Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Lesson Plan: AAPI Women: Untold Stories Through Poetry

LESSON 1 | LESSON 2 | LESSON 3 | LESSON 4 | LESSON 5
WORKS CITED | UNIT PLAN

Download all unit components [zip]
 

GRADE
4-5
SUBJECT
English Language Arts
NUMBER OF LESSONS
5
LESSON 1
UNIT INTRODUCTION, CENTRAL IDEA.
Suggested Time:
60 minutes
STANDARDS ADDRESSED
L.4.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).
RF.4.3
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
a.
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.
RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
a.
Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
SL.4.3
Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
L.5.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).
RF.5.3
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
a.
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.
RF.5.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
a.
Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
b.
Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
RL.5.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
MATERIALS
1. “AAPI Women Voices: Untold Stories Through Poetry” story
a.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner: “2 Degrees”
b.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner: “Tell Them”
2. “Central Idea Handout”
3. “Central Idea Handout” Answer Key
4. Jetnil-Kijiner, Kathy. Fighting Climate Change with Poems: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, youtube.com, Dec. 3, 2015. Web, accessed Nov 27, 2016. Run time 3:56. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65nhhzhZ_x8
5. “Unit Slides: Women Poetry1—Central Idea”
MATERIALS NOT INCLUDED
1. Projector

ACTIVITY 1: Introduction (10 minutes)
We will begin with an introduction to the basic structure and purpose of poetry in relation to the unit and its themes.
1. Show Slide 1: “AAPI Women Voices: Untold Stories Through Poetry”
Explain to the students: We will begin a unit focused on poetry. Many of you may already be familiar with poetry and different types of poetry. In this unit, we will be focusing on poems by women who are Asian American and/or Pacific Islander.
2.
Slide 2: “Lesson 1: Unit Introduction & Central Idea”
This first lesson of the unit will start with an introduction to some basics about poetry and the poems in the unit. Then we’ll spend some time focusing on the topic of central idea.
3.
Basic Structure of a Poem:
Prose Structure:
Poetry Structure:
Sentence
Line
Paragraph
Stanza

Be sure to point out that in poems, lines do not necessarily have to be complete sentences. Likewise, a stanza can range from only one line to many, many more.

4.
Intro to AAPI community/identity (slides 4-5):
AAPI is short for: Asian American and Pacific Islander.
We will explore how poems are used to discuss various subjects.
Poets often explore different issues, topics, and ways of thinking.

Themes & Significance of the Unit:

Themes of internal conflict and self-discovery through personal narratives of the poets
Explore ideas of family, community history, and change
Discover how these AAPI women work through their struggles by focusing on and writing about their personal experiences
Come from diverse backgrounds and experiences and the creative work they make shows that AAPI culture and their histories are important
Using their voice to transform and add to the inclusion of AAPI culture and experiences

Explain the importance of the themes, focusing on how these authors use writing and poetry as a medium to share their experiences and to engage in self-reflection and transformative story-telling. Students should recognize the importance of poetry as a way to express oneself, tell one’s truth, and make one’s voice heard, particularly for marginalized and vulnerable communities that haven’t had such opportunities in the past.

ACTIVITY 2: Central Idea (30 minutes)
We will teach students to
Identify the central idea of the poem conveyed by the poet
Identify details from the poem that support the central idea
1. Today we will focus on two poems by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (provide a background of the poet):
Born in the Marshall Islands. Moved to Hawai’i at the age of 7. Moved back to the Marshall Islands at the age of 25
Climate activist. Addressed United Nations’ Climate Summit in 2014
Writes about nuclear testing conducted in the Marshall Islands, militarism, the rising sea level as a result of climate change, forced migration, racism in America
From 1946 to 1958, the U.S. conducted 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands. Equals 1.6 Hiroshima-size explosions per day
During WWII, in 1945, the U.S. dropped two nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

You may have to explain and facilitate a brief discussion around what a climate activist is and explain what the UN is. These explanations will help students better understand the significance and impact of Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s work. Students will likely also need definitions for militarism, forced migration, “Hiroshima-sized” explosions (see below). Point out that Kathy’s themes in writing come from her own experiences and priorities—climate activism and her home, the Marshall Islands.

a.
Militarism: “the belief that it is necessary to have strong armed forces and that they should be used in order to win political or economic advantage” (Cambridge Dictionary)
b.
Forced Migration: “a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (those displaced by conflicts within their country of origin) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects (Columbia Public Health)
c.
Hiroshima-sized explosions: razed and burned 70% of all buildings; estimated 145,000 deaths by end of 6 months; increased rates of cancer and chronic diseases among survivors; over 90% within quarter mile of where bomb was dropped died, 33% at within one mile, 10% at 1.2 miles (AtomicBombMuseum.org)
2. Explain to students that the class will watch a short video about Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner at a United Nations climate conference.
Play Fighting Climate Change with Poems: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner [Run time 03:56] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65nhhzhZ_x8).
Ask a few students to share something they learned, something they found interesting in the video
This is a good opportunity to bring up the significance of the unit again: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner said in the video that she’s using poetry as a way to fight climate change. She’s using poetry to tell the story of her homeland and share the concerns of her people with huge audiences
3. Pass out Central Idea handout & handout of “2 Degrees” to students.
4. Tell students to do the following while reading “2 Degrees”:
Highlight or underline your favorite lines
Star the lines that make you think differently about the poem’s title, “2 Degrees”
Think about what the central idea of the poem might be—circle the lines or stanzas that relate to the central idea
Pay close attention to the last stanza of the poem
Fill out the table in the Central Idea Handout
5. Have the students popcorn read the poem, stopping after each stanza to give students a chance to ask questions about unfamiliar words or phrases.
6. “2 Degrees” Central Idea Handout: Go over the first row with the class.
Pick a student to read the lines on the left in the chart and ask them what they think the lines mean.
If necessary, guide them to the key words/phrases of 2 degrees (the title of the poem as well), catastrophe, warm the world, etc. to help them arrive to an interpretation that mentions climate change and 2 degrees being the maximum/tipping point.
Lines from the Poem Your Meaning
Scientists say
if humans warm the world
more than 2 degrees
then catastrophe will hit
Example Meaning: Scientists & experts warn that if the Earth warms more than 2 degrees Celsius, many different natural disasters, such as storms, fires, rising sea levels, will happen and harm the world.
Thousands, millions displaced
left wandering
wondering
what
happened?
 
7. Give the class the remaining time for this section to finish the handout and encourage them to ask for help and ask questions if they do not understand something as their homework assignment will be similar to this classwork.
ACTIVITY 3: Review Answers for Central Idea Classwork (10 minutes)
1. Pick a couple other rows in the table to go over. Ask for volunteers to share what they wrote for their explanation of the lines. If a student’s answer is lacking a key part, either have another student help them or guide them to the correct answer (as was done for the first row).
2. Question #3: What is the central idea of the poem?
Central Idea: Climate change is a significant problem with very real consequences, especially for at-risk and less protected populations such as the people of the Marshall Islands (where the author is from).
3. Question #4: Mark the lines which support the central idea.
Examples generally related to climate change:
Stanza 5:
   “Scientists say
   if humans warm the world
   more than 2 degrees
   then catastrophe will hit”
Stanza 6:
   “Imagine North American wildfires increasing by 400%
   animal extinction rising by 30%
   fresh water declining by 20%
   thousands, millions displaced
   left wandering
   wondering
   what
   happened?”

Examples specifically related to Marshall Islands:
Stanza 7 (lines 4-9):
   “I tell him for my islands 2 degrees
   is a gamble
   at 2 degrees my islands,
   the Marshall Islands will already be under water
   this is why our leaders push
   for 1.5”
Stanza 8:
   “Seems small
   like 0.5 degrees
   shouldn’t matter
   like 0.5 degrees
   are just crumbs
   like the Marshall Island
   must look
   on a map
   just crumbs you
   dust off the table, wipe
   your hands clean”

4. Question #5: What message is Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner sending in her last stanza?
Kathy is trying to make the point that while discussions about climate change are important, it is also important and necessary to remember and think about how climate change impacts people, specifically those in the Marshall Islands.
ACTIVITY 4: Lesson 1 Homework & Lesson 2 Preview (10 minutes)
1. Hand out copies of “Tell Them” to the students. Give students a couple minutes to quietly skim over the poem on their own and note any words they might not know.
2. Spend the new few minutes with students sharing words they noted and trying to figure out what they might mean, providing definitions for words students are having trouble with
3. Tell students to do the following as they read “Tell Them” (as they did for “2 Degrees”):
Think about what the central idea of the poem might be—mark the lines or stanzas that relate to the central idea
Pay close attention to the last stanza of the poem
Fill out the table in the Central Idea Handout
4. Students are to complete the pages pertaining to “Tell Them” on the Central Idea Handout for homework.
5. Lesson 2 Preview:
Lesson 1 Central Idea Review: Reading & Practicing with “Tell Them” by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner
Simile & Metaphor:
What is a simile? What is a metaphor?
Practice identifying and understanding the meaning of similes and metaphors
Similes & Metaphors in Poetry: “Tell Them”
LESSON 2
SIMILES & METAPHORS
Suggested Time:
60 minutes
STANDARDS ADDRESSED
L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a.
Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.
RF.4.3
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
a.
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.
RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
L.5.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a.
Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.
RF.5.3
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
a.
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.
RF.5.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
a.
Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
b.
Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
MATERIALS
1. “AAPI Women Voices: Untold Stories Through Poetry” story
a.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner: “2 Degrees”
b.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner: “Tell Them”
2. Jetnil-Kijiner, Kathy. Marshall Islands Poet to the U.N. Climate Summit: “Tell Them We Are Nothing Without Our Islands.” Democracy Now!, youtube.com, Dec. 2, 2015. Web, accessed Nov. 27, 2016. Run time 4:01. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUO_qijo0us
3. “Similes & Metaphors Handout”
4. “Similes & Metaphors Handout” Answer Key
5. “Unit Slides: Women Poetry 2—Similes and Metaphors”
MATERIALS NOT INCLUDED
1. Projector

ACTIVITY 1: Lesson 1 Homework Review (10 minutes)
1. Start “Unit Slides: Women Poetry 2—Similes and Metaphors” Slides
2. Play the video Marshall Islands Poet to the U.N. Climate Summit: “Tell Them We Are Nothing Without Our Islands” [Run time 04:01] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUO_qijo0us) before going over the previous night’s homework.
3. Pick a few rows of the table on page 3 of the Central Idea Handout to go over with the class, calling on students to share what they filled in as their meaning of the lines.
4. Question #2: What is the central idea of the poem (“Tell Them”)? Ask a couple students to share their answers. Then go over the answer on the slide and discuss briefly as needed, depending on whether the students’ answers were missing any part of the answer.
Most people probably don’t know a lot about the Marshall Islands
Kathy tells her friends to tell others about the islands and the Marshallese people when asked about the gifts Kathy sent
Also wants her friends to talk about how climate change is already impacting the Marshall Islands
Important to the Marshallese people that they do not lose their home (the Marshall Islands)
5. Question #3: Write three lines or phrases which support the central idea. Ask a couple students to share their answers. Then go over the answer on the slide and discuss briefly as needed, depending on whether the students’ answers were missing any part of the answer.
Last three lines of stanza 2 and Stanza 3:
“And when others ask you
where you got this
you tell them
they’re from the Marshall Islands”
Anything from Stanza 4, especially those lines starting with “tell them..”
Anything from Stanza 5
6. Question #4: What is the significance of the last five lines (the last example on the table)? Ask a couple students to share their answer. Then go over the answer on the slide and discuss briefly as necessary, depending on whether the students’ answers were missing any part of the answer.
Explains that the Marshall Islands are central to identity of Marshallese people, culture, and way they live
Do not want to leave their home and are worried about how climate change might harm islands and ability to continue living there safely
ACTIVITY 2: Figurative Language: Introduction and Practice (20 minutes)
1. Explain to students: In this lesson, you will learn what similes and metaphors are and how to identify, create, and analyze similes and metaphors.
2. Distribute the “Similes & Metaphors Handout”
3. Literal and Figurative Language Examples:
a.
Literal language is used to mean exactly what is written:
“It was raining a lot, so I rode the bus.”
b.
Figurative language is used to mean something other than what is written; something symbolic, suggested, or implied:
“It was raining cats and dogs, so I rode the bus.”
4. Literal and Figurative Language Meaning:
a.
Literal language: “It was raining a lot, so I rode the bus.”
In this example of literal language, the writer means to explain exactly what is written: that he or she chose to ride the bus because of the heavy rain.
b.
Figurative language “It was raining cats and dogs, so I rode the bus.”
In this example of figurative language, there were not actually cats and dogs falling from rain clouds, instead, the rain felt so heavy and large that it was almost as if small animals were falling from the sky.
5. Simile and metaphor are figurative language:
Review the following examples and ask the students to explain what they mean.
  Simile Metaphor
  using "like" or "as" Not using "like" or "as"
1
Life is like a journey. Life is a journey.
2
You are like sunshine on a cloudy day. You are my sunshine on a cloudy day.
3
You are like a hurricane: there's calm in your eye, but I'm getting blown away. You are a hurricane.

  Simile
4
Her mind is as sharp as a razor.
5
For I knew his eyes like an old, old song.
6
Her long, blue skirt was like a river, flowing behind her in the breeze.
7
His hands were as cold as ice after walking home during the snow-storm.
8
My good intent has fallen short like an air ball.

  Metaphor
9
His answer to the problem was just a Band-Aid, not a solution.
10
The path of resentment is easier to travel than the road to forgiveness.
11
The teacher planted the seeds of wisdom.
12
The wheels of justice turn slowly.
6. Ask students to identify which is a simile or a metaphor. After giving students a few minutes to fill out the table, have them check their answers with their shoulder partners and then go over the answers together as a class, calling on students to share their answers.
   
Simile or Metaphor
13 He is as tall as a tree.
Simile
14 My book bag feels like a bag of rocks.
Simile
15 The snow is a white blanket.
Metaphor
16 She dances like she was trying to shake a spider off her leg.
Simile
17 He is the Michael Jordan of his basketball team.
Metaphor
7. Analyzing Similes & Metaphors:
a.
Similes and metaphors (and other figurative language) are used to compare one thing to another, showing how the two things are similar or different.
b.
Looking back at Table 4, think about what is being compared to what?
c.
Circle the two parts of the sentence that are being compared.

13 He is as tall as a tree.
14 My book bag feels like a bag of rocks.
15 The snow is a white blanket.
16 She dances like she was trying to shake a spider off her leg.
17 He is the Michael Jordan of his basketball team.
ACTIVITY 3: Figurative Language in Poetry: "Tell Them" (25 minutes)
1. Figurative language is one way that poets express themselves & create imagery. We will be identifying and analyzing similes and metaphors using "Tell Them".
Is the phrase listed a simile or metaphor?
What is being compared (the subject)?
What is that subject/thing being compared to?
What did the author mean by making this comparison?
2. Fill in the first four rows together as a class, and have students fill out the rest of the handout working in groups of 2-3.
Pick students/volunteers to fill in these rows as a class.
Help students understand the significance of the metaphors/similes for the last column, as they may be more focused on or more inclined to define the comparison itself rather than the significance of the comparison.
It may also be necessary or helpful to explain the other imagery that is invoked to celebrate the Marshallese people, their culture, and the Marshall Islands.
Give students enough time to fill out at least two more rows on their own.
Phrases from the Poem:
Simile or Metaphor
What is being compared?
To what?
What is the author trying to say with this comparison?
black pearls glinting like an eye in a storm of tight spirals
Simile
the black pearls
an eye
This is a description of the package of earrings she is preparing for her friends.
a proud people toasted dark brown as the carved ribs of a tree stump        
our islands were dropped from a basket carried by a giant        
the hallow hulls of canoes as fast as the wind        
3. Ask each group to share at least one row that they filled in. You do not need to focus so much on whether the answers are correct, but rather if the students feel comfortable identifying and analyzing figurative language and can work through the steps from identifying to breaking down to understanding the significance of how figurative language is used.
4. Anything the students do not finish—filling in the table and/or discussion questions—must be completed for homework and is due before the start of Lesson 3 the next day. They do not need to fill in the entire table with examples, but must have at least four examples of their own filled in.
ACTIVITY 4: Lesson 3 Preview (5 minutes)
1. Turn in Simile & Metaphor handout.
2. Poetic Structure:
Repetition
Alliteration
Rhyme
Form
3. Identifying and Analyzing Repetition, Alliteration, and Rhyme
4. Identifying and Analyzing Form: "Learning to Love America"
5. Poetic Structure in Action: "Tell Them"
LESSON 3
POETIC ELEMENTS: REPETITION, ALLITERATION, RHYME, AND FORM
Suggested Time:
75 minutes
STANDARDS ADDRESSED
L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
a.
Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
b.
Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
L.5.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
RF.5.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
a.
Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
b.
Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
c.
Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
RL.5.5
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
MATERIALS
1. “AAPI Women Voices: Untold Stories Through Poetry” story
a.
Janice Mirikitani: “Sing with Your Body”
b.
Shirley Geok-Lin Lim: “Learning to Love America”
2. Geok-lin Lim, Shirley. Learning to Love America. Poetry Foundation, youtube.com. August 02, 2017. Web, accessed May 23, 2018. Run time 02:41. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp9C3slA3s0&t=2s
3. “Poetic Elements”
4. “Poetic Elements” Answer Key
5. “Unit Slide Women Poetry 3 Poetic Elements”
MATERIALS NOT INCLUDED
1. Projector

ACTIVITY 1: Poetic Elements: Repetition, Alliteration, and Rhyme (25 minutes)
1. Begin the “Women Poetry 3—Poetic Elements” slideshow, pass out the Poetic Elements Handout, and have students turn in the Lesson 2 homework.
Explain to students:
Like figurative language, poets use other stylistic elements to make their work personal, unique, and more powerful.
Repetition, alliteration, rhyme, and form are examples of other elements poets may incorporate into their writing.
2. Repetition: The use of the same words or phrases to create a beat, rhythm, or develop emphasis.
“How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, in the icy air of night!”
In this example of repetition, the writer is emphasizing and bringing the audience’s attention to the tinkling of the subject [bells].
a.
Go over the first two examples in the table with the class, picking students/volunteers to identify the use of repetition.
b.
Give students about a minute to circle/underline the instances of repetition in examples 3-5. Go over the answers with the class, again picking students to share their answers.

  Repetition
1 Common sense is not so common.
2 If you think you can win, you can win.
  Identify the repetitions in the following:
3 And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.
4 I want her to live. I want her to breathe. I want her to be happy.
5 The horror! Oh, the horror!
3. Alliteration: The repetition of the first sounds of words
The blue balloon bobbed around the room with every breeze that came through the window.
a.
NOT the letters of the words that matter, but the sounds
“the crispy chicken” is NOT an example of alliteration
a.
Creates a flow through the pattern of sounds and adds to the beauty of the piece of writing
b.
Go over the first two examples with the class, picking students/volunteers to identify the alliteration in each example.
c.
Give students a couple minutes to circle/underline the alliteration in examples 8-10. Go over the answers with the class, asking students to share their answers. Pay close attention to #9 as that is purposely supposed to test the students to see that they are focusing on the sounds of the words, not spelling, when identifying alliteration.

  Alliteration
6 Mickey Mouse is one of the most popular Disney characters.
7 The instructor checked our rope and said it was not knotted well enough.
  Identify the alliteration in the following:
8 She shook the shells so hard that each broke into many pieces.
9 Tim thought his sister certainly skipped class on Monday.
10 Her description painted a pretty picture for those who didn't go on the trip.
4. Rhyme: A type of echoing which uses a correspondence of sound.
"It was quite a shock to find my sock sitting atop the rock."
This rhyme example, shock, sock, rock, shows how rhyme can be used to establish a rhythm or beat.
a.
Go over the first two examples with the class, picking students to identify the use of rhyme.
b.
Give students about a minute to circle/underline the instances of repetition in examples 13-15. Go over the answers as a class, again picking students to share their answers.

  Rhyme
11 I have measles and the mumps, a gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
12 This precious book of love, this unbound lover, to beautify him only lacks a cover.
  Identify the alliteration in the following:
13 From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.
14 True words end; lies extend.
15 Being two beings requires a rage for rigor, rewriteable memory, hybrid vigor.
ACTIVITY 2: Form & Structure (25 minutes)
1. Form and Structure: The form and structure of a poem relate to the particular pattern and organization of the poem.
a. They can be created through:
the length of the lines
the rhythm of the lines
the arrangement of stanzas, lines, and the spacing in the poem
the use of literary devices like rhyme and repetition
2. Form and Structure in "Sing with Your Body" by Janice Mirikitani:
a.
Janice Mirikitani: Provide a quick biography of Janice Mirikitani, who is featured in the original version of the AAPI Women Poetry Unit, using the facts in the slideshow.
i.
Activist & community organizer
ii.
She and her family were imprisoned in Rohwer, Arkansas concentration camp during mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II
iii.
Co-founder & President of Glide Foundation, focused on empowering poor & marginalized communities in San Francisco and helping them overcome poverty
iv.
Using “Sing with Your Body” to understand and study form and structure
b.
Explain that the class with be using this poem as an example of form and structure that is visibly unique and significant.
c.
Ask students to point out any unique qualities they see. How do these things make the poem or parts of the poem stand out? Encourage students to actively mark what they notice and write notes on the poem itself.
The next slide points out some features that students hopefully caught on their own.
d.
Point out the features on the slide with the red mark-up, particularly:
how the placement of lines creates a swaying or dancing movement in the poem;
the repetition of the line “go quickly” and it’s intentional spacing + placement;
the unique spacing style in the last few stanzas
e.
Give students 15 minutes to answer the four questions on the following page of their handout about “Sing with Your Body”.
Then have students share their answers for #2 with one of their shoulder partners.
f.
For each question, have a couple students share their answers. As much as you can, ask students to explain their answers if they do not already. These questions and the students’ answers should highlight the significance form can have on a poem and how the audience interacts with the poem.
i. What words, phrases, or lines draw your attention most? Explain.
Answers will vary.
Notice and/or ask if other elements discussed in the unit (alliteration, rhyme, repetition, simile, metaphor) influenced which lines students were drawn to.
If yes, ask students to also identify which of the five was involved in their example/answer.
Follow-up question: was it that stylistic element that caused the students to choose those lines, words, phrases or was it something else (certain words, themes, etc.) instead?
ii.
How does the organization of the poem and the pattern of the lines and verses make you feel about the poem? Do you enjoy this structure or dislike it? Explain. Answers will vary.
iii.
Imagine that Janice Mirikitani had all the lines of the poem lined up on the left side with no extra spaces between the lines. How would this structure change the impact of the poem?
Possible answer: The poem would be less effective at creating an image of dancing or creating a unique rhythm. It would make the poem lose its personality and relate less to what the poem itself is about.
iv.
Choose one example of unique form (particular spacing, line structure, punctuation, capitalization, etc.) from the poem and explain how it adds meaning to the poem.
Possible answers:
Line placement—creates swaying + a rhythm
Repetition & placement of “go quickly”—sets rhythm; puts emphasis on those lines as well as the ones that follow them and are at the opposite margin of the page
Spacing of last stanzas—creates direct focus and emphasis on her closing message
Limited punctuation—rhythm and breaks are created by line spacing and repetition instead
ACTIVITY 3: "Learning to Love America" by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (10 minutes)
1. Pass out copies of “Learning to Love America” and introduce Shirley Geok-Lin Lim as the last author whose work will be analyzed in the unit. Students will use her poem “Learning to Love America” to complete a unit review assignment that covers the different poetic elements that were discussed over the course of the unit.
2. Shirley Geok-Lin Lim:
Born in Malaysia in 1944
Wrote and published first poem at the age of ten and by the time she was eleven, she knew she wanted to be a poet
As she read more, she realized she wanted to write her own voice and that of her community rather than simply continue reading about others.
Themes revolve around questions of identity, transition, race, gender, and the complexities of relationships, reflecting and building upon her own life experiences
Memoir, Among the White Moon Faces, addresses experience of migrating to the U.S. from Asia and sense of not belonging she felt as an Asian immigrant in America
3. Play Learning to Love America by Shirley Geok-lin Lim [Run time 02:41] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp9C3slA3s0&t=2s) to preview the poem for the class. Then, return to the previous slide and, encourage students to look ahead at the poem and discussion questions and take any notes they may think necessary from the slide.
4. Students will complete the rest of the handout for homework, but should be given five minutes to skim the poem and the accompanying discussion questions so they can ask any questions they may have before they have to complete it on their own.
ACTIVITY 4: Lesson 4 Preview (5 minutes)
1. Remind students that their homework will be due at the beginning of class, and briefly preview the plan for Lesson 4:
a.
Unit Review: Central Idea, Figurative Language, Poetic Elements
b.
Unit Assignment: “Because Poem”
c.
Unit Review + Practice Worksheet
LESSON 4
UNIT REVIEW: FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE & POETIC ELEMENTS
Suggested Time:
75 minutes

STANDARDS ADDRESSED
L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a.
Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.
RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
SL.4.3
Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular point.
W.4.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.4.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

L.5.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a.
Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.
RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
W.5.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.5.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
MATERIALS
1. “Because Poem Assignment”
2. “Unit Review + Practice Handout”
3. “Unit Slides: Women Poetry 4—Unit Review”
MATERIALS NOT INCLUDED
1. Projector

ACTIVITY 1: Unit Review (5 minutes)
1. Tell students to turn in their homework from the previous lesson.
2. Remind students of the different concepts the unit covered. For each topic, call on a student to define or give an example of that concept.
a. Central Idea
b. Figurative Language - simile and metaphor
c. Poetic Elements - repetition, alliteration, rhyme, and form
ACTIVITY 2: “Unit Assignment: Because Poem” (50 minutes)
1. Begin by telling students they will be writing their own poem incorporating the concepts they’ve learned in the unit.
a. Modeled after “Learning to Love America”
b.
Pause for a moment here: Give students one minute to talk with their shoulder partner about what they remember about the unique style and organization of “Learning to Love America”, what concepts from the unit were used in the poem.
c.
While students are doing this, pass out the “Because Poem Assignment.”
d.
The students’ own poems will be focusing on repetition & figurative language
Point out the repetition and figurative language in “Learning to Love America” (image on slide) so students can see the repetition and figurative language in the poem after talking about it with their shoulder partner.
2. Tell students: You will be writing about characteristics of your family, neighborhood, culture, or identity that are unique and that you want others to learn about.
a. Have students popcorn read the description of the first two paragraphs and the bulleted list
b.
Tell students to think about what they want the central idea and subject of their poem to be.
c.
Try to give a personal example of what you might write about, but something that cannot easily be copied by students (ex: being a teacher)
3. Give students five minutes to brainstorm what the central idea and subject of their poems. Tell students to write their ideas or notes on their handout, either under #1 or on the back of the page.
4. What is the title of your poem?
a. Remember: This will be the statement/phrase to which the rest of your poem responds.
For example, Shirley Geok-Lim’s poem responds to the title of the poem “Learning to Love America”
The list of reasons that makes up the poem tells why she learned to love America
b.
Again, it might be helpful to share what you might title your poem, based on your sample poem subject.
5. Leaving the slide of “Learning to Love America” up, give the students another 10 minutes to brainstorm the subject and title of their poem. Encourage students to ask questions and check in with you about their ideas if they are feeling unsure about it.
a. Make sure every student at least has their subject chosen before moving on.
6. Students will be working on their poems in pairs to work through their ideas with one another and provide feedback to each other.
a. Pair up the students yourself for the first round of sharing & feedback. Try to pair students with those they may not often get paired up with.
b. Each person in the pair should share their poem’s subject and title (if you have a title for the poem) with your partner.
c. Each student should ask one question or give one comment on the subject or title. Write this down on your “Because Poem Assignment” along with your partner’s name.
d. Find a new partner and repeat steps 1 & 2.
If you find that students’ feedback to one another seems particularly helpful, you can have the class do a third round of switching partners and giving feedback.
Each round of partner sharing & feedback should last no longer than 5 minutes.
7. Have students return to their seats and have volunteers read the questions on the slide.
What emotions are you trying to focus on in your poem?
What parts and traits of the subject and your relation to it are you going to focus on in your poem?
What are some important events in your family or community’s history?
What traditions, activities, or practices are unique to your family, culture, or community?
a. Give students a minute to look over the comments from their partners and think about the questions on the slide.
b. Tell students: Use these questions and feedback from your classmates to decide if you want/need to change the subject and/or title of your poem.
i. You may want to give them the option to work with a partner to ask them for advice during this part.
ii. Gauge how students feel and whether they need more time to work on their subject and title in class.
8. Pass out the “Unit Review + Practice Handout” and tell students the rest of the class will be spent working on the Because Poem and the review worksheet, using it to review and practice the concepts covered in the unit.
a. Encourage the class to keep their poem assignment in mind while completing the worksheet since the practice prompts from the worksheet will help create some of the figurative language that can be used in their poems.
b. Go around the class and check-in with students about any questions or concerns they might have about writing their poem, particularly those who were thinking of changing the subject or title of their poem.
c. Tell students that anything they do not finish in class must be finished for homework.
9. Go over the first example on the handout with the class:
a. Using the subject of “homework”, description of “easy”, and comparison of “two+two”, an example of a sentence you might come up with is:
Finishing the reading homework for history was as easy as solving two + two.
b. If there is time towards the end of class, ask a couple students to share their sentences, identifying the subject, description, comparison, and whether it was a metaphor or simile.
ACTIVITY 3: "Lesson 5 Preview" (5 minutes)
1. Direct students to the second page of the “Because Poem Assignment” to go over the requirements and expectations for the poem:
a.
Poem has a clear central idea or subject
b.
Poem is at least 10 “Because” lines long.
Explain to students that not every line has to begin with “Because” and that lines can be as short as one word long (there should be reasoning behind this though)
c.
Contains at least one simile and one metaphor
d.
Contains at least one example of alliteration or rhyme
e.
Contains at least two examples of form
Explain that this will be part of Lesson 5’s Revision process
f.
Grading will also take into account the grammar, spelling, and proper punctuation throughout the poem.
g.
Does not have to be typed, but must be written neatly and clearly.
2. Bring a rough draft of your Because Poem to class tomorrow.
a. You will need this for Lesson 5 classwork
b. Does not need to be typed, but must be written as a poem → just filling out the worksheet does not count
3. Lesson 5: Unit Wrap-Up
a.
Poem revisions and presentations (extra credit)
Explain that presentation would consist of reading their poem and briefly (in one or two sentences) identifying one poetic element and explaining its significance to the poem
Ask who would be interested in reading their poem in front of the class so you have a rough estimate of how much time to allot for that section of the class.
Make sure students know that raising their hands not does not mean that they must read their poem or that if they do not, they won’t be allowed to present—it’s merely to get an estimate.
b.
Unit Evaluation—class discussion
LESSON 5
UNIT REFLECTION
Suggested Time:
60 minutes
STANDARDS ADDRESSED
L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a.
Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.
RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
W.4.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.4.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

L.5.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
a.
Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.
W.5.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
W.5.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
MATERIALS
1. “Because Poem Assignment” Rough Drafts
2. “Unit Evaluation” Handout
3. “Unit Slides: Women Poetry 5-Unit Reflection”
MATERIALS NOT INCLUDED
1. Projector
ACTIVITY 1: “Lesson 5 Structure”(5 minutes)
1. Briefly share with the class what the last lesson with consist of.
a.
Poem Revisions
i.
Using form in your poem
ii.
Peer revisions
iii.
Writing your final draft
b.
Poem Presentations
c.
Unit Evaluation
i.
“Unit Evaluation Handout”
ii.
Class Share-Out
2. Before leaving the preview slide (slide 2), ask/pick students to review what form is.
ACTIVITY 2: “Revising with Form” (40 minutes)
1. Quickly review the definition and use of form with the students:
a.
Relates to particular pattern & organization of the poem
b.
Can be created through:
i.
the length of the lines
ii.
the rhythm of the lines
iii.
the arrangement of stanzas, lines, and spacing in the poem
iv.
the use of literary devices like rhyme and repetition
c.
Why? → put emphasis on certain parts, create movement in your poem, add emotion (fun, drama, etc.) to your poem
Think back to Janice Mirikitani’s “Sing with Your Body”
2. Pair students up to work on their revisions, and tell them to answer the following questions in their pairs. They do not need to write down the answer to turn it, but can write it for their notes if they’d like.
a.
What emotion do you want your poem to have? How does your poem make you feel?
b.
What lines or stanzas do you want to get the most attention or emphasis?
3. Now students will revise their poems to incorporate form. Tell students that an easy way to think about adding form to their poems, is to think about it as illustrating the answers they just shared through their poem. Again, think back to “Sing with Your Body”.
a. Ways to create a form, include changing:
i.
the length of the lines
ii.
the rhythm of the lines
iii.
the arrangement of the stanzas, lines, and spacing in the poem
iv.
use of capitalization, punctuation, etc.
v.
the use of literary devices like rhyme and repetition

How can you use form (and the specific techniques listed above) to add or subtract emotions or emphasis from certain lines and stanzas?

4. Students will now need to rewrite their poems with at least two examples of form incorporated. Give students 15 minutes to do this.
a.
Encourage students to ask questions and actively check on students/pairs across the room.
b.
Make sure it is clear to students that they only need to incorporate examples of form, not necessarily all that were listed on the previous slide.
5. Have each student should share their new draft with their partner.
a.
As partner 1 shares their poem, the partner 2 should be thinking about whether the form matches the answers partner 1 shared earlier.
b.
If it does, great! If not, the pair should discuss what is missing and the partner 2 should give suggestions on how partner 1 can add that!
c.
Partner 2 should also give general feedback or other suggestions they might have relating to other poetic elements covered in the unit (metaphors, similes, alliteration, rhyme, repetition)
d.
Allow about 10 minutes for this activity. Tell students at the halfway point that they should be switching roles to keep the activity on track.
6. Now students will write the final draft of their poem, incorporating all the suggestions, comments, and past revisions into account.
a.
The students have been making many revisions, so this should not take long. Depending on whether many students are planning to present, you can shorten or lengthen the time allocated for this part.
b.
Depending on whether working in pairs has been helpful for the students, you could allow them to talk to their partners during this process as they incorporate each other’s feedback.
7. Have students who are not presenting their poem (optional/extra credit) turn in their poem. Those who are presenting would turn it in after their presentation.
ACTIVITY 3: “Poem Presentation” (Optional)
1. Remind students that presenting consists of reading their poem and identifying one poetic element and explaining its significance to the poem.
2. Have students who want to present go one at a time, and thank each student for sharing their poem with the class at the end of their presentation.
ACTIVITY 4: “Unit Evaluation” (5+ minutes)
1. Hand out the “Unit Evaluation Handout”, and give students no more than 10 minutes to fill it out.
a.
This will not be graded, but is rather for your use to evaluate the unit.
2. Use any leftover time to have students share out their answers. Pick and choose which question you would like the class to discuss.
3. Thank the students for their cooperation and effort over the course of the unit. Be sure to commend them for writing, revising, and sharing—whether with their partners or the entire class—a poem, as this is a very difficult thing for many people, even many writers, to do.
WORKS CITED
Geok-lin Lim, Shirley. Learning to Love America. Poetry Foundation, youtube.com. August 02, 2017. Web, accessed May 23, 2018. Run time 02:41. Source
Jetnil-Kijiner, Kathy. Fighting Climate Change with Poems: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, youtube.com, Dec. 3, 2015. Web, accessed Nov 27, 2016. Run time 3:56. Source
Jetnil-Kijiner, Kathy. Marshall Islands Poet to the U.N. Climate Summit: “Tell Them We Are Nothing Without Our Islands.” Democracy Now!, youtube.com, Dec. 2, 2015. Web, accessed Nov. 27, 2016. Run time 4:01. Source
Roberto, Megan, and Pat Kwoh. AAPI Women Voices: Untold Stories Through Poetry. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. Web. Source
Sutter, John D. “You're Making This Island Disappear.” CNN, Cable News Network, June 2015. Web, accessed April 29, 2018. Source
Curriculum Developer:
Prabhneek Heer
Unit Plan: AAPI Women Voices: Untold Stories Through Poetry>
Untold Civil Rights Stories Main Page >
Curriculum Contributors:
Pat Kwoh
 

 

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