TRY THIS TOMORROW: CONSIDERING DICTION IN POETRY USING CONCENTRIC CIRCLES
The resource Teaching Living Poets by Lindsay Illich and Melissa Alter Smith offers several engaging ideas and activities to incorporate poetry in your class. This activity is one used to introduce poetry and teach theme.
- Chart paper
- Suggested poem: “I tend to Think Forgiveness Looks the Way It Does in the Movies” by Hanif Abdurraqib
- Place students in small groups with a poem and ask the simple question “What is the most significant word?” to represent this poem. Ask the groups to discuss their word choice and extend their discussion by explaining why they chose each word.
- Give each group a piece of chart paper with a marker. You will give a mini-lesson before they begin.
- Demonstrate how to use the concentric circles (found in the image below) to record your thinking on a poem. The focus is to defend the word choice as there are no right/wrong answers. The center circle is what the group has decided is the most important word. The next circle is for images and connections to that word. The third circle is theme. One way to consider theme is to ask, “What message is the author trying to deliver about the word written in the middle circle?”. Lastly, the outer area is for the text evidence that supports the word and theme.
- Students will copy the concentric circles on their own page.
For more ideas, follow the hashtag #teachlivingpoets on Twitter.
Illich, Lindsay, and Melissa Alter Smith. Teach Living Poets. National Council of Teachers of English, 2021.