Launching Modern Voices: Concrete Poetry | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M2B:U2:L14

Launching Modern Voices: Concrete Poetry

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence to support analysis of what text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from literary text. (RL.6.1)
  • I can determine a theme or central idea and how it is conveyed through particular details. (RL.6.2)
  • I can analyze how a particular sentence, stanza, scene, or chapter fits in and contributes to the development of a literary text. (RL.6.5)
  • I can express my own ideas clearly and build on others' ideas during discussion. (SL.6.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can cite evidence to analyze what poems say explicitly and what inferences can be made from poems in Technically, It's Not My Fault and Blue Lipstick.
  • I can determine theme and how it is conveyed through particular details in concrete poems.
  • I can describe the structure of poems on the covers of Technically, It's Not My Fault and Blue Lipstick.
  • I can express my own ideas and build on others' ideas during discussion.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Modern Voices graphic organizer

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Launching Independent Reading (12 minutes)

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Medieval Voices to Modern Voices (10 minutes)

B. Introducing Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Fault (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Setting Independent Reading Goals (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Read independently to meet your goal. Complete the Reading Tracker and Reviewer's Notes.

B. Read "Advanced English" from Blue Lipstick and complete the Modern Voices graphic organizer.

  • In Unit 1 of this module, students read informational texts to build background knowledge about life during the Middle Ages. They identified adversities and used text-based evidence to support their research. In Unit 2, students explored the challenges people faced in a medieval village expressed through a different voice, the monologues in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Now, students examine modern voices of adversity expressed through different genres in preparation for sharing their own voice by writing a monologue.
  • Even though this lesson is officially part of Unit 2, conceptually it launches the work of Unit 3. This was done is in order to give you time to assess and give students' feedback on their draft essays (which they wrote in Lesson 13) between Lessons 13 and 16. In Lesson 16, you will need to have students' drafts with feedback, so they can apply that feedback when they revise.
  • Beginning in this lesson, and then throughout Unit 3, students read several concrete poems in Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Fault. They use these poems to become familiar with the genre, identify themes of adversity, compare these across genres, and compare and contrast text with audio. 
  • The lessons using Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Fault were written to accommodate 5 copies of each of the two books per classroom (so 10 books total).  Therefore, students will share the books (in small groups or triads) during class time, and will be provided individual copies of specific poems that are necessary for homework. In this lesson, students are just previewing the texts. So each triad can have one or the other book; they don't need both.
  • In this lesson, students are introduced to and choose books for independent reading. See the stand-alone document on EngageNY.org Launching Independent Reading: Sample Plan Grades 6-8. Consider how you prefer to launch students' independent reading for Unit 3.
  • Consider how to communicate with families and care takers about students' independent reading goals as well as the Reading Tracker and Reviewer's Notes. Their support is important. 
  • Beginning in this lesson, and then across Unit 3, students build academic vocabulary through the use of an Academic Word Wall.  In each lesson, beginning with Unit 2 Lesson 14, specific words relevant to that day's learning are added to the Academic Word Wall. To guide you in envisioning how this Word Wall grows across the entire unit, the supporting materials here in Lesson 1 include a complete list of the words and which lesson each word is added in. Feel free to add other words as you see fit, but use this resource in supporting materials as a guide. Similarly, across the unit students help build an Effective Discussions anchor chart, in order to help them think about specific techniques speakers use to have produce conversations.  This anchor chart, too, is provided in its entirety in the supporting materials this lesson.  However, students learn new discussion skills and focus on specific sections of the chart in lessons leading up the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment. 
  • In advance:

-    Prepare a sample letter for families and care takers about students' reading goals and accountability for reading progress.

-    Preview the Module 2B Recommended Texts list. Use this list, and your own additional ideas, to offer a selection of texts that express many of life's challenges faced by people in different periods of time, as well in different places around the globe. Arrange selected books in the classroom for students to browse through. Prepare summaries of texts to introduce students to the book choices or consider inviting the school librarian to present the books.

-    Determine triads for this unit.

-    Prepare Modern Voices folders for students to store materials in this unit.

-    Prepare and post: Challenges in Modern Times anchor chart and the Themes of Adversity anchor chart (from Unit 2), so students can easily compare the two anchor charts.

-    Prepare and post: Effective Discussions anchor chart; Academic Word Wall (see Teaching Notes above and supporting materials).

-   Review: "Hackschooling Makes Me Happy" video clip: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Hackschooling-Makes-Me-Happy-Lo;search%3Atag%3A%22tedxuniversityofnevada%22.

-    Please bear in mind that Youtube, social media video sites, and other website links may incorporate inappropriate content via comment banks and ads. While some lessons include these links as the most efficient means to view content in preparation for the lesson, be sure to preview links, and/or use a filter service, such as www.safeshare.tv, for actually viewing these links in the classroom.

  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

analyze, explicit, inference, structure, genre, concrete, concrete poetry, graphics

Materials

  • Goldilocks handout (from stand-alone document on EngageNY.org: Launching Independent Reading: Sample Plan Grades 6-8; one per student)
  • Academic Word Wall (new; teacher-created)
  • Academic Word Wall (for Unit 2 Lessons 14 and 15 and all Unit 3 lessons; for teacher reference; see Teaching Notes)
  • Themes of Adversity anchor chart (from Unit 2)
  • Sticky notes (three per triad)
  • Challenges of Modern Times anchor chart (new; co-created with students)
  • Notices and Wonders graphic organizer (one per student)
  • "Hackschooling Makes Me Happy" video (see Teaching Notes)
  • Blue Lipstick (book; five per class)
  • Technically, It's Not My Fault (book; five per class)
  • Document camera
  • Modern Voices graphic organizer (one per student, for the poems found on the covers of the books)
  • Modern Voices folder (one per student)
  • Effective Discussions anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see Teaching Notes)
  • Reading Tracker and Reviewer's Notes (one per student)
  • Modern Voices graphic organizer for "Advanced English" (one per student)
  • "Advanced English" from Blue Lipstick (one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Launching Independent Reading (12 minutes)

  • Tell students that you will be taking a few days to review their draft essays.  While you are doing this, they will formally launch the work of the next unit. In Unit 3, they will have the opportunity to explore the voices of others who are sharing challenges in different ways, from different places and at different times. Students will select a book to read on their own.
  • Explain that as they read, they will also be preparing to share their own voice by writing a monologue. Encourage students to look for a book that captures their interest and is a comfortable reading choice.
  • Have selected books in specific areas around the classroom, or arrange library time for students to be introduced to selected books. If possible, include a variety of monologues, stories, and poetry that express diverse challenges faced by others living in different settings and at different times in history.
  • Give short introductions to several books to pique students' interest.
  • Remind students how to self-select books at their appropriate level of challenge for their interests and reading ability.
  • Distribute the Goldilocks handout. Tell students that they will have time to browse or shop for books that capture their interest. Students should select a book or two and then test-drive their selections to see they are a good fit. Have students use the Goldilocks handout to guide their selection.
  • Give students time to browse. Circulate to listen in and support as needed.
  • Invite students to set a goal for their independent reading. To do this, ask students to begin reading their book. Share that after 1 minute you will ask them to stop. Tell them this is the amount of reading for 1 minute and ask them to set a goal for 30 minutes of reading for their homework. 
  • If possible, collaborate with the school librarian to select, display, and introduce a range of books for diverse reading levels and interests. Books should provide reading opportunities that expand students' experience with reading monologues and/or that express themes of adversity.

B. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and read the first one aloud:

* "I can cite evidence to analyze what poems say explicitly and what inferences can be made from poems in Technically, It's Not My Fault and Blue Lipstick."

  • Ask students what the word analyze means. Listen for: "It means to study or look closely at something to figure out what it means."
  • Focus students on the words analyzeexplicitly, and inferences. Underline, highlight, or circle the words. Point out that those words are also on the Academic Word Wall.
  • Explain that when something is expressed explicitly, it is very clear. There is no doubt about the meaning. For example: "Be home at nine o'clock" tells you exactly what time to be home.
  • Remind students that inferences are when you reach a conclusion or decision based on facts, evidence, or things you know. For example, if you know your curfew is nine o'clock and no later and your parents say, "Don't be late," you can infer or make an inference that you must be home by nine at the latest.
  • Redirect students' attention to the posted learning targets and read the remaining targets aloud:

* "I can determine theme and how it is conveyed through particular details in concrete poems.

* "I can describe the structure of poems on the covers of Technically, It's Not My Fault and Blue Lipstick."

* "I can express my own ideas and build on others' ideas during discussion."

  • Tell students they have learned about theme and determined themes of adversity in Unit 2. Beginning with this lesson, and throughout Unit 3, they will continue to find themes in a type of poetry called concrete poetry.
  • Direct students' attention to the Academic Word Wall. Invite a student to read the definition of concrete poetry.
  • Explain that they will look at and read two concrete poems in today's lesson.
  • Ask students what the word structure means. Listen for: "It is the way something is built or made."
  • Explain that poems can be structured, or built, in different ways. Tell students they will begin two new books that share the voices of modern-day kids. The words of the poems are structured, or arranged, in an unusual way to help convey the message.
  • Explain that as students read and listen to modern-day voices, they will also have the opportunity to discuss their ideas about the themes in the poetry and listen to others' ideas.
  • Having the words and definitions on the Academic Word Wall presented in a size and location that is easily visible to all students facilitates academic language development.
  • The use of color and graphics to illustrate definitions also facilitates reference to the Academic Word Wall.
  • Pointing out that words such as "infer," "inference," and "inferential" share the same root word and are used a verb, noun, or adjective helps develop academic language skills. Highlighting the base words helps illustrate the word connection.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Medieval Voices to Modern Voices (10 minutes)

  • Group students in triads. Remind students they will partner with their triads for openings and sharing homework staring in today's lesson and to continue throughout Unit 3.
  • Tell students that as they prepare to move forward to find and share their own voice in a monologue, they will begin by looking back at the adversities expressed by kids living in a medieval village.
  • Invite students to look at the challenges they identified on the Themes of Adversity anchor chart.
  • Distribute three sticky notes to each triad.
  • Ask students to read and recall some of the challenges or adversities in the Middle Ages that they recorded on the Themes of Adversity anchor chartthroughout Unit 2.
  • Tell students to write three modern-day challenges on sticky notes.
  • Direct students' attention to the Challenges of Modern Times anchor chart (hanging next to the Themes of Adversity anchor chart.)
  • Ask triads to choose one representative to send to the Challenges of Modern Times anchor chart to post their sticky notes.
  • Tell students they will continue to add to this anchor chart as they read and listen to modern-day voices.
  • Ask students to notice any similarities they see between the two charts.  Tell students they will continue to think about what adversities have continued to challenge people across time.
  • Explain that there are different ways for writers, speakers, musicians, and artists to express themselves.
  • Ask students to name different kinds of music. Listen for responses such as: jazz, country, rap, classical, rock, gospel, etc.
  • Explain that these different categories are called genres. Just as with music, there are different categories, or genres, for writers and speakers to use to express themselves.
  • Tell students they will watch part of a modern-day monologue, "Hackschooling Makes Me Happy," given by 13-year-old Logan Laplante at a TEDx conference. Explain that TEDx is an organization that provides an opportunity to share ideas all over the world. Unlike in medieval times, when the opportunity to speak out was only for wealthy, literate, educated men, in our country we have the freedom to share a voice. This young person recognized the opportunity to develop a monologue and share his thoughts about what kids want.
  • Distribute the Notices and Wonders graphic organizer. As students watch the video, ask them to jot down some notices and wonders for:

-    Challenges kids face today

-    The type of language the speaker uses

-    The tone or mood of his message

  • Play the first 2 minutes, 50 seconds of the "Hackschooling Makes Me Happy" video.
  • Ask students to share their notices and wonders with their triad partners.
  • As a whole class, invite them to share what challenges they heard that kids face today. Listen for responses that include finding a way to be happy, being healthy, being safe, not being bullied, getting the opposite sex to like you, cleaning your room, and having grown-ups understand you.
  • Post new challenges on the Challenges of Modern Times anchor chart based on students' responses. Ask students:

* "What did you notice about the language Logan used in his speech?"

  • Listen for responses that include it was informal; he used some slang or casual words like "stoked," "dude," "bummed out," and more formal language and references like the "prefrontal cortex is underdeveloped."
  • Ask students:

* "What did you notice about the tone or mood of his speech?"

  • Responses should note that it was upbeat; he used humor and examples of everyday things that kids deal with.
  • Explain that Logan Laplante chose to share his voice through the genre of public speaking.
  • Tell students they will look at modern voices shared in another way, through a genre called concrete poetry.
  • Consider placing students in heterogeneous groupings for their triads based on individual strengths and needs. Students should understand they bring individual strengths to their group: strong reading skills, writing skills, discussion facilitation, creativity, etc.
  • Students may benefit from referring to their Themes of Adversity graphic organizers (created throughout Unit 2) as they identify present day adversities they feel are similar to medieval challenges.
  • Consider compiling and posting a list of present-day adversities students documented on their Themes of Adversity graphic organizers. This could provide an entry point into discussion with triad partners as well as scaffold towards identifying present day challenges as they read and listen to different genres and modern voices.

B. Introducing Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Fault (15 minutes)

  • Distribute Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Faultto triads, so each triad can see one of the two books.
  • Invite students to browse through the books for a couple of minutes. Guide students to look at the titles pages, the copyright publisher pages, and the dedication pages in both books.
  • Tell students to exchange copies of the books with other triads so that all students can explore the concrete poems in both books. Encourage students to share their observations with their triad partners.
  • Use a document camera to project various pages in the books to enhance students' exploration of the books.
  • Ask students to discuss in triads:

* "What did you notice about how the poems were structured, or arranged?"

  • Listen for responses that reference how the arrangement of the words and symbols creates pictures, patterns, or images that suggest what the poem is about.
  • Explain that concrete poetry is an example of a genre that conveys or shares messages by using graphic patterns of letters, words, images, or graphs and charts rather than in more usual or common ways. Remind students that the words genregraphic, and concrete poetry are posted on the Academic Word Wall.
  • Use the document camera to display the covers of Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Fault.
  • Invite students to look closely at the Blue Lipstick cover. Ask:

* "What do you notice about the colors?"

* "What images do you notice?"

* "How are the words arranged?"

  • Listen for students to mention that the blue title with lipstick drawn on a mirror, lip prints on a mirror, color silver and shape of the silver look like a mirror, words arranged around the silver look like a frame or look like the shape of lips.
  • Ask students to listen and try to determine the gist as you read the cover poem, "Blue Lipstick," aloud.
  • Cold call students. Listen for responses like: "The narrator or person sharing the story tried wearing blue lipstick, and it didn't work out."
  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets again. Remind them that they are identifying theme and using explicit evidence to help them infer or say what the poem's message is.
  • Distribute the Modern Voices graphic organizer for the poems "Blue Lipstick" and "Technically, It's Not My Fault," as well as a Modern Voices folder, to each student. Tell students that they will use the graphic organizer to record the theme and evidence for "Blue Lipstick."
  • Invite students to read along silently as you read "Blue Lipstick" again.
  • Ask students:

* "What do you think the theme of the poem is?"

  • Responses should indicate the narrator wanted to be different so she took a risk by trying something new. Taking a risk doesn't always work out the way you would like it to.
  • Use the document camera to model adding the theme to the Modern Voices graphic organizer. Tell students to write the theme in their graphic organizers as well.
  • Ask triad partners to look for at least three examples of evidence in the poem that supports the theme.
  • Call on triads to share the evidence they found.
  • Model listing evidence examples in the column headed "Evidence from the Text" as students add to their graphic organizers.
  • Ask students to consider the evidence they found in the text:

* "Based on your evidence, what does it make you think, or what inference can you make?"

  • Listen for: "The evidence suggests the blue lipstick didn't look good."
  • Explain that the evidence is pretty clear, or explicit, and helps the reader conclude or infer that it was probably not a goodfashion choice.
  • Remind students that the words explicit and inference are posted on the Academic Word Wall.
  • Recognize collaborative triad work in looking for explicit evidence and making inferences. Tell students they will continue to work collaboratively as they look and read another concrete poem.
  • Tell students that as they continue working with their triad partners, there are some tips for sharing ideas and participating in discussion. 
  • Direct students' attention to the Effective Discussions anchor chart. Point out that some of the tips or sentence starters are ways to begin offering their own ideas. Other sentence starters provide ways to involve all members of the triad or ask discussion partners for more information or make their ideas more clear. Encourage students to refer to the anchor chart and to practice using these ideas when they discuss the next poem.
  • Invite triads to look at the cover of the book Technically, It's Not My Fault. Ask:

* "What do you notice about the words 'concrete poems' and the title of the book?"

* "What images do you notice?"

* "As you look at the arrangement of the words, what do think the poem might be about?"

  • Listen for responses that indicate the straight margins, the block shape of  "concrete poems," the curved letter arrangement of "Fault," and the possible relationship of that block and curve.
  • Ask students to listen and try to determine the gist as you read the cover poem, "Technically, It's Not My Fault," aloud.
  • Cold call students. Listen for responses that indicate the narrator tried an experiment to test gravity and learned a few lessons.
  • Invite students to read along silently as you read "Technically, It's Not My Fault" again. Ask:

* "What do you think the theme of the poem is or what challenge the narrator faced?"

  • Call on triads to share. Listen for responses that suggest that taking a risk doesn't always turn out exactly how you think.
  • Model as students add this theme to their Modern Voices graphic organizer.
  • Tell triads to again look for at least three examples of evidence that supports the theme.
  • Call on triads to share their evidence. Examples may include words or phrases that make the theme clear, such as: "pushed a bit too hard," "the block landed on the car," "the car has a concrete block sticking out of it," and "the block and tomato landed at exactly the same time."
  • Model as students record the evidence on their Modern Voices graphic organizer.
  • Tell students that starting in this lesson, and throughout Unit 3, they will add their Modern Voices graphic organizers to the folders. They will be able to use their work as they prepare for the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment and explore themes of adversity for writing their own monologues later in Unit 3.
  • Ask students to put their completed graphic organizers in their Modern Voices folders.
  • Refocus students as a whole class. Ask if they can use evidence from the poems to infer if the narrators, the people telling the story, in the two poems are girls or boys. Most likely, the responses will be that a girl is the narrator in "Blue Lipstick" and a boy is the narrator in "Technically, It's Not My Fault." Point out that there is no explicit evidence to make that inference, but sometimes evidence leads you to a conclusion. As they read more of the concrete poems, students will have the opportunity to discover whom the narrators are.
  • Commend triads for sharing and listening to their partners during discussion. Specifically acknowledge use of effective discussion sentence starters.
  • Projecting certain pages from Blue Lipstick and Technically, It's Not My Fault may enhance students' exploration of the books.
  • Having the opportunity to refer to and review academic vocabulary words benefits all students developing academic language.
  • Graphic organizers and recording forms engage students more actively and provide the scaffolding that is critical for learning.
  • Having students analyze graphics allows them to practice the skills of a close reader by asking questions, noticing details, and looking back multiple times for different purposes.
  • Some students may benefit from sentence starters to prompt their participation in discussion.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Setting Independent Reading Goals (5 minutes)

  • Ask students to get the independent reading books they selected at the beginning of the lesson.
  • Tell students they will have a few minutes to read from the book to help them determine a reasonable reading goal. Explain that as they read, they should read at a pace that is comfortable and allows them to understand or comprehend what they are reading.
  • Distribute the Reading Tracker and Reviewer's Notes. Ask students to write the title and author of the book on the Reading Tracker and Reviewer's Notes. Explain that as they get started on their new book, a reading check-in will be done the next day.
  • Have students read quietly to themselves for 3 minutes. At the end of the time, have students estimate how many pages they could read in 30 minutes of independent reading (number of pages read in 3 minutes multiplied by 10).
  • Distribute copies of "Advanced English" from Blue Lipstick and the Modern Voices graphic organizer for "Advanced English" for homework.
  • Consider sending a letter to parents about independent reading and the importance of their role in achieving reading goals.
  • Coordinate parent communication with ELL teachers to help draft letters in appropriate languages.

Homework

Homework
  • Read independently to meet your goal. Complete the Reading Tracker and Reviewer's Notes.
  • Read "Advanced English" from Blue Lipstick and complete the Modern Voices graphic organizer.

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