Credit: Courtesy of American Memory at the Library of Congress.
Emily Dickinson's poetry often reveals a child-like fascination with the natural world. She writes perceptively of butterflies, birds, and bats and uses lucid metaphors to describe the sky and the sea. This wonderful balance between imagination and observation is, in many ways, what makes Dickinson's verse so perfect for children and the perfect hook for a life-long appreciation of poetry.
In this lesson, students will read and explore one of Dickinson's nature poems, "A Bird came down the Walk—" through interaction with other art forms. First, they will listen to clips of a hymn to help them hear Dickinson's meter. Then, they will view 19th-century bird images and describe what they see, just as a poet would, and they will observe how a poet plays with language and imagery to create a scene by acting out verse lines. Finally, they will write a brief poem of their own using what they have learned and their own observations.
In this lesson, students will:
Ask students to submit a portfolio of their work from this lesson, including their two web clusters, Write a Poem! handout, and completed poem. Assess them based on the rubric below, granting point values as preferred.
1-2 class periods