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Teacher Resources by Grade
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Discovering Poetic Form and Structure Using Concrete Poems
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Two 50-minute sessions|
In this lesson, students are introduced to the genre of concrete poetry and are encouraged to explore the relationship between the structure and meaning of a poem. Students read and discuss sample concrete poems and then create simple one-word or two-word examples to share with the class or small groups. Students pull the lesson's ideas together through a reflective or free writing activity. This lesson is especially appropriate if introduced near Columbus Day. Several pieces of literature appropriate for use with this lesson are suggested.
ReadWriteThink Printing Press: Use this online tool to create a newspaper, brochure, booklet, or flyer. Students choose a layout, add content, and then print out their work.
As Albert B. Somers explains in his Teaching Poetry in High School, concrete poems are "fun and easy" (135). For Somers, teaching students to understand "the business of structure," the way that poets make meaning by placing words together in lines and on the page, is "the poetry teacher's greatest bugaboo" (145).
For most teachers, according to Somers, the "prevailing approach is deductive: define the terms, give examples, and have the students find them in poems" (146). By reversing this process, this lesson plan leads students to draw their own conclusions about the way that poets make meaning. Beginning with generalizations about how a specific poem works, students see the concrete [pun intended] ways that poets make meaning. Students first explore the ways that poets play with words, and then learn the names for the kinds of forms and techniques the poets use in these examples.
Somers, Albert B. 1999. Teaching Poetry in High School. Urbana, IL: NCTE.