Leaves of Grass Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Help students navigate the Walt Whitman's poems in the collection 'Leaves of Grass' with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson on the book, discuss and analyze poems, then do a project and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the organization of Leaves of Grass.
  • Analyze poems in Leaves of Grass.


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the lesson Leaves of Grass: Summary & Quotes, one for each student
  • Copies of Leaves of Grass, one for each student or small group
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one for each student

Key Vocabulary

  • Prologue
  • Biography
  • Self
  • Sexual
  • Collective

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Distribute copies of Leaves of Grass to students and give them five to ten minutes to browse.
  • After browsing, divide students into eight small groups, and have them share their thoughts and ideas about the book.
  • Discuss together what students noticed, asking:
    • What type of writing is found in Leaves of Grass?
    • How does it seem the book is organized?
    • Are there any poems that stand out to you? What are they?
    • Who is the author of these poems?
  • Allow students to share prior knowledge of Whitman, then preview vocabulary words.

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