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Topics

Poetry Analysis, Poetry Writing

Grades

9th, 10th

Subject

English Language Arts

Duration

75 minutes

Regional Focus

Oceania

Format

Google Docs, Google Slides

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This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

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Poetry Analysis Lesson: Tell Them

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Last Updated:
May 23, 2024
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Synopsis

In this lesson, students analyze a poem by Marshallese poet Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, then write a poem that reflects their culture or homeland and how they have been affected by climate change.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students identify the Marshall Islands on a map, reflect on the title of the poem “Tell Them,” and listen to a recitation by the poet.

 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students analyze how elements such as figurative language and imagery in the poem evoke the poet’s culture, homeland, and the impact of climate change.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students use “Tell Them” as a model to write their own poem that connects to their culture, home, and experience of climate change.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This lesson aligns with Hawai'i's Nā Hopena A'o HĀ-Breath Framework.

  • This lesson can be used as an introduction to a poetry unit in an English class, combined with a social studies class about climate migration, or added to a science class about the impact of rising sea levels on islands.

  • This lesson shines light on the Marshallese experience as it relates to social injustice and climate change.

  • This lesson provides students with the opportunity to creatively reflect on their experience of culture and climate change and take action by sharing an urgent message through poetry.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with basic poetic devices such as metaphors, similes, symbols, and repetition.

  • Teacher should listen to the recitation in advance in order to become familiar with the pronunciation of the Marshallese words in the poem.

  • Teacher should note that the recitation of the poem in the video does not exactly match the written poem in the Teacher Slideshow and the Student Document.
  • Students may need to independently research impacts of climate change on their community before writing their poems.

Differentiation

  • Teacher can add sentence starters to the Investigate section to help students interpret the figurative language. For example:

    • The simile / metaphor / personification [choose 1] “dark brown as the carved ribs of a tree stump” tells us that the poet thinks that the Marshallese people are…because…

    • The simile / metaphor / personification [choose 1] “we are the ocean terrifying and regal in its power” tells us that the poet thinks that the Marshallese people are…because…

  • Instead of writing a poem, students can illustrate “Tell Them,” demonstrating their understanding of the imagery, theme, and tone.

  • Students can memorize and recite all or parts of “Tell Them.”

  • Students can work in groups to add movement or create a video with visual representations of the poem in order to depict the poem’s meaning, tone, and message.

  • Students can read this article from CNN to learn more about the impact of climate change on the Marshall Islands.

  • Advanced students can choose another work by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and compare and contrast the two poems.
Scientist Notes

In this lesson, students will highlight aspects of a poem and discuss how poems might be used to express the effects of climate change on Hawai'i's natural resources, culture, and biodiversity. After carefully fact-checking the lesson contents, this lesson passed our science review.

Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • English Language Arts
    • Language (K-12)
      • L.VI.9–10.4 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings, including connotative meanings.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.PE.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with peers on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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