A Fourth Grade Unit
Literacy and the Arts
-Miriam Morrison, Maureen Devlin
-Wayland Public Schools - 2010
Unit Design Template Title: Creating a Self-Portrait Poetry Anthology
Subject: English/Language Arts and Social Competency
Unit of Study: Poetry
Theme: Finding yourself in Poetry/Literature
Timeframe: First 6 weeks of school
How do you find yourself in poem (or any text)?
Unit Question(s) (optional):
What is a poem?
How do you read a poem?
How do you comprehend a poem?
How do you copy a poem?
How do you share a poem?
How do poets find ideas?
How do poets write poems?
Georgia Heard presented a two day poetry institute
for the teachers in our district this summer. We
were inspired to do more poetry in our classrooms.
The self portrait anthology will be a productive way
to build relationships with the children in our class,
help foster a healthy classroom community, and
introduce the important genre of poetry. We have
24 students in our classroom, including many
children with special needs. We each have a
teaching assistant in our classroom full time, and we
receive daily support from a special educator. Prior
to the unit teaching, teachers will create their own
self-portrait poetry anthology. This anthology will
reflect the teacher as her “10-year old self.” The
teacher will utilize her chosen poems as the mentor
texts for the unit.
Students will discover what is a poem? Students will learn how to read a poem
Students will learn how to comprehend a poem? Students will learn how to copy
poem? How do you share a poem? How do poets find ideas? How do poets write
Learning Standards: Curriculum Topics:
• Standard 14: Poetry Students will identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the
themes, structure, and elements of poetry and provide evidence from the text to
support their understanding
• Standard 15: Style and Language Students will identify and analyze how an
author’s words appeal to the senses, create imagery, suggest mood, and set tone,
and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding.
• Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: 7.9 Read grade appropriate
imaginative/literary and informational/expository text with comprehension
• 7.10 Read aloud grade appropriate imaginative/literary and
informational/expository text fluently, accurately and with comprehension, using
appropriate timing, change in voice, and expression.
Feeling like you are an important part of a group, while knowing
you are special for who you are.
Sense of Accomplishment: Being recognized for many different
types of success, including hard work and being a good
Fun and Excitement: Enjoying what you are doing--whether at
work, school, or play.
Leadership and Responsibility: Making your own decisions and
accepting responsibility for those choices.
Confidence to Take Action: Setting goals and taking the steps
you need to reach them.
Habits of Mind:
Develop Craft: learning to use tools and materials. Learning the practices of an art
Engage and Persist: Learning to take up subjects of personal interest and importance
within the art world. Learning to develop focus and other ways of thinking helpful
to working and persevering at art tasks.
Envision: Learning to picture mentally what cannot be directly observed, heard or
written and to imagine possible next steps in making a piece.
Express: Learning to create works that convey an idea, feeling or personal meaning.
Observe: Learning to attend to visual, audible, and written contexts more closely than
ordinary “looking” requires; learning to notice things that otherwise might not be
might not be noticed.
Reflect: Learning to think and talk with others about one’s work and the process of
making it. Learning to judge one’s own and others’ work and processes in relation
to the standards of the field.
Stretch and Explore: Learning to reach beyond one’s supposed limitations, to explore
playfully without a preconceived plan and to embrace the opportunity to learn
from mistakes and accidents.
Performance Task – Culminating Task
Students share a poem of their choice from their Self-Portrait Anthology through one
or more of the arts: dance, music, drama, or one of the visual arts.
Each Lesson uses following structure:
Focus lesson : teacher modeling, mentor text, guided practice
Independent work: Sometimes this is done in pairs or groups
Group share: For purposes of closure, celebrating student work and reinforcing key
1. Finding yourself in a poem
2. Copying a poem
3. How to read a poem
4. Understanding a poem
5. How to share a poem through an art medium
poem, poetry, metaphor, simile, image, rhythm, rhyme, stanza, line
break, repetition, pattern, music, sensory image, imagery, title, autho,r
white space, shape, reflection, visualization, alliteration, the arts, multi-
• Published works of poetry to serve as mentor texts.
• Notebook for each student.
• Sticky notes.
• Drama materials: masks, costumes, pieces of fabric, scarves.
• Visual Arts Materials: paper, cardboard, markers, paints, magazines for
cut-outs, colored paper, recycled materials.
• Technology/Music/Dance: iPods, computers, space for practice,
• Document camera, chart paper/
• Materials for book (included in slide show)
• What is Poetry?
• Poetry, Parts of Speech and
• Finding Yourself in Poetry
• Creating Self-Portrait Poetry
• Poetry Performances
Poetry, Parts of Speech and
• Poets Choose the Best Words: Nouns, Verbs,
• Poets craft poems: simile, metaphor,
alliteration, rhyming patterns,
• Poets have a “license” to write in ways
different than the typical writer: upside down,
shapes, made-up words,
Examples of Activities Related to Parts of Speech and Writer’s Craft
An ancient Chippewa tradition
The dream net has been made
For many generations
Where spirit dreams have played. Hung above the cradle board,
Or in the lodge up high,
The dream net catches bad dreams,
While good dreams slip on by. Bad dreams become entangled
Among the sinew thread.
Good dreams slip through the center hole,
While you dream upon your bed.
This is an ancient legend,
Since dreams will never cease,
Hang this dream net above your bed,
Dream on, and be at peace.
Homework Assignment: Complete the poem analysis.
.“Dream Catchers” is a poem that has ____ lines and _____ stanzas. The rhyming pattern in the poem is __ __ __ ___. Some
rhyming word pairs in the poem are ____ + ____, ____ + _____ and ____ + _____.Use a dictionary or thesaurus (online or offline
to find synonyms for the following words. Remember that a synonym is a word that has the same meaning.
lodge_________________catches ________________entangled _____________cease ________________
Bonus: What is sinew? (try Googing it)_________________________________________________________
Finding Yourself In
• Classroom Poetry Collections
• Teacher Modeling
• NING Discussion
• Poetry Books
(note each of these can be a page
with examples and/or photos)
• Teacher shares his/her self-portrait poetry
• Teacher thinks aloud as he/she reflects on a
poem and completes a poetry task.
• Teacher provides many models of creative
projects and continues to “think aloud” as
he/she “plans” the presentation.
Teacher Reflection: The poem, “Frog,” speaks to me because it reminds me of a walk I took at Garden in the Woods. Worth's words, “When he leaps like a
stone/Thrown into the pond,” remind me of what happened. I didn't see any frogs at all, and then I saw a frog leaping. I noticed “Water rings
spread/After him” as Worth writes and when I looked closer I noticed that the frog was green “With a luster (shine)/Of water on his skin,” just as
Valerie Worth describes.
Frog by Valerie Worth
The spotted frog
Sits quite still
On a wet stone;
He is green
With a luster
Of water on his skin;
His back is mossy
With spots, and green
Like moss on a stone;
His gold-circled eyes
Like bright metal rings,
When he leaps
He is like a stone
Thrown into the pond;
Water rings spread
After him, bright circles
Of green, circles of gold.
Mark the poem in the following ways using pencil.
Underline the verbs.
Circle the adjectives.
Place an * next to the similes.
Draw a rectangle around the nouns.
Draw a triangle around the adverbs.
Write a + on top of words that have alliteration.
Note that a simile is a comparison of two unlike objects or ideas using the words “like” or “as.” For example in the sentence, The pillow was like a cloud,
the author uses a simile to compare a pillow to a cloud – that's a simile.
How do you “find yourself” in a poem?
Student/Teacher Social Network Comments
Comment by Henry “First I think of fun things I like to do or see or I enjoy doing. Then I
search for those things in the title of the poem. So far that has worked for me
because I have some funny and interesting poems that have to do with me.
Comment by Daniel on October 6, 2010 at 7:28am “I try to find funny poems that
either make me laugh or makes other people laugh.”
Comment by Jack on October 4, 2010 at 4:58pm “I read the titles to find funny words
or words about nature.”
Comment by A LaClaire on October 4, 2010 at 7:12am “ Choose a book and keep
reading until you find a poem that your interested in or you could find a poem in
the table of contents if the book has one. Then read the poem.” Comment by
Comment by Anika on October 1, 2010 at 8:17pm “I just open to a random page and
start reading eventually I find one I like. “
Poetry Projects Performance Planning Sheet – Project Due 10/15
Name _________________________ # ____
Title of Poem Chosen for Presentation: _______________________________
1. Check-off the type(s) of project you intend to do:
multi-media (technology):Google presentation ____KidPix Slide Show ____Animoto Film _____
Google doc ____Photo Booth___Other? ______
visual arts ____musical – song ___
musical _____instrumental ____acting ___dance ____
2. Check off how and when do you plan to memorize your poem or do you plan to tape it?
Memorize with a friend ____
Memorize by yourself ____
Tape it using Google docs ____
Tape it using Photo Booth ____
Tape it using KidPix ____
Tape it using a tape recorder or iPod ____
Memorize at home ___
Memorize at school ____
Tape it at school ___
Tape it at home _____
3. Plan your visual project
Make a list of the supplies you will need on the back.
Draw a picture of how your final project on the back of the page.
4. Get started working on your project which is due 10/15. Write any additional steps that you'll have to do below.
5. Write the explanation of how you planned, created, practiced and completed the project. Practice reading this explanation at home and in
school. Be prepared to read it to the class. I chose to do a ________________________ creative project because
____________________________________. I planned the project by ______________,________________, and ______________________.
I practiced the presentation by____________________________ and ______________________________.
6. List any questions you have for a teacher or parent as you work on the project. Ask the questions to the adult when you have the chance.
Poetry Creative Projects Menu
Every project must include the following:
• Taped or oral recitation of poem including title and author name.
• Explanation of how the poem “speaks to you” or “reflects” you.
• Explanation of how you created, planned for, and practiced your performance.
• A performance that includes one or more of the arts below.
1. Visual Arts Presentation: painting, drawing, poster, sculpture, or other visual arts presentation.
2. Dance Performance: dance that matches the poem wearing a costume that helps to portray the poem too.
3. Acting Performance: acting out the poem with actions and a costume .
4. Musical Performance: song or instrumental performance that matches the poem.
5. Multi-Media Composition*: multi-media presentation of the poem using technology.
*There are many venues available for the technology presentation including the following:
• Google Docs
• Power Point
Assessment- Creative Project Grade Sheet
Note: A “grading sheet” can sometimes serve as a better performance assessment and planner than a rubric for
grade four students.
Creative Project Grade Sheet
Name: _____________________________________________________________ #________
Creative Project Type:
The creative project illustrated the poem in a thoughtful way (30 points)
The poem was recited accurately: (30 points)
stopping at each line break
pausing between stanzas
using expression that matches the poem
loud enough for everyone to hear
An explanation was presented explaining how the poem chosen “speaks to the student.” (10 points)
The overall presentation demonstrates planning, practice and a positive attitude. (30 points)
Creative Project _______
Overall Presentation __________
Total Score: ___________