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The different expressions of self through nature.
1. Students will know the distinct writing characteristics of each writer we study
• Students will familiarize themselves with the specific word choices of the author and study their etymologies.
2. Students will know how to read texts and retrieve a deeper meaning from the presented imagery.
• By studying the etymologies of words, students will foster a more thorough understanding of the poem’s imagery.
3. Students will think about the written word as a product of one’s experiences and personal reflections.
• Students will think about the words used in a poem as an author’s intentional way of expressing his/her own experiences and personal reflections.
6. Students will feel connected to the text.
• Students will explore the feelings of the poet through word studies
7. Students will feel comfortable analyzing poetry.
• Students will feel comfortable analyzing poetry with graphic, dark themes by valuing the word choices of the poet.
9. Read each other’s writing assignments and give peer feedback.
• Students will read each other’s skit scripts and give feedback.
10. Discuss a text in small groups
• Students will discuss a text in small groups, both through regular discussion and by means of performing a skit in groups.
11. Engage with the text to a deeper level through exercises that reflect the style and thematic message of the author.
• Students will perform skits in order to explore the message of the author.
Standards of Learning:
11.3 The student will read and analyze relationships among American literature, history, and culture.
a) Describe how use of context and language structures conveys an author’s intent and viewpoint in contemporary and historical essays, speeches, and critical reviews.
11.5 The student will read and critique a variety of poetry.
a) Analyze the poetic elements of contemporary and traditional poems.
b) Identify the poetic elements and techniques that are most appealing and that make poetry enjoyable.
I. Bridge [5 mins.]
Hi class, so far we have explored how nature affects the emotions of humans through animals and outdoors. Today, we are going to discuss how a vegetable can also accomplish this task by looking at the poem “The Cut” by Sylvia Plath. In this slightly morbid poem, the speaker likens her cut finger to the slicing of an onion, which is why we are going to first watch this Youtube video on how to slice an onion.
Show the class this video clip
Did you feel any emotions while watching that clip?
(expect students to say “no”)
On your own, briefly imagine yourself cutting that onion and accidentally hurting your finger in the process. How would you react? What words would you use to describe such an incident?
II. Steps [75 mins.]
[15 mins.] Reading the poem/ Double entry-journal
1) Now, I am going to pass out the poem. Notice how the structure of this poem is different from the other ones we have discussed in past lessons. This poem has shorter lines, reflecting spontaneous bursts of thought, almost like a stream of consciousness. With this in mind, try to especially take notice to the particular words that Plath uses in this poem. There might be some words you don’t understand, at least in the context in which she uses them. Circle these words.
2) Now that you have read the poem, I will pass out a double-entry journal handout. Since I have already explained the context of the poem, pick out at least five phrases that stand out to you, and record your personal responses to them. At least two of these phrases should include words that you have circled. Even if you might not know the exact uses of these words, try to guess as to why Plath chose these particular words.
[10 mins.] Small Group Discussion
Now we are going to break up into small groups. I have chosen five words that you guys might have circled, perhaps because you did not know the meaning or were puzzled by its placement in this poem. Join the group that has a word that you circled. If the group exceeds five people, then move to the next group. Amongst your group, share your personal opinion on the poem, then focus on the particular word that you have been assigned to discuss. This group discussion is going to explore the etymology of the word. Etymology has to do with the origin of a word. You are allowed to use your laptops to look up the history of the meaning of the word to better understand why Sylvia Plath might have included it in her poem.
Write these words on the board while the students are filling in their double entry journals:
5) Ku Klux Klan
[ 50 mins.] Skit activity/Jigsaw debrief
Now that you guys have discussed the etymologies of the word that you were assigned, I want you guys to spend ten minutes planning a skit that is set in the original context of that word. But you must also have Sylvia Plath as one of the characters. Have her interact with the characters of your skit in the way that you think she would, basing your interpretation on how she uses the word in the poem. This activity will help you guys to see how individual words play great roles in shaping the message of a poem. As an added challenge, if you can somehow incorporate the cutting of an onion into the plot, I will grant your team extra brownie points.
You will have ten minutes to plan your skit, then you will perform the skits in front of the class.
Now I will number the members of each skit group from 1-5. All the ones, twos, threes, fours, and fives will get together in groups; share your word, what your group found out about the word, and how you guys came up with the skit idea. This jigsaw activity will allow you guys to share different perspectives of the poem and provide insight on the different words that were highlighted in today’s lesson.
Any questions before you guys being?
III. Closure [10 mins.]
Was it difficult putting together the skit?
How did the skits help you understand the poem better?
Do you guys think that Plath was intentional in choosing these words, now that you understand a little bit more of each word’s etymology?
How would you describe this poem in one word?
Hopefully you guys were able to see how Plath carefully chose certain words, with their context in mind, in order to carefully and artfully craft the emotions and theme of the poem.
• Handout of the poem, “The Cut”
• Projector and computer to show the Youtube clip
Method(s) of Assessment:
Informal: Double-entry journal
Objective: This assessment will determine whether the students are trying to make personal connections with the poem by responding to certain lines that catch their attention. I will collect these journals at the end of class (after they have used them for small group discussion) and give them a check minus, check, or check plus based on the quality of their responses, particularly their attention to detail.
Informal: Small group discussion
Objective: This assessment will determine whether the students can discuss the individual words that they have been assigned—especially looking at the origin or meaning of the word and taking this into consideration when thinking about why the poet chose that particular word for this poem. I will walk around and join conversations to see whether the students are on the right track.
Informal: Group skits
Objective: This activity will allow the students to explore the text through an active medium, as well as focus on the more detailed aspects of the poem—particular words that Plath chose in order to convey a certain strong emotion. I will have each student group perform their skit, and I will asses whether they are making connections with the text based on how they perform their skit according to the guidelines that I mention in the procedure section.
I will see whether each student was able to participate in the skit in a way that would enable him or her to understand how each of the chosen words contribute towards the meaning of the poem. I will especially pay attention to how the ELL students responded to the activities of this lesson.
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