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Lesson Plan

Exploring Change through Allegory and Poetry

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Exploring Change through Allegory and Poetry

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Leah Rife-Frame

Cambridge, Ohio


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Change is an inevitable part of life the challenges many young adults. Understanding and accepting change are key components in career and future planning. In this lesson, students explore the theme of change through allegory and poetry by reading an example of literary allegory and creating their own pictorial allegories. Students first define allegory and complete a pictorial allegory—or "me tree"—that displays phrases describing their interests, trails, and dreams on outlines of their hands. Next, they read and discuss a text, such as Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree or Sandy Stryker's Tonia the Tree that addresses change, and then review basic literary concepts as they complete a literary elements map and plot diagram. Finally, students further explore change, and what it means to them, as they write diamante poems related to the theme of change.

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Diamante Poems: Using this online tool, students read about and see examples of diamante poems and then create and print poems of their own.

Literary Elements Mapping: This online tool can be used by students to create a character map, conflict map, resolution map, or setting map, for stories they are reading or writing.

Plot Diagram
: Students can use this open-ended online tool to graph the plot of any story.

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In her book Risking Intensity: Reading and Writing Poetry with High School Students, Judith Rowe Michaels writes that "poems...create a sense of community" (4). The act of sharing poetry widens that sense of community within a classroom and can help students recognize commonality among people from different groups.

The author also reflects that, "Reading and writing poems can help us discover profound truths we didn't realize we knew . . . so we really begin to see a new world" (3). By reading and writing poems therefore, students can gain a better understanding of the idea of change. After reading a poem that focuses on change, and then creating their own poems on the same theme, students further explore theme, structure, and poetic forms.

Further Reading

Judith Rowe Michaels. 1999. Risking Intensity: Reading and Writing Poetry with High School Students. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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