Author:
Annmarie Steltzer, MSDE Admin, Kathleen Maher-Baker
Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Middle School
Grade:
6
Tags:
Belonging, ELA, Grade 6, MSDE, MSDE ELA, Maryland State Department of Education, RI.6.1, RI.6.2, RL.6.1, RL.6.2, RL.6.4, belonging, ela, grade-6, msde, ri-6-1, ri-6-2, rl-6-1, rl-6-2, rl-6-4
License:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
Language:
English

Education Standards (9)

Grade 6: Belonging, Lesson 1 (MDK12 Remix)

Grade 6: Belonging, Lesson 1 (MDK12 Remix)

Overview

This lesson guides students in an examination of a poet's use of figurative language and word choice to convey themes of belonging and identity.  Students will delve into the concept of the unit theme, “Belonging” and the essential question, "In what ways does our need to feel a sense of belonging conflict with our individuality?" Students will write a short essay analyzing the ways in which a poet uses figurative language and word choice to convey the speaker's sense of him/herself as an individual and as someone who feels he/she is not accepted.

 

Image source:  "Attain" by Nick Youngson from TheBlueDiamondGallery.com at http://thebluediamondgallery.com/tablet-dictionary/a/attain.html  Creative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0

Lesson 1, Day 1

Pre-Assessment:

Teachers will determine students' understanding regarding the following: 

  • Students should be able to differentiate between literal and figurative meanings of various forms of figurative language including similes, metaphors, and personification. 
  • To facilitate a rich discussion, students should be able to identify and analyze imagery prior to the lesson.
  • Students should also be able to differentiate between denotative and connotative meanings. 

As determined by the teacher, students' needs should be addressed based upon the results of the pre-assessment. Videos, such as the following, could be shared and discussed with students in order to clarify their understanding:

Word Relationships (Figurative Language)

Video source:  "Word Relationships (Figurative Language)" by Cheyenne Thornton on YouTube.com.  Additional or alternate videos could be accessed at creativecommons.org.

Lesson Procedures:

Students will be reading and analyzing “It Seems I Test People,” by James Berry.  First, however, they will delve into the concept of the unit theme, “Belonging.”

Day 1

  • Students will respond to the following question in a class generated word cloud web tool such as AnswerGarden: What word or short phrase comes to mind when you think of the word  “belong” or “belonging”?  (The teacher will create the class AnswerGarden prior to instruction and provide students with the appropriate link.)
  • Students will review the class garden / word cloud that they created in order to discuss multiple meanings of the word “belong.”  
  • Next, students will engage in a Think-Write-Pair-Share in order to respond to and discuss questions regarding the concept of belonging.  Individual students should be assigned one of four questions from the bulleted list below in order to write a 1 - 3 sentence response that captures their initial thinking.
    1. How do children develop a sense of belonging, and how does this change as they grow older?
    2. What sacrifices do people make to feel that they belong? 
    3. What are some negative consequences of trying to belong to a group?
    4. What are the benefits of feeling that one belongs?  
  • Students will then work in jigsaw groups, four per group, to discuss their ideas and to contribute to the thinking of others.  
  • Next, students will examine teacher selected quotations, lyrics, videos, and images displayed within the classroom using listening / viewing chat stations in small groups. The teacher will determine the student configuration of each group. (Video source:  "Chat Stations for Class Discussion" by Cult of Pedagogy on YouTube.com
Lesson 1 Chat Stations
  • School-based technology or personal devices should be utilized for the chat stations.  If personal devices are being employed for this task, QR codes could be generated ( example: http://goqr.me/) and then linked to the individual resources for display in stations.  Students may be provided with guiding questions that enable them to focus on the elements of belonging within the various quotations, lyrics, and images.  Responses to the guiding questions can be recorded on a Chat Station Chart (see attached).  Another option would be for students to use portions of a media analysis tool such as the  National Archives Document Analysis Worksheet in order to analyze the various media at each station. 
  • Possible lyrics, images, videos, and quotations for the chat station task could include some of the following examples:

Image result for picture of elderly couple hugging

One Brooklyn Artist Shows an Entire Community They Belonged
Peace House

Image/video sources: "Affectionate elderly couple hugs on the porch" by simpleinsomnia on Flickr.com.  CC-BY-2.0 license "How One Brooklyn Artist Showed An Entire Community They Belong" by A Plus on YouTube.com.  "Peace House, A Place to Belong" by Minnesota 2020  on YouTube.com

  • After completing the chat stations, each group will be assigned a single quotation, video, music lyric, or photograph.  Each group will present the quotation, lyric, video, or photograph they have been assigned in order to explain how it reflects the concept of belonging.
  • For closure and as a check for understanding, students will individually select a single quotation, image, video, or music lyric and explain in a written paragraph how it best exemplifies the concept of belonging.  Students should support their explanation with evidence.  As another option, students could post their written explanation regarding their media selection in a class discussion board such as Padlet
  • Some of the quotations, lyrics, images, and videos (with QR code) can be added to the unit bulletin board.  As students gather more ideas about belonging throughout the unit, they can be added to the board.
  • For homework, students should compose “found poems” that express their perception of belonging.  For a description and example of a found poem, see Read Write Think Sample Found Poem.

Standards

RL.6.1 Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.6.2  Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RL.6.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RL.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone. 

SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

b. Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

c. Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.

d. Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.

W.6.10  Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shortertime frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

You will be reading and analyzing “It Seems I Test People,” by James Berry.  First, however, you will explore  the concept of the unit theme, “Belonging.”

  • Respond to the following question in a class generated word cloud: What word or short phrase comes to mind when you think of the word  “belong” or “belonging”? 
  • View the word garden that is created in order to discuss multiple meanings of the word "belong". 
  • Engage in a Think-Write-Pair-Share in order to generate a 1 - 3 sentence response in writing to one of the four questions bellow as assigned by the teacher.  Then, work in jigsaw groups, four students per group, to discuss your initial thinking. 
    • How do children develop a sense of belonging, and how does this change as they grow older?
    • What sacrifices do people make to feel that they belong? 
    • What are some negative consequences of trying to belong to a group?
    • What are the benefits of feeling that one belongs?  
  • Participate in chat stations in order to view, to analyze, and to discuss a variety of videos, images, and lyrics regarding belonging. (You may be asked to utilize a personal device and / or a QR code reader as needed in order to access some of the resources.) 
  • Use the Chat Station Chart (see attached) or portions of a  media analysis tool in order to analyze and discuss the various videos, images, and lyrics that have been displayed.
  • Present the quotation, lyric, video, or photograph your group has been assigned to the class in order to explain how it reflects the concept of belonging.
  • After the class discussion, select a single quotation, image, video, or music lyric and explain in a written paragraph or post on a class discussion board how it best exemplifies the concept of belonging.  Support your explanation with evidence. 

Lesson 1, Day 2

The teacher should begin the lesson by telling the students that they will read a poem related to the theme of belonging. The lesson will focus on the poet's use of figurative language and how it contributes to the overall meaning of poem.  

  • Students will read the poem “It Seems I Test People, by James Berry.  This poem can also be found in McDougal Littell’s  textbook The Language of Literature for grade 6. 
  • Students will collaborate to summarize the poem on a literal level.  The teacher might provide the following questions to students who are struggling with comprehending the poem on a literal level.

1.    How does the speaker describe his/her appearance and voice?

2.    How does he/she describe his/her manner of laughing and walking?

3.    What do other people tend to do when the speaker approaches them?

  • Students will share their responses.  The teacher will provide feedback as necessary.
  • The teacher may need to review the process of differentiating between literal and figurative meanings of metaphors and similes. 
  • Students will reread and underline the first line, “my skin sun-mixed like basic earth,” and share their thoughts about the meaning of the phrase.  When students begin to examine the figurative meaning of the simile, the teacher should encourage them to think beyond what the speaker is saying about the physical color of his/her skin. Students should circle the phrase "sun-mixed basic earth".  The teacher will ask:
    • What are the characteristics of “sun-mixed basic earth?” 
    • What might the speaker be saying about his/her connection to nature by drawing this particular comparison?   
  • Students should discuss and analyze the metaphor “my voice having tones of thunder,” following the general process above.
  • Students will conduct a close reading and discussion of the poem in pairs or triads using the questions below. Students should annotate the poem.  They may also use an online tool such as awwapp to record their thinking.  Students who experience difficulty following this discussion about the underlying meaning of the poem may use the Capture Your Ideas graphic organizer to record their thinking about particular figurative phrases.  (See attached for complete organizer.)  

Word/Phrase

Notes/Thoughts

Figurative/Connotative Meaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  • Close  Reading Questions:

1.    What is a possible figurative meaning of line 1, stanza 2?  Think about what the speaker is saying about how he/she is feeling or thinking.[1] 

2.    What is a possible figurative meaning of line 2, stanza 2?  Hint: Think about multiple meanings of the word “view.”

3.    What is a possible figurative meaning of line 3, stanza 2?  Think about what “eyes packed with hellos behind them” would look like.  Then, think about the attitude the speaker is saying he tends to portray to others.

4.    Paraphrase line 4, stanza 2.

5.    What does the speaker mean by the last line of the poem? 

6.    Why is this line repeated at the end of each stanza; what effect does this repetition have on the poem’s message?

  • Groups may present and/or submit their responses.  The teacher should provide meaningful feedback.
  • For closure and as a check for understanding students will construct a brief written response to the following question:
    • How does the speaker perceive himself as an individual?  How does he perceive himself as belonging to a group or community?   Give evidence from the poem to support your response.

Standards

RL.6.1 Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.6.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RL.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

RL.6.5  Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

W.6.10  Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shortertime frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

 [1] Literally, “always awaiting a move” means that the speaker is waiting for someone or something to move; figuratively, the line may mean that he/she is continuously on the defense or defensive.  

       

You will read a poem related to the theme of belonging focusing on the poet's use of figurative language and how it contributes to the overall meaning of the poem. 

  • Read the poem “It Seems I Test People,”  by James Berry.
  • Collaborate to summarize the poem in order to ensure understanding. 
  • Reread and underline the first line, “my skin sun-mixed like basic earth,” and share your thoughts about the meaning of the phrase.  Circle the phrase "sun-mixed basic earth" and respond to the following questions in a class discussion:
    • What are the characteristics of “sun-mixed basic earth?” 
    • What might the speaker be saying about his/her connection to nature by drawing this particular comparison?   
  • Analyze the metaphor “my voice having tones of thunder".
  • Conduct a close reading and discussion of the poem in pairs or triads using the questions below. Annotate the poem as needed or utilize an online tool such as awwapp or the Capture Your Ideas organizer (attached). 
  1. What is a possible figurative meaning of line 1, stanza 2?  Think about what the speaker is saying about how he/she is feeling or thinking.[1] 
  2. What is a possible figurative meaning of line 2, stanza 2?  Hint: Think about multiple meanings of the word “view.”
  3. What is a possible figurative meaning of line 3, stanza 2?  Think about what “eyes packed with hellos behind them” would look like.  Then, think about the attitude the speaker is saying he tends to portray to others.
  4. Paraphrase line 4, stanza 2.
  5. What does the speaker mean by the last line of the poem? 
  6. Why is this line repeated at the end of each stanza; what effect does this repetition have on the poem’s message?
  • Present and/or submit your responses to the class and / or teacher. 
  • Construct a brief written response to the following question:
    • How does the speaker perceive himself as an individual?  How does he perceive himself as belonging to a group or community?   Give evidence from the poem to support your response.

 [1] Literally, “always awaiting a move” means that the speaker is waiting for someone or something to move; figuratively, the line may mean that he/she is continuously on the defense or defensive.  

Lesson 1, Day 3

  • The teacher should open instruction by asking students to revisit the the unit’s essential question: In what ways does our need to feel a sense of belonging conflict with our individuality? 
  • Students can engage in a whole class discussion of the question or post their initial thoughts on a class discussion board using a web tool such as lino.  The teacher will explain to students that they will revisit this question as they explore various genres of literature in the unit.
  • Prepare students to compose an essay in response to the following question:
    • Consider how the poet, James Berry uses words and phrases, including figurative language, to demonstrate his feelings about belonging and identity.  Write a short essay in which you analyze how the poet's use of words and phrases reveals the way the speaker feels about belonging and identity.  Be sure to include evidence from the poem to support your analysis and understanding.
  • Teachers should ask students to read the essay prompt carefully, highlighting or underlining key words and phrases that will help them to understand the question and to compose a thorough response.  Students could create a simple T-Chart to organize their thinking regarding what they need to know and what they will do.  One column of the T-Chart could be labeled "Need to Know" and the second column could be labeled "Need to Do".  Students could use this chart to organize their thinking regarding the essay prompt.
  • The teacher should create a rubric based on the standards addressed and on students' needs.  The rubric should be reviewed and discussed with students prior to essay completion.  The PARCC rubric could also be utilized for this purpose. 
  • Once the teacher determines that students understand the task, students should be provided with support as needed to outline, to draft, to revise, and to edit their essays. Prewriting templates, graphic organizers, sentence frames, writing models, and peer editing and revision opportunities can be employed as needed to support students as they complete their essays. 

Standards

RL.6.1 Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.6.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RL.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

W.6.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

W.6.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

W.6.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. a. Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in differen forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).

 

  • Revisit the unit's essential quesiton: In what ways does our need to feel a sense of belonging conflict with our individuality? Engage in a whole class discussion of the question or post your initial thoughts on a class discussion board.
  • Prepare to compose an essay in response to the following question:
    • Consider how the poet, James Berry uses words and phrases, including figurative language, to demonstrate the his feelings about belonging and identity.  Write a short essay in which you analyze how the poet's use of words and phrases reveal the way the speaker feels about belonging and identity.  Be sure to include evidence from the poem to support your analysis and understanding.
  • Read the essay question carefully, highlighting or underlining any key words or phrases that will help you understand what you need to do.  Identify what you will need to know or understand as well as what you will need to do in order to compose a thorough written response.  You may create a simple T-Chart.  Title the first column "Need to Know / Understand" and the second column "Need to Do" in order to organize your thinking.