By the end of this lesson students will be able to identify how words and phrases in a poem evoke an emotion or help the reader imagine how something looks, feels, smells, sounds, or tastes.
“I can identify how words and phrases in a poem evoke a feeling or help the reader imagine how something looks, feels, smells, sounds, or tastes.”
Reading Standards (Literature)
RL 3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
RL 3.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
RL 3.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
RL 4.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
RL 4.4: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
RL 4.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
RL 5.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
RL 5.10: By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Speaking & Listening
SL 3.1a: Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
SL 3.1b: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
SL 3.1c: Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
SL 3.1d: Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
SL 3.6: Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
SL 4.1a: Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
SL 4.1b: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
SL 4.1c: Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.
SL 4.1d: Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
SL 4.6: Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
SL 5.1a: Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
SL 5.1b: Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.
SL 5.1c: Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.
SL 5.1d: Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions.
SL 5.6: Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
Reading Standards (Literature)
RL 3.5: Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
RL 3.6: Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.
RL 4.5: Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.
RL 5.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
RL 5.5: Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
RL 5.6: Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.
-Laptop or Tablet
Audio Recordings of Poetry
Unit 5 includes the following Life & Learning Skills:
-Critical and analytic thinking
Differentiation Options will appear throughout the unit to suggest ways to scaffold or challenge student learning. Use the number of helping hands to select the level of differentiation that best supports student learning.
Highest level of scaffolding. Select this option if students are learning strategies for the first time, if the text is challenging for them, or if students require more guidance during activities. Part 1 lessons are written for the highest level of scaffolding.
Moderate scaffolding. Select this option if students require some support comprehending the text or navigating the activity.
Least amount of scaffolding/Extending the instruction. Select this option if students are ready to work more independently, move more quickly through the material, or are ready for additional challenge.
Key instructional steps where the arts are used to leverage literacy-learning (and vice versa) are marked with . Smaller leveraging moments also occur throughout the lessons.
Process: Give an overview of the lesson objectives: Read and discuss a new poem and use the mirror dance to explore words and phrases in the poem.
ELL Support: Comprehensible Input
Support ELL language development and comprehension by starting with a short vocabulary lesson using Vocabulary Snapshots to provide multi-sensory pre-learning for words that may be unfamiliar to culturally diverse students. Click here
for a sample lesson plan.
Recommended vocabulary from "clothesline" to pre-teach with Vocabulary Snapshots:
- Clothesline - Orange towel -
- Pinned - Breeze -
- Puff up - Wind (lift) -
- Horizontal -
Sample Visual Icons
See Unit 5 Texts, pages 14-16
(students) and this resource page
(teachers) for Vocabulary Snapshot activities for "clothesline" using these visual icons and more.
"Today we are going to read a new poem and then use the mirror dance and all the dance concepts we have learned to explore the poem."
"By the end of today's lesson, you will be able to say, 'I can identify how words and phrases in a poem evoke a feeling or help the reader imagine how something looks, feels, smells, sounds, or tastes'."
Introduce the next poem, "clothesline," by engaging students in a discussion about the topic of the poem. Show images of the topic and vocabulary as needed from this resource page
Introducing the "clothesline" Poem
"The poem we will read today is 'clothesline' by Ralph Fletcher. It comes from a book of poems called Ordinary Things. What does it mean for something to be ordinary? (Students respond.) Fletcher wanted to help his readers notice things that they often just pass by, like clotheslines, telephone poles, and rocks. What is a clothesline? What does it look like? Has anyone ever seen clothes hung on a clothesline? (Students respond.) A clothesline is a rope or cord hung between two poles or buildings on which clean laundry is hung to dry." (Show image from this resource page
Read "clothesline," by Ralph Fletcher. Have students follow along in their Unit 5 Texts on page 17
. Read the poem aloud several times.
Help students become more aware of and sensitive to the choices poets make by facilitating a discussion on the words and phrases in the poem. Ask the following questions:
-What word or phrase stood out for you?
-Did it give you an image, or a feeling, or did it make you think of an experience you've had? Tell us about it.
-Did anyone else have a response to this word or phrase?
-(Ask only when appropriate.) Why do you think the poet chose this word or phrase?
List words and phrases on the Words in Motion Wall either during or after discussion.
Teaching Tip: Poetry Recordings
This unit contains audio recordings of a male and a female reading each poem in Unit 5. In this lesson you may want to play the recordings of "clothesline" (Unit 5, Track 21 & Track 23) instead of reading them each time yourself.
"Open your Unit 5 Texts to page 17 to the poem "clothesline," by Ralph Fletcher. We'll read the poem aloud several times. The first time, just listen to the poem." (Read poem.)
"The second time, close your eyes and see what kind of feelings or images come into your mind." (Read poem again.)
"The third time, follow along in your text as I read. Notice words and phrases that stand out because they evoke a visual image, a strong feeling, an idea, or make you think of an experience you've had." (Read poem again.)
"As word explorers, we're paying attention to the words and phrases poets use. Let's look at Ralph Fletcher's choices. Pair-share with a partner a word or phrase that stood out for you. You will probably have different responses to the poem, and that's okay." (Students pair-share.)
"Let's share with the whole group. What word or phrase stood out for you?" (Students may respond "puff up with sudden bodies," "orange towel," "vanish," "screw up the nerve.")
"Did it give you an image, or a feeling, or did it make you think of an experience you've had? Tell us about it." (Student may respond "It made me think of when I walk over subway grates and my shirt fills up with air.")
"Did anyone else have a response to this word or phrase?" (1-2 students respond and give examples.)
"Why do you think the poet chose this word or phrase?" (1-2 students respond.)
Continue discussion with responses to other words and phrases in the poem.
Process: Transition to dance and move desks. Designate an area where students can easily access their A4L Student Notebooks and a pen or pencil.
Engaging in Mirror Dances
"Next we'll engage in mirror dances to help us explore the words and phrases in this poem."
"When I say 'Go,' move the desks and put your A4L Student Notebooks and Unit 5 Texts in the designated area. Then, find an empty space in the room for our BrainDance warm-up. Go."
Lead the students in the BrainDance of Words #2 The audio track for BrainDance of Words #2 has verbal cues
and musical accompaniment for the BrainDance. If desired, instead of using the audio track, use the verbal cues below (in suggested dialogue) to guide students through the BrainDance. This can be facilitated as a generic BrainDance without descriptive words, with descriptive words, with or without music.
Warming Up with BrainDance
"We'll start by warming up our bodies and brains with the BrainDance. You'll probably notice this BrainDance has words and phrases from "clothesline." Read More...
Breath: Breathe peacefully.
Tactile: Tap your head, your arms, your fronts, your backs, your legs, and your feet as if your fingers are the quivering wings of a dragonfly.
Core-distal: Puff yourself up with air as you grow into a large shape. Shrink into a shape so small you almost vanish.
Head-tail: Wave your backbone forwards and backwards and from side to side.
Upper half: Freeze the lower half of your body. With the top half of your body, move frantically.
Lower half: Freeze the top half of your body. With the lower half of your body, stay in one spot and use your legs to blur with speed.
Body-half right: Freeze the left side of your body. With the right side, move like you are flying.
Body-half left: Freeze the right side of your body. With the left side, flicker.
Eye-tracking: Follow your right thumb with your eyes. Skim from side to side. Follow your left thumb with your eyes. Skim from side to side.
Cross-lateral: Excitedly reach your arms across the front of your body on different levels.
Vestibular: Spin and then pounce into a shape. Twirl and then pounce into a shape.
Breath: Breathe peacefully."
Process: Review the guidelines for successful mirror dancing. Guide students in the mirror dance, using words and phrases from "clothesline." By having students pair up and mirror different ways to communicate the words and phrases from the poem, you are helping them gain a deeper understanding of the words and phrases and clarify the meaning. Use "Dakota Dawn," by Eric Chappelle (Unit 5, Track 7). This music selection supports slow, thoughtful movement while working in pairs.
Cue partner A to lead first, read words and phrases aloud, and then play the music for them to mirror. Stop the music and ask students to freeze in a shape. Cue partner B to lead and then say the next word or phrase and begin the music. After each round, students pair-share about their movement choices. See the menu below, Cues for "clothesline" Mirror Dance for suggestions.
Timing for "clothesline" mirror dances is 10 minutes.
Mirror--a partner skill in which one person leads by performing movement, and the other person simultaneously imitates the leader's movement using opposite orientation (as if looking in a mirror).
Connecting Literacy & Art
Mirroring is a skill for dance making and interpreting words. The leaders have an opportunity to see the movements they initiate. They also observe and do the movements that are created by their partners. They give each other feedback, describing their observations of the movements, and discuss how the movement choices show their understanding of the words.
Teaching Tip: Cues for "clothesline" Mirror Dance
The following are suggested breaks in the poem for the mirror dance. Students pair-share after each round. Feel free to break up the poem in other ways.
Partner A leads:
There's an orange towel and
two white t-shirts pinned
at the waist
Partner B leads:
all trying to
dry themselves in the
Partner A leads:
Filled with air the two t-shirts
puff up with sudden bodies
real and muscular which
Partner B leads:
vanish when the wind
Partner A leads:
The wind lifts the towel until
Partner B leads:
it lies horizontal as if trying
Partner A leads:
to screw up the nerve
Partner B leads:
to let go and
Exploring Words and Phrases from "clothesline"
"We are going to use the dance skill mirror to explore words and phrases from 'clothesline.' First, let's review the guidelines for mirror dancing:
-The leader moves slowly so that the follower can do exactly the same movements at exactly the same time as the leader.
-When you are leading, make sure that your partner can see your movements. If the movements are behind your back, the follower can't see them. Followers can see and copy movements in front of, above, or beside you.
-The dancers do not touch.
-The dancers do not talk; they communicate with movements, not words.
-The dance is done mostly by moving in place.
-The dancers use many different levels.
-Smooth energy is easier for a partner to follow.
If you need to use sharp energy to communicate your idea, repeat each movement several times. I'm going to assign you a mirror dance partner. Move to stand with your partner. (Assign partners.) I'll read the first phrase, and partner A will begin and partner B will follow. "There's an orange towel and two white t-shirts pinned at the waist." (Play music. Students mirror. After about 30 seconds, stop the music.) Freeze in a shape. (Students freeze.)
Now partner B will lead. Here is your phrase: "all trying to dry themselves in the breeze." (Play music. Students mirror. After about 30 seconds, stop the music.) Freeze in a shape. (Students freeze.)
Let's reflect with a pair-share. How did your movements explain the word choices? Did you use smooth or sharp energy? Why? What levels did you use? Why? What parts of your body did you use, or did you use your whole body? Why? What movements did you use? Why?" (Students pair-share.)
Repeat process with different words or phrases from the poem.
Guide pairs to explore contrasting words and phrases for one part of the poem. Pairs select a phrase from the poem to explore, record different words and phrases in their A4L Student Notebooks on page 13
, replace Fletcher's word choices with their own choices, and create a mirror dance. Guide 2-3 pairs to share their word exploration choices and mirror dances. Use "Dakota Dawn," by Eric Chappelle (Unit 5, Track 7) to support slow, thoughtful movement while working in pairs.
Timing for word explorations and contrasting mirror dances is 20 minutes.
Model and guide pairs to explore contrasting words and phrases
"You are going to be word explorers and pick one of the words or phrases we just mirror danced. Get your A4L Student Notebooks and find a space on the floor to sit with your partner. Go! (Students get notebooks and sit down.)
Pairs, circle the part of the poem you want to explore. (Pairs circle the part of the poem they want to explore.) Now, work together to think of different words or phrases for that part of the poem and record those in your A4L Student Notebooks on page 13.
For example, at the beginning of the poem, it says:
There's an orange towel and
two white t-shirts pinned
at the waist all trying to
dry themselves in the
I will focus on the phrase "dry themselves in the breeze" and circle it in my A4L Student Notebook. Now, just like we did with the other poems, I will think of words and phrases I might use instead and write them down. I think it would be interesting to see what happens if I use words that create a different image. In the poem, I am picturing the shirts blowing softly and rippling with the gentle wind. What if the wind was blowing furiously? I'm thinking of using the words "whipping" and "swirling" instead of "breeze." I'll write "all trying to dry themselves in the whipping, swirling wind." Then, if I had a partner, we would create a mirror dance for this replacement phrase.
Now, you have five minutes to explore some words and phrases in the poem." (Pairs explore words and phrases and record them in their A4L Student Notebooks. Announce when time is up.)
Guide Pairs to Create Mirror Dance
"Next, create two mirror dances--one for the poet's phrase and one that you've created with different words and phrases. As you create your dance, you may decide to revise the phrase you created, and that is fine. You have 10 minutes." (Pairs create mirror dances.)
Guide 2-3 pairs to share word explorations. Play music during mirror dances.
"Let's share some of our mirror dances. Read your phrase from the poem and your replacement, and then show us your mirror dance. After each pair dances, we'll reflect on their movement choices." (2-3 groups share. Class reflects.)
Process: Restore the room to its original state. Tell students how and where to move the desks and where you want them to go once they've moved everything.
Send students to the Treasure Pile of books to hunt for books with powerful words and phrases. Have students select books and take home. Encourage students to post powerful words and phrases on the Words in Motion Wall and in back of their A4L Student Notebooks on the Words & Phrases I Like page
Close the lesson with a look forward describing the next lesson.
-Prior to the unit, confer with your school librarian about your students' reading levels and personal interests.
-Collect as many books as possible that are good fits with those reading levels and interests and that contain descriptive, poetic language or a focus on the wonder and history of words. If possible include in your book selections those that have a multicultural perspective.
-Send students whenever possible to the Treasure Pile.
-Drop hints and comments aimed at making students curious about these books, and allow students to take them home for outside-of-school reading.
Presenting Treasure Pile of Books
"To close, you'll have time to go to the Treasure Pile of books and select something to take home and read. Continue to notice powerful words or phrases in and out of school, and jot them down on the Words & Phrases I Like page in back of your A4L Student Notebooks. And feel free to write them on a note card or sticky note and put them up on our Words in Motion Wall."
"In our next lesson, you will choose a poem that you want to explore and work with a group to dance words and phrases."
Performing The Closing Ritual (Optional)
"To close our theater lessons, we'll appreciate our work and each other with a unified clap.
On three we'll all clap once and say, 'Huh!' 1-2-3 (clap) Huh!"
CONGRATULATIONS ON COMPLETING LESSON 6! YOU ARE NOW READY TO MOVE ONTO LESSON 7 OF UNIT 5.