Poem site. Their appreciation and analysis is heightened by audio and video readings. Students put to use what they have learned about applying their knowledge of literary devices to analyze the poet’s tone and theme.
My students can find similes with almost no problem and explain the comparison well. They look for the words "as" or "like," but most need more help understanding and identifying metaphors and symbolism.
Technology: Students develop note-taking, drafting, writing, and editing skills
through use of the computer; use critical thinking and establish research skills to
evaluate the credibility and appropriateness of Web sites and the validity of the available information. They compile, analyze, and evaluate the data collected while visiting a Web site.
English Language Arts: Students develop several main points relating to a single thesis and analyze and revise work for clarity and effect. They recognize literary elements and techniques, read and interpret poems, write interpretive and responsive essays, and support their ideas by using references to the text.
Project URL: http://teachnet.org/TeachNetProject/ny/fklane/pmaslow-poem.htm
Peggy Maslow, a New York City high school English teacher for 23 years, has used technology in the classroom for over 16 years. She has also been her school's newspaper advisor for almost two years. She has taught all levels of students ranging from those with reading difficulties to honors, and has taught courses in journalism, mystery, American literature and other topics.