Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Figuring Out Frost

Margaret Walton

Description

In this lesson, students read “The Runaway” by Robert Frost and analyze it for its literal and symbolic meanings. Students then compare their personal experiences with the poet's suggestions about youthful attitudes and behaviors and evaluate the poem for its effectiveness in commenting on this theme.

Objectives

The student determines the main idea and identifies relevant details, methods of development, and their effectiveness in a variety of types of written material.

The student analyzes poetry for the ways in which poets inspire the reader to share emotions, such as the use of imagery, personification, and figures of speech, including simile, and metaphor; and the use of sound, such as rhyme, rhythm, repetion, and alliteration.

The student recognizes and explains those elements in texts that prompt a personal response (such as connections between one's own life and the characters, events, motives, and causes of conflict in texts).

Materials

-Four large pieces of paper
-Four markers
-Copies of “The Runaway” by Robert Frost
-Copies of the Charted Response Worksheet (see associated file)
-Pencils or pens

Preparations

1. Before class, establish four stations, one in each corner of the room. In each station, have a large piece of paper posted with one of the following questions:
-What are some typical attitudes of teenagers?
-How do teenagers act in order to show who they think they are?
-What obligations do adults have toward teenagers?
-What experiences help a teenager to mature?
2. Have markers available at each station for students to write their responses.
3. Make copies of Figuring Out Frost Charted Response (see associated files) for students.
4. Make a copy of Figuring Out Frost Checklist (see associated files).

Procedures

Note: This lesson addresses students’ abilities to identify relevant details, methods of development, and their effectiveness in a poetic selection. It also assesses the students’ abilities to explain how the poet’s use of symbolic representation prompts a personal response from them and the students’ abilities to analyze the poet’s use of symbolism to inspire an emotional response in the reader.

1. Access students’ prior knowledge by asking them to consider silently what a teenager is.

2. Divide the class into four cooperative groups with a designated leader and recorder and assign each group to one of the stations around the room. Allow groups a few minutes to brainstorm and record responses to their questions on the posted paper.

3. Take turns allowing the leader of each group to read that group’s question and responses. Have students return to their desks.

4. Inform students that the lesson will use a selected poem to explore what it is to be “young” and that they will begin by identifying relevant details and methods of development in the work. They will also compare the poem to their personal experiences as teenagers and evaluate the poet’s effectiveness in inspiring an emotional response in them.

5. Read the poem, “The Runaway,” by Robert Frost.

6. Distribute the Figuring Out Charted Response worksheet (see associated file). Tell students they will be assessed on completing this activity with correct citations from the poem, logical interpretations supported by the literal meaning of the poem, and evaluations based on stated criteria.

7. Ask students to refer to the first column of the chart. Point out that it consists of a list of prompts to assist them in identifying the relevant details of the poem and in understanding its literal meaning. Allow students a few moments to refer to the poem to complete the first column of the chart.

8. Discuss how authors use various methods to develop their poetry. Guide students to a correct identification of Frost’s use of symbolism in “The Runaway.” Have students name the second column with this heading.

9. Ask students to analyze Frost’s use of the description of the colt to symbolically represent attitudes and behaviors of youths by writing a brief interpretation of each detail listed in column one.

10. Have students pair up with a study partner to do a peer assessment of their responses to the prompts in the first and second columns of the chart. Feedback is exchanged verbally. Have students return charts to owners.

11. In the third column, ask students to explain how the symbolic interpretation of the text compares to their personal experiences as teenagers by relating an event from their pasts to correspond with each listing in the previous columns. Assure students that since this may include sensitive material, it will not be shared with peers.

12. In the fourth column, ask students to identify the effectiveness of this method of development to inspire an emotional response in the reader by stating their agreement or disagreement with Frost’s symbolic portrayal of youthful characteristics. Is the imagery of the colt a good symbol of what it is like to be a teenager? Inform students they should identify the criteria they used to evaluate the effectiveness of the use of the imagery of the colt to describe the theme of his poem.

13. Have students rate their level of agreement with the following statement: Frost’s use of the colt to symbolize the attitudes and behaviors of teenagers is well-developed and accurate. Ask students to use a scale of 1 to 10, one is strongly disagree and ten is strongly agree. Have students line up in order from 1 to 10. Divide the line in half and shift the last half of the line so that the students stand opposite the students in the first half of the line. Ask students standing opposite to each other to discuss why they rated the statement as they did telling the criteria they used to evaluate the poem.

14. Collect the charts from students.

Assessments

Note: This lesson assesses students’ abilities to identify relevant details, methods of development, and their effectiveness in a poetic selection. It also assesses the students’ abilities to explain how the poet’s use of symbolic representation prompts a personal response from them and the students’ abilities to analyze the poet’s use of symbolism to inspire an emotional response in the reader.

Assessment Description: As a formative assessment, after reading “The Runaway,” students complete a Figuring Out Frost Charted Response worksheet (see associated file) which evaluates the students’ ability to identify the relevant details within the poem and the method Frost uses to develop the work. The chart will also assess students’ abilities to analyze the dominant element Frost uses in the poem and to explain how the symbolic. Finally the chart will assess students’ abilities to identify the effectiveness of this method of development to inspire an emotional response in the reader.

Criteria:

Use the Figuring out Frost Checklist (see associated files) to:

1. Check that the prompts to identify relevant details listed in the first column are complete citing correct passages from “The Runaway” (see attached key).

2. Check that the method of development is correctly identified in the heading and that the students’ analysis of the symbolism in the poem in column two is logical and supported by the literal meaning of the poem.

3. Check that students explain the connection between the text and their personal experiences by listing events that correctly illustrate what is described in the poem.

4. Check that students identify the effectiveness of Frost’s use of symbolism in the poem to elicit an emotional response in the reader and give at least one reason to support each of their opinions in the fourth column.

Provide feedback as needed with marginal notes.
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