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Civil War Poetry Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In this lesson plan, students examine the Civil War poems of four prominent U.S. poets to determine differences in the their treatment of the war theme. Through a jigsaw activity, students share their findings with their peers.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • read poems of the Civil War era
  • identify facts about Civil War-era poets Emily Dickinson, George Henry Boker, Henry Timrod, and Walt Whitman
  • compare and contrast poets' views of the Civil War, as evident in their poetry

Length

60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.9

Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.

Materials

  • SMART Board or projector to display online lesson
  • copies of the Civil War Poetry: Famous Poems & Poets quiz worksheet (1 per student)
  • Copies of poems written during the Civil War by Dickinson, Whitman, Boker, and Timrod, including:
    • Emily Dickinson poems
      • 'It Feels A Shame To Be Alive (444)'
      • 'If Any Sink, Assure That This, Now Standing (358)'
      • 'They Dropped Like Flakes (409)'
    • Walt Whitman poems
      • 'Vigil Strange I kept on the Field One Night'
      • 'O Captain! My Captain!'
    • George Henry Boker poems
      • 'In the Wilderness'
      • 'Untitled Poem' (begins 'Blood, blood! The lines of every printed sheet…')
    • Henry Timrod poems
      • 'Ode Sung on the Occasion of Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead, at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S.C., 1866'
      • 'The Unknown Dead'
      • 'Carolina'

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