Remember the last time you assigned a book report and you got 273 book reports with the exact words: “I read ________. I liked some parts. I didn’t like some parts. Here is my book report” in the introduction followed by a paragraph of generalities copied and pasted from the Internet?
Or how about the last time you assigned students to read a poem and the discussion centered on whether or not poems need to rhyme followed by you counting down the seconds until lunch so you could cuddle with your teddy bear and suck your thumb for a half hour while calculating the days until retirement?
That may or may not have happened to me my first semester teaching high school.
The Solution: A Poetry Evaluation Handout and Book Report
I have a solution. It’s called a book report for poetry. I’ll save you the trouble of reading this entire post (I know you’re busy because we’re all busy at the start of the school year) and let you download the handout right here: Poetry Evaluation Handout and Rubric.
The lesson procedures are pretty simple. I’ve had better success assigning this at the end of a poetry unit—my entire poetry unit is there on the right (coming soon). Most of the poetry evaluations I assign come from that list of poems. If students are enthusiastic about a poem not on the list that’s not off some teenage cheeseball poetry website, that’s usually permitted as well.
- Hand out the aforementioned poetry evaluation handout.
- Instruct students to choose a poem from the unit.
- Answer the questions thoroughly.
- Discuss student answers. Even though the poems are different, students gain insight on what constitutes a good answer from the class discussion.
- Go over the poetry evaluation rubric.
- Write the evaluation.
You can obviously shape the lesson to cover numerous reading and writing standards. Here are the most obvious ones. Even the most pedantic of administrators will be satisfied.
- RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- Common Core Writing Standard 1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- Common Core Writing Standard 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
- W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in W.9-10.1-3.)
- W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of L.9-10.1-3.)