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Lesson Plan

Pairing Fiction With Poetry and Performance

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time At least eight 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Susan Ruckdeschel

Susan Ruckdeschel

New York, New York


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Although designed for second-language learners, this lesson is perfect for mixed classrooms, as all learners improve vocabulary and comprehension using a variety of genres and techniques. Students read and discuss novels, along with several poems that share a similar historical or cultural background, and compare the voice and themes of the poems and the novels. At specific points in their reading, students conduct research into the author's personal experiences and cultural background, with the help of an Inquiry Questions Guide; and relate this information to the setting and storyline of the novel. They then consider how they can connect the novel to poetry and drama, and work in groups to write an original performance poem focusing on a specific scene or event. Students memorize their poems, rehearse their roles, and prepare a formal presentation.

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Kornfeld, J., & Leyden, G. (2005). Acting out: Literature, drama, and connecting with history. The Reading Teacher, 59(3), 230239.

Drama can play a critical role in helping students understand and articulate their own experiences. Differentiating instructional strategies to allow students multiple perspectives through research and creation facilitates stronger, more permanent understanding as well as opportunities for language practice beyond reading and writing.

The article discusses a dramatic project conducted with first-graders; this lesson extends the idea to second- language learners in high school. These students will make stronger connections to vocabulary and will understand better when ideas are performed, when their writing can integrate and reflect their own ideas, and when language is shared in an immersive environment.

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