I teach fourth grade at Nathan Hale School in New Haven, Connecticut. My classroom is comprised of a diverse community of learners with a wide variety of academic abilities, interests, and prior knowledge. Nathan Hale is a school with students that come from a variety of backgrounds and have a diverse set of needs and skills. Inquiry based learning is a focus at my school. Students are expected to internalize their learning through exploration and questioning. They are given many opportunities to investigate information independently, with partners, or in small groups.
This unit is designed to build student comprehension of poetry by focusing on the sound of words and phrases. Students will be given the content and skills to read poetry and gain a deeper understanding so that they are able to read and write poetry independently. Students will investigate a variety of poems by focusing primarily on the sounds. They will begin by analyzing free verse poetry and note the rhythm of the poems. First they will focus on how line breaks influence the rhythm, and then they will notice how alliteration and onomatopoeias influence the sound. They will produce beats by clapping or with instruments to accompany the words. They will also be asked to reflect on the tone the author intended. Then they will note syllable structure and clap out each syllable using haikus. Finally, they will read poems with iambic meter (a soft then hard pattern of beats). They will read the poems with rhythm and will play instruments to the beat. Throughout the unit they will be expected to use their new set of skills to write poetry that mimics the style and emotion of their favorite poets. They will reflect on their poems and explain why they chose specific structure, words, and rhythm to express their ideas. They will be given the skills to read with prosody, rhythm, and voice. They will also have the skills to write meaningful poems with rhythm and tone. Students will be given the content and skills to go beyond forming a general understanding and interpret the meaning of the poem by focusing on the sounds, rhythm, and tone. Tone will act as a bridge from sound to sense. Students will read a variety of poem by an assortment of authors and reflect on the rhythm of the poems. As a result of this unit, students will have the skills to read and write the genre of poetry independently.