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Color of Silence: Sensory Imagery in Pat Mora’s Poem “Echoes”
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Three 50-minute sessions|
In this lesson, students explore how writers use sensory imagery as a literary device to make text more meaningful for the reader. They begin by using all of their senses to describe known objects such as pasta, chocolate, or grapes. Students first feel and listen to the object, in a bag, before then taking it out of the bag to look at, smell, and taste it. They then use at least three senses to write a poem about the object they’ve described. Next, they evaluate how this literary device functions in Pat Mora’s poem “Echoes.” As students read this poem, they look for sensory images and write an explanation of how these images contribute to the meaning of Mora’s poem. Finally, students think about how sensory images work in their own poems and then make appropriate revisions to their work.
Using Your Senses: Students use this sheet to record what an object feels, smells, sounds, tastes, and looks like.
"Fearful and frustrating," contends NCTE author Jaime R. Wood, "are the words I've often heard to describe the experience that many students have when they read poetry in school" (xi). In response to these anxieties, Wood argues for the need to provide students with exposure to living voices, poets who are "alive and writing" and whose "cultural backgrounds...parallel many of the lives of our students" to reduce the initial hesitation students may have toward the study of poetry (xii). She takes her focus on living a step further by offering students a learning invitation that is a lived multisensory experience, providing readers with the necessary scaffolding that builds toward literary understanding with the ultimate goal of "introduc[ing] students to a kind of literacy about which they can feel excited" (xii).
Wood, Jaime R. 2006. Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.