I'm Nobody! Who are You? Lesson Plan
- Grades: 6–8
Subject Area: Language Arts
Gifted artist Rex Schneider interprets the glorious poems of Emily Dickinson. Filled with full-color illustrations depicting life in 19 th -century Amherst, the book brings to life the beautiful images and hidden meanings of Dickinson's poetry.
To learn about personification
Standard: Understands the use of language in literary works to convey mood, images, and meaning (e.g., personification)
- Read the poem on page 11 out loud to students without stopping.
- Ask students to select a line that they find interesting or confusing. Have students share.
- Have students look up any difficult vocabulary ( omnifold, inquest, sire ). Read the poem again. How does knowing the definition of the word change your understanding of the poem?
- Introduce students to the word personification . Break down the word so that they can see the word person . Define the word for students and tell them that it is a technique used by writers. Discuss why a writer or poet might want to use this technique. (Example: people can better picture or relate to an object that has human traits.)
- Ask students to list some of the human qualities of the mountain and seasons mentioned in the poem. Why does Dickinson compare the mountain to an old man? Tell students to add another line that illustrates another human characteristic of the mountain. Read some of their lines aloud as examples.
- If students are struggling with the idea of personification, read another poem by Dickinson that uses this technique (p.51).
- Tell each student to write down on an index card something they have observed in nature. They do not need to describe the event/object in depth. Some examples might be the sun setting, a snowflake melting, an ant marching, etc. If you would like to relate this activity to science, tell students to describe an event that is fitting for the area of science that they are studying. (i.e. electron revolving around an atom, plate tectonics).
- Put all their observations in a box and mix them around. Have each student pick an index card.
- Each student should create a poem that personifies the object in nature or natural event written on the index card.
- Encourage accelerated students to follow a rhyming pattern like Dickinson's.
- After students have written and edited their poems, they should create an illustration that fits what they have described.
- Put the poems and illustrations together in a book.
Other Books About Emily Dickinson
The Mouse of Amherst
by Elizabeth Spires
Emmaline the mouse lives with Emily Dickinson in her home in Amherst, observing the quiet poet. When Emmaline reads one of Dickinson's poems, she blushes as she realizes how much she and the poet have in common.
Emily Dickinson: Singular Poet
by Carol Dommermuth-Costa
A biography of Dickinson's life, filled with quotations to give readers a flavor of her poetry.