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Lesson Plan

Weaving the Threads: Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology

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Weaving the Threads: Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Nancy Patterson

Nancy Patterson

Grand Rapids, Michigan


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Using a poem as the foundation for further investigation into a culture can be very rewarding and highly engaging, especially when students can compose in an electronic format and use a combination of print and electronic sources in their quest for information. This project provides the organizational support (the poem) to help students learn more about the nature of hypertext composing. After reading and discussing several poems by modern Native American writers, students individually or as a class select one for further investigation. Next, they identify key words and phrases in the poem and use them as a starting point for research. Each key word or phrase becomes hyperlinked text on a student-created Web page that will lead the reader to information. Finally, students publish their work on the Internet, allowing them to write for an authentic audience beyond the confines of the classroom and the school.

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ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool: Students use this online tool to create a variety of free-form graphic organizers including cluster, hierarchy, and cause and effect webs. Completed webs can be printed.

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Michael Joyce, in his 1995 book Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Politics, writes that hypertext technology specifically offers the possibility of adapting cognitive skills "that experts routinely, subtly, and self-consciously apply in accomplishing intellectual tasks" (40). He adds that hypertext tools "promise to unlock these skills for novice learners and to empower and enfranchise their learning" (40).

When we read, internalize, and re-create the utterances of others, we engage in a dialogue with the text, the subject, the reader, the author, and exterior, associated texts. When readers engage in a hypertext, they engage in just such a dialogue, navigating and exploring the text for connections, associations, and reflections-the sorts of "intellectual tasks" that Joyce refers to. This associational thinking takes place when a reader dances through a hypertext web and when a writer choreographs the dance a reader might perform when he or she sees the music of links, and frequently helps novice learners move beyond simply following the dance steps to creating their own dance in reaction.

In this project, the process of writing and creating links helps students think not only of alternative textual forms but of more traditional organizational principals, only with more options. It also brings together the textual elements of color, font, image, as well as the more traditional conventions of print text. Further, students become more conscious of textual cues. Combined, these elements help students begin to "unlock" the "novice" skills Joyce refers to, as they write in an authentic environment and experience, in concrete form, associational and reflective intellectual tasks.

Further Reading

Eyman, Douglas. "Hypertext in the Computer-Facilitated Writing Class." Kairos 1.2 (Summer 1996)


Patterson, Nancy. "Making Connections: Hypertext and Research in a Middle School Classroom." English Journal 89.1 (September 1999): 69-73.


Patterson, Nancy. "Weaving Middle School Webs: Hypertext in the Language Arts Classroom." Kairos 5.1 (Spring 2000).

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