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Reading/Writing
Grade: Senior

#3956. Evaluating War Poetry with a Blog Response

Reading/Writing, level: Senior
Posted Mon Mar 26 16:34:47 PST 2007 by Abby Stewart (aes005@shsu.edu).
Houston, Texas
Materials Required: Copies of the poems and access to computers
Activity Time: 2 weeks
Concepts Taught: Reading and comprehending poetry, writing in different voices and forms

War Poetry and Blog Response
This unit is designed to give students an introduction into war literature, in this case poetry. Since war literature is so emotive students will be asked to respond to each piece and will be encouraged to write in different formats, free writing, a poem response, perhaps a letter, news report or short story as well. This encourages the student to utilize their own free thought and make a personal analysis of the work. Instead of doing this in a pen and paper format students will keep personal blogs on a free server. This lets students easily respond to the works and self publish their thoughts online, something important and special for them. It encourages students to write for an audience. Also it enables a collaborative environment where students can give and receive feedback with the "comment" option.

A lesson plan for Grades 9--12 English Language Arts and English Language Development
Learning outcomes
Students will:
• Read and comprehend different poetic themes and stylistic elements in poetry as well as the works themselves
• Be able to write a reader response based on their own opinions and free thought in different literary forms
• Become immersed in technology
• Have the ability to publish their thoughts and response works online to an actual audience and obtain peer feedback

Teacher planning
Time required for lesson
2 weeks
Materials/resources
Copies of the following poems for the class:
• "O Captain! My Captain!" Walt Whitman
• "Strange Meeting" Wilfred Owen
• "Dulce et Decorum est" Wilfred Owen
• "Glory of Women" Siegfriend Sassoon
• "The Charge of the Light Brigade" Alfred Lord Tennyson
• "Flander's Fields" Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
• Assorted poems from "I Never Saw Another Butterfly"
Technology resources
Access to a computer for blog exercises

Pre-activities
• Teacher introduces the "blog" format. A free server must be chosen (blogger.com, livejournal.com, bravenet.com, freeopendiary.com) and the students must register for an account in the computer lab or at home.
• Teacher asks students to relate popular culture and literature to the wars today so that students may connect with what the writers were doing then.
• Teacher gives mini-lecture about the background of war literature and small biographies of the authors covered before reading their poems.
Activities
1. Teacher and students read the chosen poems.
2. Teacher will point out critical terms, historical context and poetic forms that apply to the piece.
3. After each poem or pair of similar poems the teacher will facilitate a classroom discussion asking for opinions and thoughts on the piece. (7-10 minutes)
4. Students will then either proceed to the computer lab the following class, or current class, and write a response to the piece. Alternatively, if enough students have home computers, the blog response could be done for homework.

Assessment
• Teacher should include in assessment the in class discussion
• Teacher should take into consideration the depth of student responses, personal free thought, as well as the utilization of different writing forms when assessing the student' understanding in their blogs.
• Also students need to supply peer review

Related websites
http://www.lulu.com/content/121091
http://www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/TL/2003/02/blogs.php
http://www.weblogg-ed.com

Modifications
• Instead of each student having a blog the teacher could run one blog and post each poem. In the comment section of the blog students could post their works. This doesn't give the same personal feel, but it might be easier for some people to keep it all in one place.

Alternative assessments
• Give ESL students an option of writing in whatever format is easiest for them, do not force them to try poetry if they feel they aren't capable of it.

Comments
This lesson plan is upper level college student developed. It is intended to immerse students in the progressive technology of tomorrow by assessing the writing of the past. Students should be motivated positively to take care of their personal space on the web and also have a collective area for their work so papers don't get lost so often. In addition to the technology aspect students will gain an understanding of literature, peer editing, self publishing for an audience and writing in different forms and voices.