Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Using the poem "Lincoln Walks at Midnight," students will understand that the poet depicts the ghost of Lincoln pacing the streets of Springfield, Illinois (his hometown) tormented by the dreadful slaughter of war.
Using the poem, students will identify how figurative language, vocabulary and imagery affect the mood and tone of the piece.
Using the poem, students will be able to visualize the events and symbols that formed Lincoln's burdens.
Using the poem, students will be able to write a position paper using textual evidence to support their claim about Lincoln in the poem.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Understand what a poem is and how it is written
- Be familiar with who Abraham Lincoln was, the time period he lived in, and what he stood for: Lincoln's Bio
- Be familiar with working in groups
- Understand the use of figurative language, vocabulary and historical connotations to form images and enhance understanding of the main ideas presented in a poem.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- What does the title of the poem tell you?
- How does the use of vocabulary in the poem construct an image of sadness? Give examples.
- How do the words in stanza 3: "lank", "top hat", and "prairie-lawyer" help you to identify Lincoln in the poem?
- In stanza 4, how do you know that people nowadays are still tormented by the worries of the world around them?
- Explain the phrase, "The sins of war-lords burn his heart."
- Who do you believe will "bring white peace...That he may sleep upon his hill again?" Why?
- How does the use of historical vocabulary add to the content of the poem? How does it make the poem more intense?
- (See attached handout for more Guiding Questions)
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
The "Hook" and Activation of Prior Knowledge
- Teachers will use a picture of Lincoln to activate prior knowledge regarding Lincoln and the Civil War. (Teachers may view many pictures of Lincoln in various formats at this website.) The teacher will place a picture of Lincoln on the board in a graphic (spider web/mind map) in order to elicit what the students know about the man (his complete name, where he was from, his background, when he lived, the time period, how he died, his contributions to our country and why he is so revered). See notes under formative assessment [NOTE: The spider web graphic organizer is found at http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt resource available for free to all teachers.]
Introducing/Modeling the Concept or Skill
1. The teacher will introduce the concept of how to understand poetry by following six steps with the graphic organizer "Reading & Understanding Poetry." The teacher will share the student copy of the graphic organizer with students and discuss each part as students take notes to understand the questions/concepts presented.
2. The teacher will discuss the Mood and Tone document with students so that they have a clear understanding of what those words infer. The teacher will use the examples in the document to demonstrate how mood and tone are used to help students understand the poem's message, how a poem makes the reader feel and the visuals that are created.
3. Because this poem uses archaic language that students will not be familiar with, the teacher will need to model the vocabulary activity before the students read the poem independently. The teacher may read the poem aloud or use the link to play the audio version of the poem. The teacher will then model the use of the "Four Corners" vocabulary activity using only the first stanza of the poem. (See attachment: Four Corners First Stanza). Students will then begin reading the poem using their graphic organizers and work with a partner to identify and define unfamiliar words using each other, context and dictionaries as resources.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
1. The teacher will divide class into heterogeneous groups of high and low-performing students. The teacher will introduce the poem "Lincoln Walks at Midnight" and give each student of the previously identified groups a copy of the poem. Teacher will read the poem aloud or opt for the audio version to share with students. Teacher will model the use of the "Four Corners" vocabulary graphic organizer so that students can use it for unknown words found in the poem. Students will proceed to read the poem in their groups, first, by themselves, then, as a group. Students will refer to their "Reading & Understanding Poetry" document to assist them with the comprehension of the first stanza. The teacher will then model the reading of the first stanza using the Reading Understanding Poetry Teacher Copy in order to model a "think-aloud" for students to have a clear idea of the steps they are expected to follow when working with their groups to analyze the poem's stanzas. The Reading & Understanding Poetry-Teacher document walks the teacher through the questions and answers needed for the think-aloud of the first stanza. The teacher will also show the students the Sensory Details Chart that they may use to assist with comprehension. The Sensory Details Chart is a scaffold to support students in identifying the sense(s) used in the poem to understand the mood and tone of the piece as well as the images created by the poet.
2. The teacher will ask each small group to continue reading the poem. The students will take marginal notes in their groups and discuss their findings within their groups. Students will use their Reading & Understanding Poetry document and the Sensory Details Chart to make their notes.
3. The teacher will then give a whole group final oral reading/presentation of the poem or opt for the audio link. Teacher and students will share their thoughts and findings and clarify vocabulary and references in order to fully comprehend the poem and its message. The teacher will share the Presentation Rubric with students before students return to work in their small groups.
4. Students will return to their small groups to create a visual for the poem. Students will discuss and comment with teacher guidance. Students in each group will then share their visuals with the entire class and teacher will post them in the front of the class. Discussion and feedback is encouraged.
5. Students will complete a "Reading Response Journal" after class discussion to reflect on Lincoln as a man and a leader, and how they can relate to his burden or work using teacher-selected guiding questions in the Guiding Questions document.
6. The teacher will circulate during this instructional phase in order to facilitate instruction and provide oral and/or written feedback to students as they work. Feedback may be given through spot checking as a comprehension check and to keep students on task.
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
1. Students, in heterogeneous groups of a total of 4-5 high and low-performing students will be provided with a copy of the poem in order to take marginal notes and answer questions. Students will be provided with a "Four Corners for Vocabulary" graphic organizer and teacher will assign vocabulary as highlighted on the Teacher Copy of the poem to individual students to complete in their Reading Response Notebooks.
2. Students will be required to reread the poem independently and may discuss their "Four Corners" with others in their groups in order to clarify and comprehend the concepts presented. The teacher should only assign a few words at a time in order to ensure an understanding of the word and communication among students and teacher.
3. Students will complete a web/mind map with their teacher and peers, and will write to reflect on Lincoln as a man and a leader and how they can relate to his burden or work in their "Reading Response" notebooks using the guiding questions.
4. Students will illustrate the concepts presented in "Lincoln Walks at Midnight" and share their illustrations with their teacher and peers using the Presentation Rubric as their guide.
5. Students will work in small groups to read, discuss, make personal connections and write a position paper with the assistance of both the teacher and their peers.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
The teacher will lead a final oral discussion regarding how to read and understand poetry, poetic language, and their final thoughts on the image painted of Abraham Lincoln and why.
- What kind of image does the poet create when describing Abraham Lincoln? Cite evidence from the poem to support your point of view.
- Because students are familiar with the peer-editing model and teacher-provided rubric from the previous lesson in this unit, "Fantastic Fable for Teamwork", students will work in their identified small groups and give and receive feedback from teacher and peers regarding their position papers by using the peer-editing model and the teacher-provided rubric.
- Students will then rewrite their papers based on this feedback. Teacher will then provide feedback to students via the Position Paper Rubric with a final grade.
- Teacher may identify students to share their papers orally with the class.
- Please see materials to support the Summative Assessment. Specifically, How to Write a Position Paper, Position Paper Rubric, Editing Checklist.
- Teacher will introduce who Lincoln was as well as his work and era by using a web/mind map to activate prior knowledge and to facilitate discussion. Teacher may elicit student responses to the following questions: Who was Lincoln? What was special about his presidency? What professional/personal burdens did he carry on his shoulders? What was his original profession? What do you imagine was on his mind during and after the Civil War? What emotion does Lincoln's face reflect? Sadness? Weariness? If students have no or limited background knowledge, teacher will need to use the link from the Lesson Content section to assist students by front loading the information.
- Students will read the poem and take marginal notes in order to answer questions regarding imagery and vocabulary for understanding and inference.The teacher will model this activity to ensure that students understand the expectations and requirements. The teacher will monitor comprehension of the activity by interacting with small groups and by asking questions. The teacher may use the Presentation Rubric to ensure that all members of small groups are on task and are participating.
- Students will work in small heterogeneous groups to work on activities to understand the poem and share their findings in a whole-group session. The teacher will monitor comprehension of the activity by interacting with small groups and by asking questions. The teacher may use the Presentation Rubric to ensure that all members of small groups are on task and are participating.
- Students will work on highlighted vocabulary on the Teacher Copy of the poem with the assistance of a Four Corners graphic organizer in their Reading Response journals.The teacher will model this activity using the attachment Four Corners First Stanza so that students are familiar with understanding the meaning of the archaic language found in the poem.
- Students will answer Guiding Questions in their Reading Response journals.The Guiding Questions attachment supplies possible answers to those questions for teachers to use as a guide.
- Students will work in small heterogeneous groups to complete an illustration using the Presentation Rubric and to share those illustrations in a whole-group setting. The teacher will monitor comprehension of the activity by interacting with small groups and by asking questions. The teacher may use the Presentation Rubric to ensure that all members of small groups are on task and are participating.
Feedback to Students
- Teacher will use "Think-Alouds" and complete the Lincoln "web" on board with the assistance of students.
- Teacher will check illustrations of poem to check for comprehension. Teacher will give feedback on illustrations presented during small and whole group activities using the Presentation Rubric. Teacher will model and facilitate discussion in small groups by asking questions to initiate and clarify discussion regarding the symbols, images and concepts described in the poem. The teacher can use the Teacher Copy of the poem and the Guiding Questions document to assist with the discussion.
- Teacher will give written feedback in Reading Response journals to address the comprehension of guiding questions as well as vocabulary to be understood with the "Four Corners" graphic organizer. The teacher can choose a few journals daily to review while students work on guiding questions and vocabulary.