Lesson plan WW Learn'd Astronomer

Robin A. Welsh
English III Enriched Lesson Plan
TEKS Lesson Plan
Texarkana Independent School District
Teacher: Robin Welsh
Grade: Grade 11
Subject/Course: English III Enriched
Time Frame: 45 to 55 minutes
Lesson Plan Number: 86
Topic/Process: Poetry of Walt Whitman I
“I Hear America Singing”
“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”
Textbook: Glencoe Literature: The Reader’s Choice, Texas Edition, pages 402- 405
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS):
(7) Reading/comprehension. The student comprehends selections using a variety of strategies. The
student is expected to:
(A) establish and adjust purpose for reading such as to find out, to understand, to interpret, to
enjoy, and to solve problems;
(B) draw upon his/her own background to provide connection to texts;
(C) monitor his/her own reading strategies and make modifications when understanding breaks
down such as by rereading, using resources, and questioning;
(D) construct images such as graphic organizers based on text descriptions and text structures;
(E) analyze text structures such as compare/contrast, cause/effect, and chronological order for
how they influence understanding;
(F) produce summaries of texts by identifying main ideas and their supporting details;
(G) draw inferences such as conclusions, generalizations, and predictions and support them with
text evidence and experience;
(H) use study strategies such as note taking, outlining, and using study-guide questions to better
understand texts; and
(I) read silently with comprehension for a sustained period of time.
(8) Reading/variety of texts. The student reads extensively and intensively for different purposes and in
varied sources, including American literature. The student is expected to:
(A) read to be entertained, to appreciate a writer's craft, to be informed, to take action, and to
discover models to use in his/her own writing;
(B) read in varied sources such as diaries, journals, textbooks, maps, newspapers, letters,
speeches, memoranda, electronic texts, and other media;
(C) read American and other world literature, including classic and contemporary works; and
(D) interpret the possible influences of the historical context on literary works.
(9) Reading/culture. The student reads widely, including American literature, to increase knowledge of
his/her own culture, the culture of others, and the common elements across cultures. The student is
expected to:
(A) recognize distinctive and shared characteristics of cultures through reading; and
(B) compare text events with his/her own and other readers' experiences.
(10) Reading/literary response. The student expresses and supports responses to various types of texts.
The student is expected to:
(A) respond to informational and aesthetic elements in texts such as discussions, journal entries,
oral interpretations, enactments, and graphic displays;
(B) use elements of text to defend, clarify, and negotiate responses and interpretations; and
(C) analyze written reviews of literature, film, and performance to compare with his/her own
(11) Reading/literary concepts. The student analyzes literary elements for their contributions to meaning in
literary texts. The student is expected to:
(A) compare and contrast aspects of texts such as themes, conflicts, and allusions both within and
across texts;
(B) analyze relevance of setting and time frame to text's meaning;
(C) describe the development of plot and identify conflicts and how they are addressed and
(D) analyze the melodies of literary language, including its use of evocative words and rhythms;
(E) connect literature to historical contexts, current events, and his/her own experiences; and
(F) understand literary forms and terms such as author, drama, biography, myth, tall tale, dialogue,
tragedy and comedy, structure in poetry, epic, ballad, protagonist, antagonist, paradox, analogy,
dialect, and comic relief as appropriate to the selections being read.
(12) Reading/analysis/evaluation. The student reads critically to evaluate texts and the authority of sources.
The student is expected to:
(A) analyze the characteristics of clearly written texts, including the patterns of organization,
syntax, and word choice;
(B) evaluate the credibility of information sources, including how the writer's motivation may affect
that credibility; and
(C) recognize logical, deceptive, and/or faulty modes of persuasion in texts.
TAKS: 1, 2, 3,
Enduring Understandings/Generalizations/Principles
The student will understand:
Free Verse
Whitman chose free verse and bold language to mirror his view of
the new freedom and new ideas of America.
Whitman’s use of repetition emphasizes the tedium of scientific
figures and charts in “Learn’d Astronomer.”
Sequence of Activities (Instructional Strategies):
Journal focus: Think about your friends, family, teachers, or even yourself. What kind of spirit do you see in
each? Are they pessimistic or optimistic? Discuss responses and extend the question to whether people in
the United States seem generally optimistic or pessimistic. Tell them that Whitman writes about the spirit he
saw in our country and people. Share this quote from Whitman “The United States themselves are
essentially the greatest poem.” Discuss what students think he might mean.
Discussion: Talk with students about Whitman’s basic biographical information, his involvement with the
Civil War and conditions in the U.S. after the Civil War.
Activity: Students read both poems silently then listen as volunteers read or to an audio recording.
Discussion: Have students examine Whitman’s use of free verse and repetition in the poems. Review the
concept of parallelism present in “Learn’d Astronomer” and make sure that students can identify it. Make
sure that students understand that Whitman is suggesting the tediousness of the lecture and the passivity of
the student compared with the workers in “America Singing”
Using a graphic organizer allow partners to compare Whitman’s attitude toward the workers in “America
Singing” and the astronomer in “Learn’d Astronomer.” Ask them to use specific details and plan to share
with the class.
Assessment of Activities:
Class participation
Graphic organizer
Journal response
Prerequisite Skills:
How to draw and use a graphic organizer to compare/contrast material.
Key Vocabulary:
Materials/Resources Needed:
Glencoe Audio Library
1. Pair students for work with the graphic organizer.
Differentiated Instruction:
1. Research the work environment at the time Whitman wrote “I Hear America Singing.” Prepare a speech
summarizing what you have learned an present it to the class.
Sample Test Questions:
1. In “I Hear America Singing,” the songs are different because of the singers
a. ages.
b. goals.
c. sex.
d. jobs.
2. Compare and contrast the effect on the poet/speaker by the lecture/nature in “When I Heard the Learn’d
Teacher Notes:
There is a wonderful short film about Walt Whitman’s life and his poetry available from the Region 8 Service
center. You will probably want to preview for suitability before showing to your class.
Project developed and delivered through a Collaborative Research Grant between Texarkana
Independent School District and TAMU-T Regents’ Initiative.