After viewing and discussing videos of contemporary poets, including Naomi Shihab Nye and Arthur Sze, sharing their poetry, students create and perform their own poems.
- Develop skills of noticing (seeing, hearing, and feeling) to learn about one type of owl from a series of photographs
- Make connections between what they notice and prior knowledge
- Ask their own questions
- Explore the similarities/differences between what they might learn from two different types of media
- Find meaning in a poem and provide evidence for their interpretations
- Figure out the meaning of vocabulary words using contextual clues and prior connections
- Computer and projector or laptops and iPads for group instruction
Note: Depending on the technology capabilities in your classroom, students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups (on a laptop or iPad), or as a large group with an image projected at the front of the room.
- Access to Arthur Sze's "The Owl" video
- Student writing notebooks
- Printed copies of Arthur Sze's "The Owl", one for each pair of students
- Whiteboard or chart paper
- Markers for whiteboard or chart paper
Step 1: Ask your students to watch the video of Arthur Sze reading his poem at least two times.
Note: Students should not, at this time, watch him answer the question, "What inspired you to write this poem?" They will do this later.
Step 2: In the second viewing, students should write down what they notice about the reading. This should include what they hear, see, and feel.
Step 3: Have your students share what they wrote with a partner.
Step 1: With the same partners, ask your students to read the poem out loud to each other, at least two times.
Step 2: After the first reading, they should write down what jumps out at them in the poem (what they notice).
Step 3: After the second reading, they should write down any connections they see between what they are reading and prior knowledge.
Step 4: Ask two pairs to form groups of four to share what they wrote about, what they noticed, and the connections they made.
Step 1: After this viewing/reading process, the students should write down any questions they have about the poem, including how the poem was written, read, or what the poem might mean.
Step 2: Back in their groups of four, students should discuss how what they learned from the poem was similar to, or different from, what they learned from their engagement with the photographs.
Step 1: Large group synthesis: Conduct a large group discussion, listing noticings, connections, and questions on the board. Have this lead to a discussion of what students think the poem means based on evidence they provide from the first three activities. The point is not to reach consensus, but rather to invite each student to engage with the poem from his/her vantage point.
Ask your students to keep a running list on the front board in your room of the words they have read and heard that they do not understand. You can either conduct a separate vocabulary lesson on these words where students try to figure out their meaning from context and connections, or go over vocabulary as you progress through the other activities.
- Did students actively participate in group and class discussions?
- Did students make genuine observations about the poem?
- Did students compare the two forms of media?
Common Core State Standards/College and Career Anchor Standards
- Reading: Key Ideas and Details, 2; Craft and Structure, 4; Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, 7, 9
- Writing: Text Types and Purposes, 3; Production and Distribution of Writing, 5, 6
- Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration, 1, 2
- Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, 4, 5
- Interdisciplinary Connections: Science (Animals, Environmental Issues)
Studying Other Poet Videos
You can adapt the above activities to viewing and reading any of the other poems in the Poet-to-Poet collection. Of course, you will have to change the poem-specific activities, such as the preparation photo, but the viewing and reading activities can be easily adapted.
Poets and Their Poems:
Juan Felipe Herrera, "Five Directions to My House"
Edward Hirsch, "Fast Break"
Jane Hirshfield, "My Skeleton"
Naomi Shihab Nye, "A Valentine for Ernest Mann"
Ron Padgett, "Nothing in that Drawer"
Arthur Sze, "The Owl"
Arthur Sze, "Here"
Anne Waldman, from "Manatee/Humanity"