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EDSITEment and College-Readiness: Bolstering literacy skills across the Humanities

Modeled using Carl Sandburg's "Chicago"
by EDSITEment NEH on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of EDSITEment and College-Readiness: Bolstering literacy skills across the Humanities

Modeled using a lesson on Carl Sandburg's EDSITEment's Guide to Bolstering Literacy across Humanities classrooms Chicago Carl Sandburg Reading Poetry Give your class a mini-lesson on how authors use figurative language to enhance their writing. Then, engage the class in a guided close reading of the poem in which students annotate the margins and mark instances of personification and apostrophe Ask students how Sandburg's use of figurative language makes Chicago "come alive" for the reader.


For further exploration of poetic devices, take students to the poetry glossary from the Academy of American Poets. Using Poetry to teach Historical Analysis Analyzing Historic Place-Based Documents Invite students to view a range of primary documents in order to build their historical knowledge of the time and place. This can be done by having students work alone or in pairs at computers; by printing the photos and hanging them on a classroom wall; or by creating "stations" in the classroom with 3-4 photos at each that students can rotate through. Sandburg's life in historic Chicago: Contextualizing the Poem Coupled with Sandburg's biography, the primary document analysis provides rigorous historical contextualization for students and can help teachers segue into reading the poem closely and critically.

Have students predict what Sandburg's attitude toward the city will be. These predictions should be argumentative and supported by their primary analysis of turn-of-the-century Chicago, as well as in their understanding of Sandburg's life. Reading Literature Embracing a Place: Emulating Sandburg in Writing This lesson can be used in Literature Arts classes as a vehicle for closely reading both fiction and informational texts.

The poem is rich with figurative language and can be used for teaching poetic devices, including personification and apostrophe.

Teachers may also wish to direct student attention toward Sandburg's brief biography, which offers historical context for the poem and can be used as a supplementary nonfiction text. Sandburg's poem can also be taught in a historical context, offering students insight into urban life and industrialization during the early 20th century.

Teachers may use Sandburg's biography to launch a discussion of turn-of-the century cultural history, using clues from Sandburg's own life to better understand his connection to Chicago.

Teachers may contextualize the poem by first asking students to conduct a primary document analysis with photos, film, maps, and written documents. Primary Document Analysis Photos: Ten photographs of Chicago from between about 1900 and 1925, many taken by staff photographers of the Chicago Daily News Films: Documentary films shot by Thomas Edison that show "the busiest corner in the world" in downtown Chicago as well as animals on their way to the slaughterhouse. From the Library of Congress. Maps: Interactive maps that show industrial and population growth in Chicago at this time. From the Encyclopedia of Chicago.
Primary text document: Short, accessible opinion piece by a New Yorker written for Harper's Magazine in 1892 about the vitality of Chicago Invite students to choose one document with which they will work more closely. Give students this PDF and move to a seat near their chosen document, then work with others who have chosen the same image to answer the questions on the worksheet.

Have students share their responses with the class as a whole. Have students think of a place they love and imagine criticisms that others might have about that place. Have students respond in writing to those criticisms, emulating Sandburg's response style as seen in his poem. This can be done in a free-write or as a poem.

Then, have students conduct research to find photographs and maps of their selected location, as well as an essay or article that describes the place. The research should be guided by specific self-generated question about a feature of the place that students wish to emphasize in an essay.

Have students build on these resources to write an original essay that persuades others to embrace their place. Have students share their essays in small groups, and conclude by asking volunteers to share theirs with the class. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL-10.4 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). CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, settings, events, and/or characters. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.1.0-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums, determining which details are emphasized in each account. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of information Corner of Madison and State Streets, Chicago Cattle Driven to slaughter This activity activity also aligns with the Common Core Standards for Reading History! This Lesson also aligns with the Common Core Standards for Reading History! Chicago Primary Documents for this lesson include: Students of history might wish to widen their investigation of attitudes toward and depictions of the American city by comparing Sandburg's poem to other works of art or literature created at the same time. For example, the New York Ashcan School of artists famously depicted New York City life with brutal but loving realism, while T.S. Eliot's 1922 poem "The Waste Land" envisions London as a sterile, soulless place.

Students can guide themselves through this lesson on their own using EDSITEment's interactive Launchpad at http://edsitement.neh.gov/student-resource/launchpad-carl-sandburgs-chicago-bringing-great-city-alive

For more information about Sandburg and the other Modernist poets, visit the EDSITEment-reviewed Academy of American Poets, Modern American Poetry, and the EDSITEment curriculum unit Introduction to Modernist Poetry.
For more content-rich humanities resources that align with the common core, see EDSITEment.neh.gov and click the link to our blog, Closer Readings. Extending the Lesson
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