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“Ode to Common Things” 1

Author: Dale Apple


Lewis C. Cassidy Academics Plus School

Year: 2013

Seminar: Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Grade Level: 4-6

Keywords: 21st century poetry, American poetry, poetry, point of view

School Subject(s): English, Poetry

Children are born with a natural curiosity to explore their worlds. They perceive the world without thinking, and collect memories that they will use later on. In this unit, students will be able to use these experiences to become better writers, allowing others to enter their worlds through detail-rich experiences.

Through close examination of ordinary objects and events in their worlds, children in Grades 4, 5 and 6 will be guided to write meaningful poetry and will learn how to use the language of poetry and form.

Students will explore point-of-view poetry such as “Point of View” by Shel Silverstein; will have informal writing exercises of the qualities of everyday objects; examination of famous works such as “Odes To Common Things”1 in the book of the same name by Peruvian poet Pablo Neruda; will explore shape/theme poems, sound poems/performance poetry by Tracie Morris and others; how writers paint pictures with words, especially William Carlos Williams; how form can enhance a poem’s composition and meaning, and as a final project, creation of visual poetry using photography and text, in iMovie.

This unit serves to explore non-conventional ways of creating poetry outside of the regular classroom setting using a variety of resources that the teacher of any subject might engage in to encourage his/her students to be creative beyond traditional poetry writing that we have seen before.

At the conclusion of this unit, students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 will have a greater understanding of how to write poetry that evokes emotions and memories, utilizing an interdisciplinary approach and 21st century digital skills.

Download Unit: Apple-Dale-Unit.pdf

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