Analyzing Poetry in Motion

Featured image citation

The subject of poetry is like a fine wine that ages over time. The words that describe poetry is immaculate, perfect , and a symphony of words . Combine words and create a masterpiece, a sculpture, or art.

Target Audience

In this lesson, 10th grade students will create a short poem from the word bank that is displayed below. It can be an alternating rhyme scheme (A/A/B/B), or a haiku ( one line of 5 syllables, second line of 7 syllables, third line of 5 syllables). I want students to make their own poems and feel their words come to life as they construct them.


For this lesson, we will include the history and highlights about Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, and William Shakespeare, and I. These poems will act as a guide when making your own poem. Have an idea about the topic your poem will be about. Think about the language each poet uses and compare it to one another. Come up with questions to help your understanding then start writing your poem.


First we will start off by reading one poem from Poe, Frost, Shakespeare, and myself. During this time you should write down notes on the type of language from each poem. The next step is that I will distribute a list of 40 words. Depending on your poem, your job is to create a poem with at least 8 words from that list.

Resources for the lesson:

Here is mine:

My name 
First Day of school and I introduce my name
I hear other names 
They might be simple, but all are unique 
When I introduce my name it’s a tongue twister for many
A few have gotten it right the first time, but the rest not so much 
I hear Cristano, Cristiano, or even Croissant Roll
How do misspell my name when it is right in front of you on a piece of paper
You work in a tall skyscraper but all you need is a translator 
I go by the nickname Dos for many years (and still do to this day)
Then in 8th grade I decided to change my Cris. 
I rarely use my real name
But when I do use my it, I am almost demanding you to say my name right and to stop acting shady
My name is creation
Like an artist and the work that they painted 
My name is my identity, it defines who I am
This name that I own has a history behind it
It is not just “the second"
I am proud of the name I was given
To many my name is Dos
To some I am Cris 
And to the handful that know my true name 
I am Crisanto de Guzman II

In addition to the poems above, please watch the two videos. These two videos should help you have an idea on how your poem will be presented. Some guiding questions you might include: Think about how the people are saying their poems? Is it loud, is it soft, is it fast, slow, etc.

Delivery Consideration: A presentation by Canvas. The use of visual aid.

Red is the Scariest Color: Propaganda during the Red Scare

Source Image

Target Audience: The target audience for this lesson is a modern world history class or a 10th grade US History class when it gets to the modern era. Students can have a background on propaganda or not, but I feel this lesson can be delivered more effectively if students do not have a background in propaganda of the time. It is expected that students have some background knowledge about what was going on in terms of the Cold War in the US and the USSR.

Content: For this lesson, students will be looking at several propaganda pieces to see what motifs are present and how aspects of the poster/music/movie are used to convey a certain theme. With this data, students will be asked to explain how they would have felt if they were in the time and seeing media like this. From these posters, students will try to construct a narrative about what is going on in the US at the time based on the evidence in these posters. This can segue into how propaganda is being used today and in what ways mainstream media is trying to dominate a narrative.

Process: The process behind this activity will be to break the students into pairs to analyze aspects of 2 types of media. These two primary sources can be political cartoons, propaganda posters, songs, clips from film or radio broadcasts. After giving the students time to figure out what each source is saying and how people at the time would have felt consuming these media narratives, we will join back and attempt to construct a narrative of how the people at the time might have understood the communist situation going on in the US.

Resources: The resources for this lesson would primarily be political cartoons, propaganda posters, as well as different types of media from the time. It may also be helpful to create a graphic organizer for students to have a place to take notes and write out their feelings.

Delivery Considerations: This lesson can be delivered remotely by using Zoom groups and a main group meeting to discuss and hash out a narrative of what people thought the communist situation was at the time. As a group students can be led into thinking about how the narrative shown through media is not exactly the same as what was going on in the world and how propaganda is still used today.

What’s Going On Domestically During the Vietnam War?

Target Audience & Setting: 11th or 12th grade U.S. History class preferably in person.

Content: The Vietnam War was one of the most contentious wars in the history of the United States. Militarily, the conflict quickly descended into a quagmire. While much of the American public presumed that the war would be brief, the conflict persisted for over 10 years, making it the longest war that the United States had ever waged. Moreover, American troops were faced with the physical and emotional scars of a brutal war that killed nearly 50,000 American troops. Domestically, the conflict produced a massive anti-war movement that was embraced by a wide range of groups. In urban centers and college campuses around the country, Americans protested the savagery of the war and demanded that the conflict come to an end. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On captures the domestic toil that Americans endured during the Vietnam era.

Process: Student’s will use the lyrics (and maybe even the tone and melody if students feel the songs convey a message sonically) of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album What’s Going On as a sources to analyze the domestic toil that the war produced. We will do a think-pair-share arrangement. I will ask groups of 3 to find lyrics and analyze them and place them in the context of the history. They will report back with the significance of the lines and answer the following questions: How does Gaye’s album reflect the domestic unrest that existed during the war? Substantiate your arguments and use additional source to contextualize your arguments.

Resources for Lessons: I will provide links to listen and as well as read the lyrics of the album. I am assuming this class would have already read a book about the Vietnam War earlier in the unit and could draw from that knowledge.

Delivery Considerations: I wrote this considering distance learning and the use of Zoom breakout rooms for students to work in small groups on the analyzing and contextualization of lyrics. Then I would close the rooms and we could discuss as a class our respective findings.

Source for featured image:

White to Vote?: Racism and Xenophobia During the Woman Suffrage Movement

Target Audience & Setting: 11th grade US History in a distance learning setting

Content: Could be taught during a unit on the 1920s, specifically during a lesson on the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in the United States on a national level.

*Note: This lesson is going to be an adaptation of the research project that I was supposed to present at the Public Research Fellows symposium last year (it was canceled the day of as it was the Friday before quarantine)

Process: This lesson will begin with an interactive lecture using Google Slides & Nearpod to give the students some background information on the topic. The Google Slides presentation will also include directions for the activity. Students will then follow the link to the differentiated Google Form. All nine participants will click on their name (which will be an option in the first question of the Google Form) and doing so will take everyone to a description of a different identity. Students will have time to read this biography, become familar with it, and write down any details that they think might be important. When everyone has had enough time, we will come back as a group and I will take everyone through a flowchart via a Google Slides presentation that asks different questions to help everyone determine if their assigned (fictional) woman would have been able to actually exercise their right to vote in 1920. After each step, I will ask the group if everyone’s person is still able to vote or not and also go through some historical context behind the different restrictions put in the way of voting during this time. After we get all the way to the end, we will see if anybody’s person actually made it all the way to the end and would have been able to vote. Then, I will put up a few discussion questions and send everyone into breakout rooms to talk about them. Finally we will come back as a group and have time for final reflections.

Resources for Lessons: Students will have access to this Google Form as well as the Google Slides presentation that I screen share with them.

Delivery Considerations: The research presentation that I was originally due to give in March was designed to be in person. I made a poster with a flowchart on it and participants would have been able to randomly draw identities and follow the chart using the biographical information of that fictional woman to get an idea of who was actually able to exercise the right to vote. Moving it online, a differentiated Google Form and Google Slides presentation using Nearpod will be used as these are both interactive and pretty user friendly ways to deliver a lesson virtually.

If you want to read more about my research project, PRF has their own page on the UP website.

Feature Image Source: “Women in horse-drawn carriage and on foot march in street for voting rights carrying banners ‘Mothers Prepare the Children for the World…’ ‘Women Need Votes…’ and ‘Suffrage Pioneers…'” by Kheel Center, Cornell University Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0