lesson plan

Teach This Poem: "The Carolina Wren" by Laura Donnelly

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Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is written by our Educator in Residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, and is available for free via email.

Featured Poem

Carolina Wren, from the American Bird Conservancy

Classroom Activities
  1. Project the image of the Carolina Wren and play its song.  (Do not mention you are playing its song.) Ask your students to write down what they notice in the order that they notice it. Project the image and the song again. Ask your students to follow the same procedure.
  2. Ask your students to turn and talk with a partner about what they noticed first. What was the last thing they noticed? Then hold a whole-class discussion to see what most people noticed first and last. If no one mentions the sound of the wren, play the call of the wren for them.  What do they notice about the call? What associations do they have with the call?
  3. Project “The Carolina Wren” by Laura Donnelly so all your students can read it silently. Ask them to write down words and phrases that jump out at them.
  4. Ask one student to read the poem aloud to the class. Ask the listeners to jot down what jumps out. Ask a second student to read the poem aloud. Have your students write down new things they hear in the poem.
  5. What associations does Laura Donnelly make with the sound of the wren?
  6. Why do your students think she is “Pinned and spinning in the sound of it?”