Poetry in Song
Students identify elements of poetry in song lyrics and replace those lines with their own examples of the appropriate poetic devices.
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Students will recognize the poetry in song lyrics and understand some of the tools or poetry elements a lyricist uses.
- Demonstrate an understanding of standard-specific poetry elements and vocabulary.
- Be aware of a difference in the delivery of a theme using poem versus song.
- Find song lyrics that contain the poetry elements you are covering. Pick your song lyrics based on the maturity level of your students. I like to use the song, "Ode" by Creed. India Arie and Tracy Chapman have some really cool song lyrics as well. Bottom line, pick something that you think your students will respond to!
- Reproduce the chosen song for a handout and create a transparency.
- Have a recording of the song and a way to play it for the students.
Set Up and Prepare
- Make handouts of the song.
- Make a transparency of the song.
- Find a way to play the song for students.
Step 1: Distribute the song and have students read it silently and then in pairs or small groups. Pick at least two volunteers to read the song to the entire class.
Step 2: Students will now review the poetic terms and definitions in their notebooks. This may be done individually or in groups.
Step 3: Students will create a replica of Reproducible 1 (from lesson #2 of this unit) in their notebooks and list what they learned about the song's narrator/character in the left hand column and the evidence from the poem that supports those statements in the right hand column.
Step 4: Conduct a class discussion regarding the song and its relationship to poetry. Discuss the use of poetic elements within the song. Have students change the figurative language. (Example: Instead of being happy as a lark, make him mad as a wasp.) Use the transparency of the lyrics to help with your discussion.
Step 5: Play the song for the class and discuss the delivery of the "poem" and some of the other elements that are present when listening to it versus reading it.
- Students will now be assigned to write an "Ode" about something that they are grateful for. They will need to demonstrate an understanding of form, mood and figurative language by incorporating these various elements into their own poem. I give points based on state standards for oral-language and speaking skills, as well as use of poetic elements.
- Participation in the annual Poetry Slam (use as a culminating project.) Students orally present their "ode" poetry on a stage or in front of class. Remember to give students options:
Live-reading (in-class presentation)
Radio-reading (on cassette or CD)
Video-reading (on video)
Powerpoetry-reading (PowerPoint presentation)
For the extended lesson, students are assessed on their oral language and speaking skills, as well as use of poetic elements on a standards aligned rubric.
Were there enough examples so that students have lots of models for similes and metaphors? How do I know they are ready to write on their own? Should we start the writing in class and finish it at home or do it all at home? Perhaps someone would like to write a song-type ode.
By discussion and walking around the teacher will determine if students can find and create the poetry element of figurative language.