This lesson was designed to prepare for the visit of Patrick Rosal and Evie Shockley in CAPE high school. I felt like these students could use these themes to write beyond their current state.
Funds of Knowledge Freewrite (10 mins)
Students write using the following prompt:
The first words we spoke
Students read and discuss:
How do we learn language? Who teaches us? Who do we teach?
Poem Annotation Description (20 mins)
Introduce poetry as its own language and annotate the following poems:
Patrick Rosal’s “Children Walk on Chairs to Cross a Flooded Schoolyard”
Evie Shockley’s “from The Lost Letters of Frederick Douglass”
Students underline lines they understand and circle lines they are curious about. Students write the message they receive from these poems on the right-hand side of each poem and discuss how they connect with another.
Group Discussion (10 mins)
Discuss each poem’s individual message and introduce literary devices used to write poetry. Discuss how poems connect one to another.
Individual Writing (15 mins)
Prompt: Write a poem that takes the form of a letter. Be sure to address the “you” in the poem to the younger/older version of yourself. Use the literary devices from the discussion to make your letter take the shape of a poem.
You can begin your poem using the following prompts:
• Dear younger self,
• Dear future me,
Sharing (5 mins)
Students are invited to share their writings with the class (optional).