1. Students will begin class by playing a game of charades. The teacher will give three random students an index card that contains a scenario about household chores that they will bring to life. The scenarios are cleaning the room, washing the dishes, and taking out the trash. Students can use anything in the room as a prop, but cannot use any verbal clues. As students act out the scenes, their peers must guess the situation. After the game, poll the class to see which chore is dreaded the most.
2. Now, tell students that today they are going to meet a girl who may share some of their sentiments about the frequency of completing household chores. However, before introducing students to the poem, allow them to meet the author using the profile found on Poets.org.
3. As they read the profile on the screen, ask them to cite evidence in response to the following questions concerning Shel Silverstein.
- Who is his typical audience?
- Does he have a particular style?
- Is writing his first love or did something push him towards it?
4. Preview the poem by reading the first five lines. Is it lyric or narrative? Students should suggest that it is narrative.
Content specific vocabulary instruction
5. Display the following sentence on the board or chart paper:
Peter Piper picked a perfect pepper that was so heavy that when it fell from the vine it cracked the ground below.
What do you notice about the beginning of the sentence? Solicit student responses. They should mention the repetition of similar sounds. How many pounds are in a ton? [2000 lbs.] Allow wait time for a response. Therefore, what can we infer about the pepper? [It is oversized, gigantic, and record-breaking in size.]
6. Use this along with the title and “Yo Mama jokes” to “show” students that alliteration creates sound and hyperbole images. (Example: Yo Mama joke - "Yo momma so black that when she goes at night she has to blink so that we know she is present.")
7. Quick Write - What would you do if you lived in the house with someone who never threw anything away or cleaned up?
8. Predict the outcome and theme. Record it on your paper.
9. Next, distribute the chunked copy of the poem. Tell the students this time they will read the poem independently and annotate it using the provided codes. Copy the codes down for students to reference.
Coding during reading:
- Circle repeated words
- Place a star beside any lines that suggest there is presence of a cause and effect relationship
- Place a small square box in front of the lines that contain alliteration
- Underline the words that rhyme
10. Allow students to listen to the audio version again, but this time along with a copy of the text in front of them. At the conclusion of each chunk pause the audio clip to allow time for analysis and discussion using the following questions as prompts.
Students should cite text evidence in support of all responses. The teacher should use equity in soliciting responses to questioning so that all students participate. You can achieve equity in question by assigning each student a number and instructing them to be prepared to give a response when their number is called. This ensures that no one student or group dominates the discussion.
Is the situation realistic? Allow students to turn and talk to their right shoulder partner about their response.
Identify the tone. Which words support your claim? Are the connotations mainly positive or negative?
How does he depict the severity of the situation? [Identify the literary device(s).]
Is there a cause and effect relationship present? Are any clue words noticeable?
- What is the overall tone of the poem? How does the author establish this? Are the connotations mainly positive or negative?
- Does the tone remain constant or shift? Explain.
- What is her most logical “awful fate”?
Focus on sound devices
- Is there sound present? What creates it? [Students should discuss his rhythmic pattern and use of alliteration.]
- How did the speaker in the audio version bring the poem to life? [Elevated voice, stretched out words to add emphasis]
Focus on style
- Who is the targeted or intended audience? How do you know?
- Look at the connotations and frequency of his use of figurative language. Is this appropriate for the intended audience, topic? Does it emphasize or detract from the theme?
- Is there recognizable text structure present in the poem e.g., chronological, sequential, order of importance, etc.? How does knowing his writing style help you understand the poem and the word choice?
- Can you relate to the situation discussed in this poem? Does it remind you of something or someone? [Students may suggest the television show Hoarders, a garbage dump, etc.]
- What is the effect of him explicitly stating the theme when it is readily implied from Sarah’s actions? [added effect, emphasize the importance of completing this simple task]
- Can you identify any strong verbs, vivid adjectives, and precise nouns?
- What is the effect of his use of vivid descriptions? [creates emphasis, imagery gives the poem life]
- Does he STEAL or direct? [identifying characterization]
[EXPLANATION OF STEAL] STEAL is a mnemonic that assists students in understanding the method of indirect characterization.
S-things they say
E-effect other characters have on them
Focus on meaning
- How does he use Sarah and the reaction to her defiance to reveal the theme?
- Is the advice given?
- Why do you think he left her fate open for interpretation?
- What does the reaction of her father, friends, and neighbors suggest?
Closing: Turn and Talk
Turn and talk in your groups and discuss three of the most vivid lines and explain your reasoning. Allow each member one minute to speak until all members have shared their thoughts. Then allow for open discussion among members of the group.
Exit Slip: Written Response to the following that cite explicit text evidence - Would the poem have the same effect on you as the reader if written from the perspective of the child, Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout?
11. Conduct a review of alliteration, hyperbole, and imagery using cubes.
12. Allow students to work in groups to cite specific lines that contain alliteration, hyperbole, and imagery using the cubes. (See the attachments for the completed cubes.)
Is there more to a color than what meets the eye? Present the color wheel to students and ask them to select colors that best represent the mood and tone in the poem. Use the colors you select in your illustration of the poem.
[Understanding the meaning of color]
Task: [30 minutes]
- Go over the meaning of color. [You may still choose to have color wheels printed for students to reference.]
- Create an illustration that best represents the setting in the poem. [Student visuals should show a house filled and beyond with stuff, or reveal the transition in more than one image.]
- Allow students to color their image but ask them to choose the colors effectively to keep in line with the tone
13. Allow students to watch the audio version of the poem.
14. After watching the video, allow them time to think and respond in writing to the following prompt.
15. Did the creator of this video provide an accurate representation of the images it conveyed? Provide examples from what you observed in the presentation of the short film. After about three minutes use equity to solicit student feedback.
Exit Slip - Does your image mirror what you observe? Explain