Let me plan your lessons this week

An exhausted teacher messaged me on IG yesterday, asking for help with lesson planning. My response? You go take a nap. I’ve got this.

I built this week’s plan as though I was leaving everything for a long-term sub. No long literature pieces. No expected prior content knowledge. No bell-ringers or other established classroom routines, like SSR Friday. Each day’s lessons are plug-and-play, if you will.

Also, this schedule is for a class that meets daily for 55 minutes. If you’re on a block, you’ll need to slide stuff around. Everything’s anchored to Common Core State Standards for English 9/10. To use with 11th or 12th, you might need to supplement and expect more depth in students’ work. Working with 8th grade? Expect to add scaffolding and slow your roll a bit; you might not get through everything.

As always, take my plans and do what you need to make them work for you and your students. I’ve laid a foundation upon which you can build your classroom plan.

Okay, let’s lesson plan!

Theme of the week: The bitter and the sweet of love (a bit of post-Valentine’s brain candy)

Begin with a lecture overview of why we should care about poetry and how to approach a poem. Have students complete the guided notesheet as you present the info.

After the lecture, have students work in teams of two to complete Know the Lingo, a worksheet where they’ll match poetry terms and definitions. Review answers when everyone’s done.

Launch the pop music meets classic poetry lesson. Begin by letting students know we’re going to look at how a couple of pop songs from back in the day use the writing conventions they just wrangled. Start by handing out the lyrics and playing the video for Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts.”

Ask what poetic conventions students notice in the song? Let them know we’ll continue with this compare/contrast activity tomorrow.

Continue the pop music meets classic poetry lesson. Students will analyze both “Stereo Hearts” and Robert Burns’ classic poem, “A Red, Red Rose.” Both poems use simile and metaphor to describe the feeling of falling in love. Next, students will compare and contrast The Script’s song, “Breakeven,” with Edmund Spenser’s “Sonnet 30,” as both works discuss the paradox of emotions that accompany a broken heart. Have students work through the question sets in small teams of two or three. Finish with a discussion of answers. 

For a more modern view of young love, introduce students to Hasan Minhaj, a comedian they might know from Netflix’s Patriot Act, The Daily Show, and his various stand-up routines. Show a current photo of him to jog their memories. Then, show a picture of him from when he was in high school. Have them listen to Minhaj’s audio story (14 min.) of love and heartbreak, called “Prom.”

As they’re listening, have them answer a set of guiding questions. When they’re finished, open the discussion up to the full class. Expect some heated opinions about question #13 (Should Minhaj forgive Bethany?) and question #16 (Can nice people be racists?)

Let students know we’re going to switch gears and focus on platonic love today. They’re going to become media critics as they examine multiple versions of O. Henry’s famous short story, “The Last Leaf,” a bittersweet tale of love and caring acts. First, they’ll listen to a 15-min. podcast and then they’ll go through a close reading of O. Henry’s original text. If time allows, there’s also an optional viewing of a 19-min. short film, though you might need to save that for the start of class tomorrow.

Let’s end the week on a sweet note. Use a current events worksheet to give students a tangible task to complete as they read a New York Times essay by Mandy Len Catron that’ll help them discover a scientifically proven way to help two strangers fall in love. (Note: You might need to create a free NYTimes account to read this or access via your local library’s subscription. This is the url: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/style/modern-love-to-fall-in-love-with-anyone-do-this.html)

If time allows, have students look over the list of 36 questions. What do they think it is about these questions that help facilitate love? (This is the url: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/style/no-37-big-wedding-or-small.html)

And that’s a wrap! Questions about any of these plans? Leave a reply below. I’m around to assist. You know, it’s been a while since I spent a Sunday morning in lesson planning mode…and I rather enjoyed it. Teach on, my friend!

Lollipop image licensed via CanvaPro.

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Sarah Aloise
Sarah Aloise
1 year ago

I love this weekly lesson plan and all of the materials you’ve chosen. It fits perfectly with my Romeo and Juliet unit. It makes me terribly sad, however, that I live in Florida and have been directed to teach “only from the district-approved textbooks.” Talk about a creativity zapper!

Laura Randazzo
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah Aloise

I’m so sorry your district is going in this direction, Sarah. It’s infuriating.

1 year ago

Hi Laura . . . I wish I still taught high school. Love this.

Laura Randazzo
1 year ago
Reply to  Kendall

You can always come back, Kendall… ?

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