Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Moment in Time

Dawn Capes
Bay District Schools


A moment in time before shooting a foul shot or the moment right before a runner steals a base can make for a fascinating poem. Students study poems to see how punctuation, line length, rhythm and word choice can be used to create a memorable moment.


The student demonstrates a command of the language (including but not limited to precise word choice, appropriate figurative language).

The student uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the format (for example, using appropriate voice; using descriptive language to clarify ideas and create vivid images; using elements of style, such as appropriate tone).

The student uses figurative language techniques to create and comprehend meaning (for example, similes, metaphors, analogies, anecdotes, sensory language).

The student knows ways effective word choice, uses of dialect and sensory or figurative language contribute to the mood or meaning of a poem.

The student understands the impact on the reader of specific word choices (for example,, multiple meanings, invented words, concrete or abstract terms, figurative language).

The student describes how line length, punctuation, and rhythm contribute to the overall effect of a poem.


-Printed copies of the poems, “Writer Waiting” by Shel Silverstein, “The Base Stealer” by Robert Francis and “Foul Shot” by Cory Bogner (See Teacher Prep.)
-Transparencies of the poems
-Copies of the poems for students (See Teacher Prep)
-Copies of the student handouts Foul Shot, A Moment in Time and Re-Cap (See Associated File)
-Classroom Management Tool, Who’s Got the Answer (provided in Lesson Two, The Inside Story) Optional
-Handouts: I’m a poet and didn’t know it, definitions and How can I make poetry more poetic? (From Lesson one, There’s a Writer Waiting Inside Me!)
-Student poetry folders


1. The poems necessary for the unit will need to be downloaded from the Internet.
2. It is permissible by copyright law to copy these poems for student use as long as poems are destroyed at unit’s end. However, these poems may be available in student literature books. Please check. If they are, then have students bring literature books to class each day of the unit.
3. Make transparencies of the poems.
4. Make copies of the student handouts Foul Shot, A Moment in Time and Recap.
5. Have on hand the transparency created in Lesson One- There’s a writer waiting inside me, entitled What Makes Good Poetry?
6. Have on hand the transparency of “The Road Not Taken.”
7. Decide if you would like to use the Classroom Management Tool for Questioning entitled Who’s Got the Answer. This can be used to ensure that more masterful students don’t dominate the question/answer periods and that all students get an opportunity to show what they know. Created in Lesson Two, The Inside Story.
8. Be prepared to pass back student work from the handout, Symbolism, which was done in Lesson Two, The Inside Story.
9. Be prepared to assess today’s handouts (Foul Shot, A Moment In Time and Recap) and return the next day. Note: Recaps are opportunities to individually assess student understanding of the concepts. Pay close attention to these and note students who appear to be struggling. These students will need additional assistance, questioning, etc. in the following days.
10. It is up to each individual teacher as to what students should take notes on. Know that note taking will add to the time for the lesson.
11. Paper saver idea! If you will have students use their own paper instead of making copies of the handouts, simply have them include the same information as the handouts. Another paper saving device, make one class set of poems instead of individual poems. Just be aware of your needs and the needs of your students before making any copying decisions.


Day four of the unit, I’m A Poet and Didn’t Know It!

Note: There are many opportunities for questioning and answering in this lesson that can in turn be used as a formative assessment opportunity. Note those students who have grasped the concept and ask higher order questions of them. Note those students who are having a hard time with the concept and continue questioning them. Attempt to question everyone at least once during the daily discussions. You may want to use the Classroom Management tool, Who’s Got the Answer.

Note: Throughout the course of this unit, students will be asked their interpretation of various poems. Be careful in your responses to students. The answers suggested in this unit are merely the lesson developers’ explanations of the poems. Responses by students may be different, yet still correct. Be open to students’ interpretations. Exploration and student responses will not occur if the teacher tells students, “No, that’s not the right answer.”
As students enter the room, have them get their poetry folders.

1. First ask who brought in poems to share. Share one. Then, reflect on the key question again by asking, “Is this good poetry?” After students have had an opportunity to quickly discuss, place poetry example on the bulletin board.

2. Remind them that “good” poetry is subjective. What is good poetry to one person may not be good poetry to another; however, there are some aspects on which most people agree.
a. Yesterday we covered one of those aspects. What was it? (Symbolism)
b. In the poem “The Road Not Taken” what was the road symbolic of? (Life)
c. There are two ways the poem is to be read. What are they? (Literal and metaphorical)
d. Can anyone think of any examples from the poem that would show a literal and metaphorical example? (Answers will vary)

3. Pass back student work from the handout, Symbolism. Ask if there is anyone who would like to share his or her examples of colors that are symbolic of the student’s personality. What about the journey? Would anyone like to share that idea? Take just a few minutes to allow for sharing. Have them put the handout in their folders.

4. Now, ask students to take out the handouts, I’m a poet and didn’t know it, definitions and How can I make poetry more poetic? Go over the following definitions: metaphor, repetition, rhythm, sensory language, and simile. Then, go over all the concepts on How can I make poetry more poetic? Explain to students that all of these concepts will be used in today’s lesson.

5. Pass out copies of and display transparency of the poem “Writer Waiting.” The poem was first used on the first day of the unit, but today it will be studied it for its poetic devices. (Instead of an open discussion with the whole group, you may choose to do a Think-Pair-Share for each question. Allowing students 2-3 minutes to discuss the questions with a partner may make for more lively group discussions.)
a. Ask students what stands out about this poem? (Hopefully students will bring out that it uses slang, lack of punctuation and rhymes. If they don’t, guide them to this conclusion.)
b. Point out the words “writin’,” “nothin’” and “’Cause.” Ask students what’s missing? (Letters) Explain that the author used punctuation to contribute to the effect of the poem. Ask students what they think the writer was trying to say by using lack of punctuation. (Lack of punctuation contributes to the mood of the poem that is very laid back and conversational.)
c. Did the writer use any of the items listed on the How Can I Make Poetry More Poetic handout? (Punctuation, arrangement of words-line length)
d. Explain that the writer also used word choice to contribute to the poem. Like punctuation, the writer used certain words and phrases to make the poem’s mood be laid back and conversational. Ask students to find examples. (Students can repeat the use of the slang – words punctuated with apostrophes, "ain’t," etc. Accept any reasonable example.)
e. Ask how the word choice impacts the reader. (Makes poem funny and conversational)
f. Lastly, point out the rhyme scheme and how it creates a rhythm to the poem. It may be helpful to explain the rhyme scheme is A, A, B - A, A, B – C, C, D – E, E, - F, F. Ask how this rhyme scheme contributes to the effect of the poem. (Rhyming poetry is sometimes viewed as “friendlier poetry.” Accept all reasonable answers.)

6. Pass out copies of the poem, “The Base Stealer” by Robert Frances, and display the transparency. (Again, instead of having a group discussion first, utilize the Think-Pair-Share option and list questions on the board for partners to discuss. Other discussion strategies can be viewed at the Just Read Now site. See Weblinks.)
a. Ask what the poem is about? (It’s about a moment in time before the base runner steals the next base.)
b. Ask how the students see the base runner. Is he calm? Is he slow?
c. Ask students to find the examples of simile in the poem. (Taut like a tightrope walker, bouncing tiptoe like a dropped ball or a kid skipping rope, hovers like an ecstatic bird.) Explain that the writer’s word choice has been chosen to impact the mood or meaning of the poem. What do Robert Francis’ words do for the reader here? (Makes the reader “see” the tautness, tightness, explosiveness that the base stealer has.)
d. Ask students to identify where the writer used repetition. Why do they think the writer did this? (To help show the impatient quality the base stealer has.)
e. Is there a rhythm to the poem? (There is no rhyme, but there does seem to be an incessant hurry quality to the lines and words themselves.)
f. What about sensory language? Can we see, hear, taste, touch or feel anything the base stealer is doing? (Yes, we can really get an image (seeing) for what the base stealer is doing based on the writer’s use of simile, descriptive language, and repetition.)
g. Did the writer use any of the items listed on the How Can I Make Poetry More Poetic handout? Specifically ask if the line length is significant. (There is no real answer to this question. It is subjective.)
h. Bonus question. There is an example of alliteration in this poem. Can anyone find it? (Line 7) How is alliteration helping this portion of the poem? (The tightness in the sound of the T reflects the tautness of the runner.)

7. Have students partner up or assign them partners. Pass out to each set of partners a copy of the poem “Foul Shot” by Edwin Hoey and the handout, Foul Shot. Give each set of partners a number between 1 and 5. Each group addresses the question on the sheet that corresponds to their number. There will be multiple sets of numbers. This is good, as different sets of students will come up with different answers. Instruct students to either write on the paper given to them or on their own notebook paper. Then, give students about 5 minutes to discuss their answers and write them down. Each student should write their own set of answers because they will be adding to the work momentarily.

8. As students are working, walk around the room formatively assessing which students seem to be struggling with the concept and give assistance as needed.

9. Once students have had about 5 minutes to work, go over each set of answers. Once answers have been shared, discuss the best answer and have students note on their own paper.

10. Ask if the poems today were examples of good poetry. Ask students to explain why. Is there anything we need to add to our What Makes Good Poetry?

11. Finally, give students copies of the handout for A Moment In Time. Students are to attempt to do all the work.

12. Have students turn in work and formatively assess. See Assessment section.

13. Return all of today’s work to the student folders and place back in secure location.


Formatively assess that students are beginning to show a command of language (for feedback opportunity, suggest alternative words to students who are still choosing trite words), using creative writing strategies (descriptive language), using figurative language to create meaning (simile, metaphor, sensory language). Answers will vary according to student. For feedback opportunity, make suggestions to students for how they could improve their work.

Number One: Formatively assess that students can explain how line length, punctuation and rhythm contribute to a poem by emphasizing time- its slowness or quickness, etc. Answers will vary. Accept all reasonable answers.

Number Two: Formatively assess that students can explain that word choice can impact a reader in many ways. It can help the reader see, hear, taste, touch, feel what the writer is saying. Answers will vary. Accept all reasonable answers.

Number Three: Formatively assess that students can explain that word choice can create mood or meaning by providing words that describe the mood or meaning in such a way that the reader can understand it.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

2. You may wish to use other discussion strategies instead of just whole group discussion. Think-Pair-Share is an excellent way to encourage students to share their thoughts and opinions. Use the Just Read Now site (see Weblinks) to learn more about Think-Pair-Share and other discussion strategies.

3. Using a Word Wall may help students remember some of the complex vocabulary used within the unit. Simply use a blank section of the wall to post vocabulary words or other troublesome words written on construction paper. Remove words prior to the summative assessment.

Web Links

Use this site to discover more information about Think-Pair-Share. There are other discussion strategies on this site as well.
Just Read Now

Use this link to obtain the handouts from Lesson One.
Lesson One, There's A Writer Waiting

Use this link to obtain the handouts from Lesson Two, The Inside Story.
Lesson Two, The Inside Story

Web supplement for A Moment in Time
Writer Waiting by Shel Silverstein

Web supplement for A Moment in Time
The Base Stealer by Robert Francis

Web supplement for A Moment in Time
The Base Stealer

Attached Files

Handouts for A Moment in Time     File Extension: pdf

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