Portrait I Overview: Poetry

Adventures in Poetry

e. e. cummings

In this unit, “Adventures in Poetry,” we will be spending time getting to know the ways that English scholars and poetry lovers read and write poetry. We will think about what makes something a poem, look at different forms of poetry, introduce the different literary terms used to talk about poetry, and spend lots of time reading, listening to, and appreciating poetry. The beginning of the unit will have students consider what they already know and how they already feel about poetry, and the final assessment of the unit will ask students to create an 8th grade class anthology of their own original poetry.

Text Set

  • “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” (e. e. cummings)
  • Various other selected poems
  • Song lyrics
  • Videos of spoken word poetry performances

Big Ideas and Essential Questions

  • What makes something a poem? How do you distinguish poetry from other types of writing?
  • What are the differences between reading a written poem and listening to a poem being read aloud?
  • What are the different forms of poetry?
  • How can we find poetry in the world around us?

Learning Goals

For key learning goals, see the corresponding Growth in Learning sub-section.

Curriculum Standards

  • RL.8.1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (close reading poetry)
  • RL.8.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts. (close reading and responding to poetry)
  • RL.MA.8.a. Identify and analyze the characteristics of irony and parody in literary works. (will attempt to include poems that will allow us to go over these concepts)
  • RL.8.10. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently. (reading and analyzing poems on their own)
  • W.8.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (responding in writing to poetry, making claims about what the poem is saying)
  • W.8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. (writing analysis of poems)
  • W.8.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (different short writing assignments)
  • W.8.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (peer editing poems)
  • W.8.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others. (publishing the anthology)
  • SL.8.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (mini-discussions and small group discussions on students’ responses to poetry)
  • L.8.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.8.3. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
  • L.8.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. (figurative language in close reading poems)