“Voice” Poems

This is an activity variation that I’ve used with all the different arts at one time or another.  The focus is on understanding voice and point of view as students write a poem in the voice or from the point of view of a writer or character we study from specific texts.  

Grade Level/Age: 10th grade (15-16 years)

Curriculum Addressed: The focus of the curriculum is on critical thinking and rhetorical (voice, tone, mood, diction) or literary (characterization) analysis.

Process Goals: Students analyze a writer’s voice or persona, or a character from a text and create a poem as an extension of that persona or character.  Their poems demonstrate their understanding of the text. The poems can be used as an informal check-in for understanding or exit ticket, or can be used more formally for a final project.

Materials: Any source can be used with this activity.

Desired Understandings: Students will continue to home their analytical skills as they create poems from the persona of a writer or the perspective of a character from a text.

Procedure:

  1. Assign students a text to read.  
  2. After reading, students discuss and analyze a writer’s voice or persona, or a character from the text.
  3. In groups, pairs, or individually, students use create a poem from the persona of the writer or the perspective of a character from the text.
  4. Depending on the situation, students will either submit or recite their poems.  If they recite their poems, a discussion of their analysis and artistic choices will follow.

Standards:

Standard 2: Reading for All Purposes

  1. Literary and historical influences determine the meaning of traditional and contemporary literary texts.

Standard 3:  Writing and Composition

  1. Literary or narrative genres feature a variety of stylistic devices to engage or entertain an audience.
  2. Organizational writing patterns inform or persuade an audience.
  3. Grammar, language usage, mechanics, and clarity are the basis of ongoing refinements and revisions within the writing process.

Assessment:  I use our English Department’s AP Quick Write rubric to evaluate the groups finished project.  Because they are essentially making an argument with their poem (they are advancing an idea with evidence and explanation to an audience), the writing rubric reinforces both the content students are learning and the writing process at the same time.

Adaptions/Accommodations:  I expect all students to do their best in completing the assignment.  I could adapt the assignment, as needed, to accommodate students’ interests and abilities.