formative assessment of Meter & Rhyme Scheme on

Name: _____________________________________
Date: __________________
Block: ____________
Poetry Day 2: Meter and Rhyme Scheme
Learning Target: I can explain how an author uses meter and rhyme to enhance meaning in a poem.
Think about a poem or song that is memorable to you – a song or poem that has either stuck with you a long
time or that you just can’t seem to get out of your head lately? Why has it stuck? Other than the
message/theme of the song/poem, what are its qualities that have lodged it inside your brain?
II. Flashback. Read Dudley Randall’s poem “The Ballad of Birmingham” and listen to the musical version
recorded by Bransen Edwards. Annotate the poem for uses of imagery by underlining or highlighting any
examples you find.
“Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall
“Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”
“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”
“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.”
She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.
The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.
For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.
She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?”
II. Meter. Mark the stressed and unstressed syllables in the first stanza of “Incident” by Countee Cullen.
Stressed syllable
Unstressed syllable
“Incident” by Countee Cullen
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.
How does Cullen’s use of meter help convey being the victim of prejudice?
III. Rhyme scheme. Mark the rhyme scheme of “Incident,” then answer the questions below.
What is the theme of this poem?
How does Cullen use rhyme scheme to help convey meaning?
IV. Formative assessment
What is one possible reason for Randall’s use of a abcb rhyme scheme in Randall’s “Ballad of Birmingham”?
Identify two instances in the poem where Randall deviates from the dominant meter. Explain the impact of
each exception.
How do the places where Randall breaks from his consistent rhythm help reveal the poem’s theme?
Standard A.3.d. Identify and interpret works in various poetic forms and explain how meaning is conveyed
through features of poetry, including sound, structure, graphic elements, and poetic devices.
Learning Target: I can explain how an author uses meter and rhyme to enhance meaning in a poem.
Formative Rubric
Completed, but
Try Again After
Some Help
Developing/ Need
More Practice
Competent/ Room
for Growth
Proficient/ You Got It
Exemplary/ Above and