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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


Student Objectives

Instruction and Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • investigate a poem in depth.

  • use a combination of print and electronic sources in their inquiry for information.

  • develop a greater sense of awareness regarding textual cues such as color, the hypertext link, and images in the role of meaning-making.

  • create a Website based on a Native American poem.

  • write for an authentic audience.

  • learn to cite the references they use when conducting their research.

  • go into depth about a single poem and culture.

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Instruction and Activities

  1. Students read and discuss the various poems and finally select, as a class, one poem from the collection to further investigate. Or, a teacher can allow students to individually select a poem from the collection.

  2. Based on the words that students have identified, use the Webbing Tool student interactive to create a customized flowchart or outline of the connections among the pages.

  3. Students then identify key words and phrases in the poem and use those as jumping off places to do research.

  4. Students can use both print and electronic sources in order to learn more about specific topics in the poem.

  5. Each key word or phrase will become a hypertext link that will take the reader to specific information.

  6. Students will create a Website that uses the poem as the opening screen. Each page in the Website should link to several other places within the Web, and there should be a link back to the opening screen so that readers can choose their direction.

  7. See an example of a poetry annotation Website created by an eighth grader.

  8. The poem "Punto Final" by Native American author Shirley Hill Witt, with key words and phrases placed between asterisks is provided as a model. Teachers should understand that students should choose keywords and phrases for themselves.

  9. Each word or phrase between the asterisks can become a link to a page that explains that word or phrase. Some of the links might take the reader to a definition. Other links, like "Acoma," can take the reader to a page that provides information about Acoma and the mystery that surrounds it.

  10. Students will need to learn how to cite their references, and they will need to attend to the conventions of written language.

  11. Students can also work on this project in teams, with each team taking a poem or working on a single word or phrase in a whole class project.

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  • Much of the assessment for this project will be in the form of observations and individual conferences with students.

    Teachers may want to set up a minimum number of "pages" to be included in the Websites. The number will depend on the amount of time and access to technology. Generally, students should be able to complete a "page" in two days. Teachers may want to set up a rubric of sorts that allows students to decide how many pages they want to include in their project.

    In addition to the number of pages included in the project, students should include at least one image per page, provide an average of three working links (one of which returns the reader to the poem) per page, write an average of one or more paragraphs per page (with the exception of definitions), have a minimum of surface errors, and cite all references.
  • Students should use textual cues, such as images and color, and provide meaningful and interesting information.

  • Teachers may want to include a regular reflective response from students that asks them to think about their composing processes, their successes and frustrations in searching for information as well as with the technology itself. Teachers can ask questions such as the following:

    • "What frustrations and/or successes are you experiencing in your search for information?"
    • "What frustrations/successes are you experiencing with the technology?"
    • "What did you learn/discover today that you didn't know before?"
    • "If you could start your project again, what would you do differently?"
    • "What advice would you give to someone who was just starting a project like this?"
    • "What did you accomplish today, and what plans do you have for the next few days?"

    Questions like these help students set short-term goals, reflect on their experiences as writers and researchers, and give the teacher meaningful assessment information.

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