“I” Poems Main Points & Thinking Questions

  • Having students write in first person allows them to find their own voice and express themselves and also deepen their understanding of literature. 
  • The narrator becomes a person, place, or object that speaks directly to the audience. When writing these poems, students are put in place of their object, thinking about their feelings and thoughts and how they’d be expressed.
  • Composing allows students to go back and rethink things they may have missed the first time. Students will (hopefully) think about things in a deeper way when they think about events/characters/themes from the perspective of something other than the original presenter in the text. 
  • “Students understand and remember ideas better when they have to transform those ideas from one form to another.” (Pg 519) 
  • Pre-Reading: Get students thinking about setting or background of the text by writing from those perspectives. In the author’s case study, students saw Sarah’s (From Sarah, Plain and Tall)  sense of dislocation (she moves from the coast of Maine to the plains of Kentucky)  more clearly by writing the “I” poems.
  • Post Reading: Students responded to a novel written entirely in poems by writing the same type of “I poems” found in Out of the Dust.  They learned how to express things about themselves in the way that the narrator does in her poems. 
  • Students can write from the perspective of objects witnessing important events or hearing the thoughts of a character. They can put together perspectives or ideas that wouldn’t usually interact because they’re from the mind of a character. 

 

Thinking Questions

  • How can students use this strategy during reading a text instead of just before and after?
  • How will students respond or learn from each others’ work? Would they benefit from peer reviewing/editing if the aim is simply for each student to explore the text more deeply and discover their own “voice” for writing?
  • How could students use this strategy to make predictions during pre-reading or about the events that follow the end of the text (what happens to the characters/situation after the author closes the book?)

 

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Teaching for Understanding

What does it mean to be literate in your discipline?

Maggie

RE4620

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