Upcoming Activities

Sept 29: JV VB Mid Plains Tourney, TBA

Sept 29: JH VB/FB, JV FB v. Twin Loup @ Callaway; 2:30, 4:30, 5:30

Sept 30: JV/V VB v. Ansley-Litchfield @ Callaway; 5:30/6:30

Fireside Poetry

Project Title:  Discovering Theme Through Fireside and Other 19th Century Poets{pictureRef(“neb2″,align:right)}

Project Discription:  During the unit on 19th century poets, we really hit theme hard.  We discuss the difference between theme and moral.  We also point out that American Literature begins to reflect different values during this time period as America begins to grow into a truly unique nation.  After discussing theme and American poetry, we create an iMovie using a 19th century poem, still photos (either from the Internet or those that are taken by students), and music.  The music and pictures must enhance the poem’s symbolic interpretation.

Software Used:
  iMovie, iPhoto, possibly Garage Band (students may also get music from freeplaymusic.com or another free site)

Subject and Grade Level:  We use it in 11th grade English (United States Literature), but the same procedure could be used with many units.

Intergrated Subject Areas Also Covered:  Music and a little history

Standards:  12.1.4,12.2.2, 12.2.4, 12.3.1, 12.3.2

Example:

FiresidePoetryiMovie  directions and suggestions can be downloaded here.

OR students can choose to create a FiresidePosterExample using these directions.

FiresideTheme

PoetryiMovie

Nebraska Poetry

“Cather”

“Poetry iBook”

“Willa Cather Project”

Suggestions:  Make sure students really think the theme through by requiring them to complete a story board with pictures and music suggestion as well as the specific lines of the poem that they will perform for their video.  Also, practice the poem many times for inflection and tone to enhance the meaning of the poem before you have students record their voice.

Materials needed:  computers, Internet availability

Lesson Plans/Directions:  I begin the introduction by discussing theme.  We read Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado” and discuss the moral of the story.  Students usually agree that the moral would be not to trust everyone.  Then we watch Toby Keith’s video “A Little Too Late”.  When we discuss that moral, students usually agree that it is to think about what you’re doing before you do it.  Then we discuss the allusion in the music video to the Poe short story.  Even though the words in the song and the words in the story aren’t even close, the video obviously makes reference to the story.  From there we discuss theme and some of the common themes between the video and the story.  In this case, students usually agree that Poe and Keith both view human nature as needing some sort of vegence.  Then we discuss other stories or novels with similar themes.

After really hitting theme for a day, I introduce 19th century poetry and the historical events that are occurring that influence American poetry.  Poe is a natural bridge, but we also discuss Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, and others.  We deconstruct a couple of poems (“I hear America Singing” and “I Sit and Look Out” are fantastic because they have completely different tones and are by the same poet).

The third day of the unit, we spend time researching other 19th century poets.  I have several books that they can look through and many of them look up poems on the Internet.  I let them read several poems and decide on which one they would like to use for their personal interpretation.  They must each choose a different poem to interpret.  If I have a small class, each person does a different poet.  I allow two days for making the storyboard because I feel the pre-production step is vital to the success of the project.  Students must complete the story board and get it approved before starting the actual iMovie.  I usually have them make a theme poster to create a billboard for their movie when they are done with the storyboard.  (This gives me a day to grade the storyboards and offer suggestions for improvement before they get too far into the project.)

After their storyboard has been approved, I allow them three work days during class to complete their iMovie.  Some students finish earlier, however, those students become great resources for the students that are more technologically challenged.  Students must include end credits for their poem, pictures, and music so we can discuss plagerism.  I also give them one day in small groups to share their movies and get suggestions for improving (students make any revisions that afternoon for homework.)

While I’m evaluating their iMovies, students research their poet.  They have to come up with a “Top Ten” list about their poet.  (Top Ten Things Everyone Should Know, Top Ten Interesting Tidbits, etc.)  They must create a poster to introduce their poet to the class before they present their iMovie.  In the future, I may include this in the iMovie, but currently I use this as my “grade time” to ensure all students have a successful presentation.

The culminating day involves presenting their poet “Top Tens” and their iMovies.  I have a review day where I emphasize the important aspects of the time period before we have a test over 19th century poets.