Reading Poetry with Middle School Students

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An exploration of how Wordworth's poem, "The World is Too Much With Us" is taught to middle school students.

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Reading Poetry with Middle School Students

  1. 1. Reading Poetry with Middle School Students •Mary Ann Reilly •Blueprints for Learning
  2. 2. • Pause for a moment and reflect: What words or phrases come to mind when you think about the teaching of writing? • Working individually and as quickly as you can for the next five (5) minutes, write each item you think of on a separate sticky-note and stick each note on your group’s (blank) poster.
  3. 3. • You should have a pile of sticky notes spread randomly across your poster. • Work together to sort all the notes into appropriate groupings. • Label each grouping.
  4. 4. For something to be a masterpiece, you have to have enough time to talk when you have nothing to say. – John Cage, Lecture on Nothing
  5. 5. The World Is Too Much With Us --William Wordsworth The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This sea that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, Are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. — Great God! I’d rather be A pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
  6. 6. How do you eat an elephant? • Let’s start with a basic understanding of what the poem might be talking about. • Re-read the poem and circle all the words (including references) that are unfamiliar or that you are unsure of. • Use a dictionary and look up all the circled words and write the definitions next to the appropriate lines in the poem.
  7. 7. • Re-read the poem (again), substituting the definitions you just wrote for the words in the poem. • Write a brief (2-3 sentences) paraphrase of what the poem is about. Share your paraphrase with a partner.
  8. 8. What changed?
  9. 9. What content is (re)visited over the next week(s)? • metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia • assonance, consonance, alliteration • denotation/connotation • rhyme scheme • meter • sonnet form
  10. 10. And now we go back to the poem...
  11. 11. The World Is Too Much With Us --William Wordsworth The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This sea that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, Are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. — Great God! I’d rather be A pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn. a b b a a b b a c d c d c d
  12. 12. After all this work, what happens when students are asked to respond to a question like this: How does Wordsworth’s use of figurative language extend the meaning of the poem “The World is Too Much With Us”?
  13. 13. And how does the depth of that response temper the way in which you might respond to students’ writing?
  14. 14. For example...
  15. 15. Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories 12 chapters in 12 weeks
  16. 16. Chapter Focus 1.The Shah of Blah 2.The Mail Coach 3.The Dull lake 4.An Iff and a Butt 5.About Guppees and Chupwalas 6.The Spy’s Story 7.Into the Twilight Strip 8.Shadow warriors 9.The Dark Ship 10.Haroun’s Wish 11.Princess Batcheat 12.Was it the Walrus? words sentences paragraphs narration character scene dialogue details gesture gesture & word choice on your own deatils, details, details, & ending

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