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The Road Not Taken

by Ahuva Weiss

  • Part I - Expressive Writing will take 2 lessons
  • Part II - The poem and the Internet will take 2 lessons
    Presentations of "The Challenge" may take another lesson
    Double lessons which are approximately 90 minutes without a break work well for computer tasks.

General description of the unit

The unit integrates literature, and the internet which provides endless, varied and exciting materials for use in reading, writing and oral presentation. Activities for pair and group-work promote social interaction. In fact, the unit touches all four domains discussed in the New Curriculum.



"The Road Not Taken" and Expressive Writing


A double lesson in eleventh grade

Objectives

  1. to read the poem and identify themes and understand their universal nature
  2. to illustrate one of the themes in the poem with a personal experience
  3. to write a three-paragraph essay which states a chosen theme(paragraph 1), demonstrates it through a real life experience (paragraph 2), and develops the theme further through reference to the text and its relevance to the student

Summary of steps

  • Read the poem
  • Have students write a short response
  • List the responses on the board
  • A written assignment based on a chosen response (=theme) is given in class.

    Rationale

    My aim is to get my students' involvement in poetry through their writing. Their personal responses to the poem will actually be what we call the 'themes' and will serve as the opening statement of the essay they will each write.
    I want to make the poem more meaningful to the students by letting them think for themselves, and by allowing each student to relate to the text in his own way. Therefore, I will use no pre-reading activities such as lead-in questions; nor will I give my own commentary. I also want to teach the skill of basing inferences on the text. They will have to quote from the text in their written assignment

    A detailed description of the lessons:

    Lesson 1

    1. Read the poem aloud twice.
    2. In pairs, students help each other understand (or guess) difficult vocabulary. At this point, I do not want to have a group or a class discussion, since I want each student's personal response, the shy students as well as those who are always ready to speak.
    3. Students are asked to write down in a sentence or two what they think the poet is trying to say. They begin their sentences : "I feel/ I think the author is trying to say…"
    4. Students are asked to share their response with the class, while I put these statements on the board. A 'communal list' of what are in fact 'themes' is thus drawn. While these themes are being written, there will be discussion.

    Lesson 2 of the double lesson

    Objective:
    to write an essay on the theme of the students' choice, connecting their personal experience with the poem.
    They will be helped with the format of their essay through a step by step procedure.

    Steps:

    1. Students are asked to choose the statement they like best and write the statement on a new sheet of paper which will serve as the draft. The statement will be followed by an explanation or a comment.
    2. They are then asked to think of a personal experience they have had or an event they know about connected with it. They write about it as the second paragraph of their essay.
    3. The third paragraph will show how the poem affirms this statement. This paragraph will begin with the words: 'In the poem “The Road Not Taken”, by Robert Frost … ' - I will explain that this is a transitional sentence which will connect the personal experience in paragraph II with the same idea expressed in the poem.

    One activity with assessment procedure

    The above activity will be assessed using the following procedure:

    • The students will be given a checklist to guide them while writing the essay.
    • They will be given an assessment rubric which will give the students a rating scale to indicate to what degree the standards were met.

    Assessment procedures

    Since the criteria for assessment should be known to the pupils prior to the assessment, I would give the students a checklist prior to or together with the assignment. The criteria for assessment can be negotiated between the pupils and the teacher.

    PART II
    Lesson Objectives:

    1. to use the internet through the various links provided in order to access information about Robert Frost to have a better understanding of the poem and answer any of the questions on the web lesson worksheet.
    2. to use these resources for their presentations.
    3. to participate in a discussion following the reading of the poem and the web search lesson.

    Lesson Plan of PART II with a short description of activities:

    By the time we begin "The Road Not Taken and the Internet" lesson, the students will have read the poem, and given their response which is collected on the board as a "communal list" of themes. They will have written an essay on one of these themes, expressing their response and connecting it to a personal experience.

    Lead in: I will ask the students to describe the scene, the setting of the poem. I will then tell them that the Internet offers wonderful possibilities of enriching our enjoyment of reading poetry, and that I would like to share some with them.

    Pre-computer lab explanation

    Before the students go to the computer lab, they will be told what they are expected to do.

    • They will be given a checklist which will be read together so that every step is made clear to each student.
    • They will be given a 3-part worksheet to fill in.

    Questions about the task can be raised and answered at this point or while the students work on the computers.

    At the computer lab

    The students can work in pairs. They will find the Britannica Online web site and scan Robert Frost's biography for information. The worksheet has leading questions as well as a cloze type task to fill in. They will then find the site where they can hear a recording of Robert Frost reading "The Road Not Taken".

    Next, the students will find the site which has photographs of New England scenes corresponding to a selection of Frost's poems. They will fill in the worksheet as they go along.

    A more challenging task is next: The students will choose another poem from the selection in this web site called "The Illustrated Poetry of Robert Frost". They will read and try to understand it well enough to share it with the class. Working in pairs makes this task easier.


    Description of Materials of PART II:

    • Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"
    • Challenge: Other poems by Frost
    • The Internet

    URLs of materials:


    1. Biographical notes can be found in the following electronic encyclopedia: The Britannica
    2. The Robert Frost homepage of The Academy of American Poets:
    3. View a beautiful New England scene with each poem Illustrated Poetry of Robert Frost

    Objectives of this activity

    1. Given the URL the student will be able:
      • to access information about the poet and understand its relevance to the poem
      • to hear the poet reading his poem
      • to find the specified picture and poem and describe the scene
      • To complete parts I and II of the worksheet
      • Optional: to give additional interpretations of the poem through comments or analysis on the poem, using web sources the student has searched and found.

    2. "The Challenge": Given the selection of Frost's poems, the student will be able:
      • to choose another picture and poem
      • to read and understand this poem
      • discuss the meaning of the poem, vocabulary, and comment on it to his partner
      • Tell the class about the chosen poem (an informal presentation)

    3. To integrate the internet with the literature lesson in the following ways:
      • to read the poem while listening to a recording of the poet reading it
      • to enhance the understanding of the poem through photographs shown in a web site dedicated to the poet
      • to access biographical information on the poet in two web sources- information relevant to the specific poem
      • Optional: to interpret and analyze the literary text further through comments and analysis in a given web site
      • The Challenge: to find another poem by the same poet on the web and to tell the class about it


    Download three-page student worksheet

    Download Assessment Checklist



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