Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Courtin' We Will Go

Joy Rowell


Students read a poem full of Southern dialect. Groups research and share with the class an assigned literary device, create a list of current words which may one day be considered dialect, and construct a poem about dating today.


The student drafts and revises writing that: is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation; has an organizational pattern that provides for a logical progression of ideas; has effective use of transitional devices that contribute to a sense of completeness; has support that is substantial, specific, relevant, and concrete; demonstrates a commitment to and involvement with the subject; uses creative writing strategies as appropriate to the purpose of the paper; demonstrates a mature command of language with precision of expression; has varied sentence structure; and has few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

The student applies an understanding that language and literature are primary means by which culture is transmitted.

The student understands that there are differences among various dialects of English.

The student understands the different stylistic, thematic, and technical qualities present in the literature of different cultures and historical periods.

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.


-A poem by James Russell Lowell’ “The Courtin’”
-Examples of dialect used today
-A guide to literary terms and techniques such as the one found in your literature book
-Individual literary terms and techniques printed on slips of paper to be drawn from a jar
-Tranparency pens
-Pencils and pen


1. Locate the poem and the section of your literature book which deal with literary devices.
2. Locate examples of current dialect. You might have a list of several words used recently on television such as ‘a brother’, ‘trailer trash’, etc. You might tape television or audio examples to share.
3. Prepare slips of paper to be drawn from a jar with the following terms on separate slips of paper: Climax, Conflict, Description, Dialect, Foreshadowing, Hyperbole, Imagery, Oral Humor, Personification, Plot, Quatrain, Rhyme, Rhythm, Run-on Line, Setting, Simile, Theme, and Tone. Each group researches the definition of the term which they drew, notes the application and use of that term in the poem, and prepares a transparency to use in the group presentation to the class.
4. Provide overhead projector for group presentations.
5. Design a delivery schedule for group presentations.


1. Share examples of dialect used on television. (Examples might include dialects used by African-Americans, Chicanos, “Rednecks,” Southerners, etc.)

2. Discuss the fact that dialects are indicative of a people’s culture and that literature provides examples of previously used dialects.

3. Read a poem such as “The Courtin’” orally.

4. Have students make inferences as to the meaning of the unfamiliar words used.

5. Discuss Lowell’s purpose in using dialect rather than more formal English.

6. Place students in groups of three.

7. Allow each group to draw one literary technique. (These are listed in the teacher preparation section.)

8. Each group then researches the selected literary technique and produces a transparency which explains the assigned literary technique and shows examples of that technique as used in Lowell’s poem.

9. Each group uses the transparency created in Step # 8 to present the definition and examples of the literary term they selected as an oral report.

10. Each group discusses and prepares a list of at least twenty current words which could one day be considered dialect.

11. Each group creates a poem about dating in this millennium.

12. Each student writes a personal response to the poem in his/ her journal. These poems will be posted on a bulletin board.


Each student will be evaluated on four assignments as indicated by the Roman numerals.
I. Group Presentation Rubric (All within a group receive equal grades)

4=Literary device clearly explained and identified in the poem.
All group members have a part in the oral presentation.
Transparency was readable and relevant.
Presentation is exemplary in completeness and in the use of appropriate vocabulary.

3=Literary device explained and identified to a degree.
Most participated.
Transparency was not completely readable, but relevant.
Presentation is commendable with appropriate vocabulary.

2=Literary Device definition is read aloud.
Some members have an oral part, but in a disorganized manner.
Transparency is messy, and the relevance is questionable.
Presentation is somewhat unorganized.

1=Literary Device definition is missing or incorrect.
The transparency is incomplete.
One person presents.
Presentation is ambiguous.

II. List of words. (All members of the group receive the same grade.)
4=List of more than 20 current words and meanings which might one day be considered dialect.
3=List of 18-20 words and meanings.
2=List of 15-17 words and meanings.
1=List of 10-15 words and meanings.

III. Group Poem (All members of the group receive the same grade.)
4=Poem of at least 30 lines using numerous poetic devices dealing with current dating practices.
3=Poem of at least 25 lines using some poetic devices dealing with current dating practices.
2=Poem of at least 20 lines using at least one poetic device dealing with current dating practices.
1=Poem of at least 15 lines dealing with current dating practices.

IV. Journal Grade will be incorporated into the total journal grade for the term. (My students receive a grade for journal entries completed.)
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