Lesson Plan

Poetry Unit-Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman

Students will find a modern poem with a similar theme found in an Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman poem.

Students will choose a theme found in Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman poetry and find a poem written in the 20th century with a similar theme to present to the class.

English Language Arts
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Presenting
  1. I will begin my lesson by presenting my students with the following problem:
  • My curriculum is getting a little dry. I have been comparing the same 20th century poems to the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman for a very long time, so my class is ready for a change! The only problem is, I don't know which new poems to introduce, so I need help in finding poetry that my future students will enjoy. I need your help in finding new poems to teach in my future classes!"

2 Direct Instruction

Google Drive
Free, Paid
  1. As a class, we will review the themes of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman poetry that we have gone over in previous class periods, and create a list on Google Drive/Google Docs. that will be available for students to look at while they search for other poetry.
  • Themes from Emily Dickinson (love, death, grief, nature, religion/faith, etc.)
  • Themes from Walt Whitman (politics/democracy, freedom, nature, immortality, etc.)

   2. Students will then be directed to individual computers in the classroom/library/lab so they can have access to the Google doc. and so they can continue with the next part of the lesson.

3 Guided Practice

  1. Together as a class, we will go through poems found on PowerPoetry.org.
  2. Students will have a chance to view poems written by other teens from various points of view, covering many different topics and themes. 
  3. Students may choose a poem found on this website to present to the class.

4 Independent Practice

  1. Students will further explore poems from 20th century poets by reading many different poems on their own, either from PowerPoetry.org or Poets.org.
  2. Students will then choose their favorite poem to present to the class.
  3. Once a poem has been chosen, students need to develop a way to present the poem to class by creating a presentation (prezi, powerpoint, etc), a video (screencast, animoto, etc.), a poster, or any other creative element they would like to use.

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Other — Poems by Heart from Penguin Classics
  1. To close this lesson, students will be introduced to the program "Poems by Heart from Penguin Classics"--a tool that will help them memorize their chosen poem.***
  2. For a summative assessment- students will write a short paragraph about why they chose the poem they did and explain to me how they think they will present it to the class, and how it's theme relates to Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman.
  3. For homework, students will continue working on how they will present their poem to the class.

***This app show up on my board, but not on the app-flow for some reason.