Poetry and Paragraphs: a 16-Week Course of Integrated Literature, Research, and Paragraph Writing for Middle School and Early High School

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Course Content

This course will introduce some of the common conventions in poetry from

ancient times to the present, with an emphasis on understanding poetry. The ultimate goal of the course is to help students to understand and appreciate poetry written in a wide array of styles. As with any introductory course, this course will not

Skills Needed Prior to the Course

This course assumes a knowledge of basic grammar. Students who do not yet know the parts of speech should master grammar basics before attempting this course. The material is appropriate for junior high students with good grammar skills; I have taught this material to young people in grades 5-9.

Organization of the Course

The first part of the course will cover conventions used in all poetry, such as imagery, comparison, and intentional line breaks. Students will memorize poems chosen by their families and complete exercises designed to help young people understand how poems work. Poems examined in this portion of the course will include Asian forms, contemporary free verse poems, and poems from various recent and ancient sources including the Bible.

In the second portion of the course, students will study rhyme scheme, rhythm, and other aspects of formal poetry. Students will continue to memorize poems and complete exercises. This portion of the course will focus on formal poetry.


I have designed the course with the assumption that students will work for FOUR days a week on this course: one day of confering with the teacher plus three days of homework, for a total of 3-5 hours of work per week, depending on the level of the student.

Each student should maintain a 3-section notebook for this course. Arrange the sections as follows:




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