Lesson Plan Block 3


Block 3 (One to three lesson plans)
Learning Targets: Students will be able to:

·      Write a description containing vivid sensory imagery.

·      Respond to poetry, citing evidence from the poem that supports conclusions drawn from details.

·      Put texts into conversation with each other and generate new insights through the comparative analysis.

·      Analyze a poem and for both denotative and connotative meanings. Analyze the impact of the author’s textual choices in creating an overall effect.

·      Analyze a critical essay, identifying its central argument and connecting it to poetry.

Common Core Standards Alignment: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)


Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.


Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).


Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.




Writing prompt. Have students close their eyes for a few minutes and think about the classroom in terms of what they hear, feel, and smell. Invite them to explore their backpacks and desks/tables/chairs/clothing with their eyes closed (you may want to reiterate a “no hands on another person’s body” policy). Then have them get out their journals and write a description of the classroom based only on those sentences. Encourage them to include strongly descriptive sensory details. Then have them discuss with a partner what they noticed using only those three senses. Here are a couple of important notes about this prompt:

·      This activity falls somewhat into the category of “simulation exercise,” which can be rather perilous. Today’s poems have to do with blindness, and the prompt is meant to help students think about how blind people experience the world. However, we don’t want to unconsciously communicate to students the idea that we can know what it’s like to be blind simply by closing our eyes for a few minutes. While students will likely talk about blindness in their partner discussions, it’s important that you frame this as a sensory exercise that doesn’t use the deficit model. In other words, don’t have students focus on what they miss by losing vision, but what they notice (that they would likely overlook) by paying more attention to input from other senses.

·      Carmen Papalia is a blind man who guides sighted people on “blind walks.” In doing so, he successfully enables them to engage senses other than sight, which tend to overrule other sensory experiences. He opens up new modes of experience for them, which helps push back against that deficit model to which we default when thinking about disabilities. You can follow this link (http://blog.art21.org/2014/10/07/you-can-do-it-with-your-eyes-closed/#.Vjt_sYSdLzI) to show students Carmen’s story and to watch and respond to videos of his blind walks.

Scaffolded learning activities: REVIEW

·      Go over the ground rules for discussion again.


·      Pass out copies of Daniel Simpson’s essay “Line Breaks the Way I See Them.”

·      Read the essay silently, aloud to your students, using the “popcorn method” (assuming that all students feel comfortable reading aloud in front of the whole class, which is a BIG assumption to make), or read it aloud in small groups. Essay reading and poetry readings are a major part of this unit, and I recommend that you change up how you read them, based on the needs of your class.

·      Discuss* Simpson’s primary argument and how he supports it.

·      Discuss the concept of space in Simpson’s essay and how he perceives literal and metaphorical spaces in poetry differently from how sighted people perceive space.

·      Have a conversation in which students predict what Simpson’s poems might be like in light of the essay they’ve just read, both in terms of form and content. You may want to write these on the board in order to reference them later in the lesson.


·      Pass out copies of Simpson’s poems “School for the Blind” and “Broken Reverie” and copies of Kuusisto’s “Only Bread, Only Light.” Before they read the poems, invite them to predict what they think the poems will be about based on the title.

·      Read the poems. Invite students to read silently first, and then aloud in small groups, each with a volunteer reader.

·      Have one section of students get into groups to analyze “School,” another section get into groups to analyze “Broken,” and another section get into groups to analyze “Only Bread.” Let them know that we are going to use the same TPCASTT format (see Lesson Plan 1 for instructions if you need them) that was introduced with Black’s poem and practiced with Hershey’s poem, but that we are going to do our analysis more quickly today.

·      Bring all the groups back together and invite a couple of volunteers from each group to explain their findings to the rest of the class.

·      Have students revisit the predictions they made about what Simpson’s poems were going to be like, based on his essay.   What predictions were accurate, and which ones reveal assumptions or conclusions that proved inaccurate?


·      Draw a dotted-line-Venn diagram and invite students to do the same in their notes (or you can have them work in pairs to draw diagrams on big paper). Explain that the reason that we create dotted lines is that the boundaries between texts are often blurred or indefinite. A point of similarity can also be a point of difference.

·      Tell students to select two texts: two of any of the poems we’ve read thus far. Have them identify points of similarity and points of difference in how authors perceive themselves and the world and how they express their perspectives.


·      Teacher, you have a couple of options here in regard to how you frame the assignment.

1)   You can keep the response informal and have students react to what they notice in the poems, explain how the poems are helping them think in new ways about the subject of disability, and make connections to other texts, films, songs, etc. You can have them choose just one poem to respond to or ask them to respond to 2 or 3.   The length is up to you; I think two double-spaced pages is a good length for an informal response like this.

2)   You can have them do a more formal, academic response in which you have them make a claim about one of the poems and support the claim with textual evidence.   You can have them explain how the author uses such literary elements as tone, imagery, point of view, and figurative language to convey a certain idea or perspective. I think 3-5 double-spaced pages is a good length

3)   You can do a hybrid of the two, with an informal response followed by a more in-depth analysis.

4)   When the assignment should be due is going to depend on which one you choose. An informal response only needs one or two days.   A more in-depth analysis needs more time. You may also want to give students time to work on their poetry responses in class so that they can get feedback from you during the writing process. This will depend on how much time you have and what resources you have (laptops in 1:1 classrooms, computer labs. libraries, etc.).

Independent application: Poetry response #1; read Me, chapters 6-7
Materials: Journals for students.   Copies of Daniel Simpson’s essay “Line Breaks the Way I See Them,” his poems “School for the Blind” and “Broken Reverie.” Copies of “Only Bread, Only Light” by Stephen Kuusisto. Big paper and markers if that’s what you’re using for your Venn diagrams.
Accessibility: ·      For the writing prompt, students who experience auditory, olfactory, or tactile impairment may feel ostracized. While there are a variety of options for how you choose to tackle this important issue of inclusion, I think one valid option is to have each student write a description of the classroom using only one sense of their choice.   Then you can discuss how using one sense is limiting, but also freeing, in that it presents aspects of the room they would ordinarily overlook.

·      Students with learning disabilities may struggle with the poetry response if you choose to assign the academic analysis. For those students, you may want to scaffold their learning by having them write their first response as partly informal reaction, partly analysis and then the second response as more analysis.

*Discussions may be adapted to the form best suited for your students. You could make this discussion a “think-pair-share,” a whole class discussion, or a small group discussion. If it is a whole-class discussion, consider allowing students to participate by writing their thoughts on notecards if they would rather not speak aloud in front of all the other students.


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