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Lesson Plan

Poetry Reading and Interpretation Through Extensive Modeling

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Poetry Reading and Interpretation Through Extensive Modeling

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Eight 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Ryan James Dippre

Milford, Pennsylvania


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Through the use of extensive modeling with John Berryman’s “Sole Watchman,” students will understand the steps involved in the analysis and interpretation in poetry.  The teacher will model how to summarize and analyze the poem, construct a thesis, and develop an essay.  Students will review and discuss a sample essay complete with comments that highlight strong writing decisions.  After reading and interpreting Berryman’s “The Ball Poem,”  students will construct a 3-4 page essay on this poem.

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Beth Hewitt’s “Writing Onstage: Giving Students an Authentic Model” was the driving force behind not only this unit, but many of my writing lessons.  Hewitt’s claim that “When we write with students, they benefit” (6) led to the creation of a model-heavy classroom during writing lessons.  A structured model unit such as this can provide great help to students who struggle with the writing process, teachers who are just getting into spontaneous writing, and educators who would like to work extensively with editing and revising.

Further Reading

Hewett, Beth L.  “Writing Onstage: Giving Students an Authentic Model.”  Classroom Notes Plus, 27.2.  October 2009.

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