Choices We Make, a Poetry Lesson

“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”



Choices are important in our lives. Sometimes there are times we regret, there are times we pray for what we’ve chosen.

I have a group of mixed-ability students in grade 11 studying mostly languages. Some of them are not happy because that was not what they actually wanted but that was the only option to take.

I had a very disappointing lesson the other day and when I arrived home I thought what I could do for them to realize or do something for themselves until the next fork appears on the road they had chosen. And I decided to go to the class with a poem. Yes, I chose The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost as I thought with a little help, they would be able to understand the poem and we’d be able to talk about our decisions. To sum up, it was a great lesson. We all enjoyed it and I think they also revised their decisions or their attitudes towards their choices.

Now I’d like to tell you how I planned the lesson. First of all I found some very valuable lesson ideas on the poem and took some inspiration from them and I prepared one suitable for my students.

First I asked what the word ‘road’ meant. Then I asked what it could be used as a metaphor. We looked at the picture I chose as a warm up. ( If you search Google/Yahoo images as “Two Roads”, you’ll get some pictures of the woods that come to a fork)

The students described the picture and then I asked them what they would do if they were in this picture, how they would feel, how they would decide. The best part of the lesson was actually here and I hadn’t predicted that while preparing it. They talked about how they would be both nervous and excited. We talked about what they could encounter on the road, where these roads might take them.

Then we brainstormed words/ideas related with roads. I chose a recording of the poem on YouTube and told students to listen and jot down any words or phrases they heard/caught/liked.

After listening to the poem twice, I gave them the handouts and told them to read the poem and find if the words they had heard were really in the poem. Then we discussed the poem. We talked about if the poet was happy with his choice, if the poem was sad or happy or hopeful. Now I’m waiting for their bookmarks on the poem. They’ll use the ideas from here.

wordle created with AnswerGarden

wordle created with AnswerGarden

Tagxedo link of AnswerGarden words/phrases

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2 comments on “Choices We Make, a Poetry Lesson
  1. I am a student at the University of South Alabama, with the intent of graduating with a degree in Elementary Education. This post is fantastic. I believe it takes a great teacher to see the needs of her students and to be flexible and accommodating towards them so they will be successful in the classroom. It’s great that your students were so enthusiastic about the lesson plan you set up. It was obviously a boost that they needed. I hope that I will be able to see my students in the same light that you do. It is clear that you go above and beyond since you saw a problem in your students and immediately took the steps into changing their view and attitude toward your class. Thank you for the post!

  2. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am a Secondary Education/ English major. I am taking EDM 310 and have been learning about technology and students. However, it is the students that are the key part of our careers. In order for them to want to learn we must show them that we care and will do everything in our power to help them reach their goals even when they don’t see their true worth at times. Giving students the motivation they need to push forward is a skill set I wish to attain to be a better teacher for them. I really enjoyed your post and what you are doing for your students. Plus, I love Robert Frost. Thank you for your time

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