ALEX Lesson Plan


Round Robin Poetry Analysis

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Janie Mohajerin
System: Montgomery County
School: Georgia Washington Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33090


Round Robin Poetry Analysis


Poetry lesson using music lyrics and traditional poetry. The lesson involves identifying vocabulary, imagery, analysis, and interpretation of poetry. Students work collaboratively to develop the meaning of poetry. Specifically, this lesson highlights Langston Hughes's poetry and the Harlem Renaissance.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (7)
1. Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RL.7.1]
ELA2015 (7)
2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.7.2]
ELA2015 (7)
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama. [RL.7.4]
ELA2015 (7)
7. Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film). [RL.7.7]
ELA2015 (7)
8. Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history. [RL.7.9]
ELA2015 (7)
13. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone. [RI.7.4]
ELA2015 (7)
15. Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others. [RI.7.6]
ELA2015 (7)
16. Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium's portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words). [RI.7.7]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will collaborate to analyze poetry and lyrics.

Students will define vocabulary.

Students will identify poetry conventions.

Students will draw imagery from a poem.

Students will analyze poetry to determine meaning.

Students will relate an informational passage to the poem/lyrics.

Students will determine meaning based on visual interpretation of lyrics.

Compare visual interpretation to a written interpretation.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Understand the impact of the Harlem Renaissance on writers.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:




Desks arranged in grouping order

Round Robin Poetry graphic organizer either printed or have students draw (see attachments)

Langston Hughes' Informational article: (one printed copy for each group or projected on the board)

Owl City "Fireflies" lyrics printed or projected for each group

Langston Hughes' poems "A Dream Deferred"; "Dreams"; "I Continue to Dream"; and "I Dream a World":

Technology Resources Needed:

Internet access



iPad or laptop per group (optional)

Owl City "Fireflies" music video:

Langston Hughes' poems "A Dream Deferred"; "Dreams"; "I Continue to Dream"; and "I Dream a World":


  • The teacher should prepare students by reviewing poetry terms: repetition, simile, hyperbole, metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, and rhyme scheme, etc.
  • The teacher should prepare grouping ahead of time. This lesson requires four students per group.
  • The teacher should review or print informational articles ahead of time.
  • The teacher should print out lyrics and poems ahead of time.

Step One:

  1. After students are in their groups, begin by explaining the Round Robin Poetry activity. (see attached)
  2. Have students either draw or hand out the Round Robin graphic organizer. (see attached)

Round Robin Poetry activity description:

For this graphic organizer, students will use the graphic to organize the information. Have students pick the role they would like to serve first: Imager, Definer, Analyzer, or Interpreter. Once the student has completed the first stanza or section for that job, the student will then rotate or pass the job to the person to the right. Then each person in the group will complete a different job for the next stanza. No student should complete the same job twice. Once the entire poem has been analyzed and each job completed for each stanza, the group has finished the activity. It is a good idea to demonstrate the rotation process so students clearly understand.

Students should be sure to write their name in the section they have completed to receive credit for their participation in the activity. 

Step Two:

  1. Project/distribute Owl City "Fireflies" lyrics for each group
  2. Break up the lyrics into four sections to make the process easier for students.
  3. If students have access to an iPad or laptop for each group, provide the link for the students.
  4. Ask the students what types of insects they might see at night. Ask the students to describe them.
  5. Instruct students to begin the Round Robin Poetry graphic. Note: students will be working on different activities in the groups, but they may be helping each other. Monitor the room to be sure students understand the rotation process. Students should change jobs after finishing each stanza.
  6. Once students have had an opportunity to complete all four sections, stop them to discuss their findings.
  7. Ask students what vocabulary they found.
  8. Ask students what figurative language elements they found.
  9. Ask students what they think the overall meaning of the lyrics may be.
  10. Show the Owl City "Fireflies" music video.
  11. Ask students if they have a different interpretation than shown in the video.
  12. Ask students what time period these lyrics may be referencing

Step Three:

  1. Transition to a historical article about a time period or this may be done in a different class period.
  2. Project or distribute: Langston Hughes' Informational article: If students have an iPad of laptop for each group, provide the link.
  3. Read with the students aloud or have students read as group.
  4. After reading ask students:
    • Who is Langston Hughes?
    • What time period is he writing from?
    • What is the Harlem Renaissance?

Step Four:

  1. Have students draw or distribute another Round Robin Poetry graphic organizer.
  2. Distribute or project four poems: Langston Hughes' poems "A Dream Deferred"; "Dreams"; "I Continue to Dream"; and "I Dream a World":
  3. If students have access to a laptop or iPad, provide the link.
  4. Instruct students to complete another Round Robin Poetry graphic organizer.
  5. Monitor groups to insure the students are on task and understanding the process.

Step Five (wrap-up):

  1. After students have completed all four jobs, stop the students to discuss findings.
  2. Questions – You may have these questions written out for written response or you may discuss them orally.
    • What new vocabulary did you discover?
    • What overarching theme do all of the poems have in common?
    • Why is it important to understand the time period that these poems were written?
    • Did "Fireflies" and the Langston Hughes' poems have any similarities?
    • How was the tone of "Fireflies" and the Langston Hughes' poems different? Why? 

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Assessment Strategies

Collaborative learning

Graphic Organizer


This lesson may be modified to have students choose song lyrics to analyze as a group.

This lesson may be modified to have students write a poem based on those lyrics that carry the same theme. Then the students complete the Round Robin Poetry graphic.


To remeditate, the teacher may highlight or underline figurative language and vocabulary for students to identify the meaning.


Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.