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Magical Musical Tour

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Introduction

Literary elements and terminology are the vocabulary of literary analysis, and fluency with them is crucial to a student's ability to enter the conversation about literature. This is an entire unit on literary elements that should be taught over an extended period of time. It is most effective broken down and connected to literature the students are reading.

Learning Objectives
After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to:

  • Define and recognize literary elements
  • Identify literary elements in use in literature
  • Describe the authorial intent of figurative language

Preparation

  • If no document camera is available, make overhead transparencies
  • Gather songs
  • Make copies of ancillary handouts (Literary Elements, Characterization, Character Analysis Handout and Analyze your Own)

Notes

  • After completing the lessons in this unit, you may wish to use the Literary Elements Pyramid Game for review (instructions are in the Notes page of the first slide)
  • The Analyze your Own assignment (an ancillary handout) is an optional activity that you can assign one or more times throughout the lesson plan

Materials

All songs are available through legal download. Please obtain music legally. Alternately, you could have students view videos of the songs on a site such as Youtube.

Songs needed:

  • 100 Years by Five for Fighting
  • Annie's Song by John Denver
  • The Dance by Garth Brooks
  • I am a Rock by Simon & Garfunkel
  • Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin
  • Major Tom by Peter Schilling
  • Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
  • Someday by Steve Earle
  • Don't You Want Me? by The Human League
  • Breaking Us in Two by Joe Jackson
  • Higher Love by Steve Winwood
  • Please Come to Boston performed by Kenny Chesney
  • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
  • I Love L.A. by Randy Newman
  • Lullaby by Shawn Mullins
  • Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft
  • Brandy by Looking Glass
  • Richard Cory by Simon & Garfunkel
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band*
  • Ironic by Alanis Morissette
  • Don't Take the Girl by Tim McGraw
  • Higher by Creed

*obtain edited version

Other materials:

  • White boards (optional)
  • Rope/yarn

Lessons with coordinating songs

Introductory lesson:

  • 100 Years by Five for Fighting

Supplementary lessons:

  • Figurative Language Overview
  • Figurative Language:
    • Simile: Annie's Song by John Denver
  • Figurative Language:
    • Metaphor: The Dance by Garth Brooks and I am a Rock by Simon & Garfunkel
  • Figurative Language:
    • Imagery: Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft
  • Narration:
    • First Person: Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin
    • Third Person: Major Tom by Peter Schilling (also introduces suspense)
  • Conflict:
    • External: Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
    • Internal: Someday by Steve Earle and Higher Love by Steve Winwood
  • Compare/Contrast:
    • Don't You Want Me? by The Human League
    • Breaking Us in Two by Joe Jackson
  • Setting:
    • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
    • I Love L.A. by Randy Newman
    • Lullaby by Shawn Mullins
    • Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft
  • Character:
    • Protagonist/Antagonist: Brandy by Looking Glass
    • Foil: Richard Cory by Simon & Garfunkel
  • Plot:
    • The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band
  • Irony:
    • Ironic by Alanis Morissette
    • Don't Take the Girl by Tim McGraw
  • Allusion
    • Higher by Creed

Lesson 1: Introductory lesson

Discuss the importance of vocabulary. Show the quote from Michener (see below). Ask if students would want a brain surgeon to operate on them who said, "Oh, I'm going to use this thingamajig to cut a hole in your whatchamacallit."

  • Brainstorm professions or activities that have their own vocabularies.
  • Explain that literature is one of the domains that has its own vocabulary, and we all need to agree on the meaning of terms we use to talk about what we're reading.
  • Discuss how songs are literature because they are poetry. They have a rhythm, they often rhyme and they are a great place to find examples of literary elements and terms. Most songwriters would be ecstatic if they knew that you were looking at their songs this way, instead of just letting the words float in and out of your head randomly. You honor music when you view it this way.
  • Play 100 Years, showing overhead of lyrics without commentary.
  • Next, play it again, this time using the lyrics that have the commentary, pausing and discussing it as you go through.
"But always he lacked the essential tool without which the workman can never attain true mastery: he did not know the names of any of the parts he was building, and without the name he was artistically incomplete. It was not by accident that doctors and lawyers and butchers invented specific but secret names for the things they did; to possess the name was to know the secret. With correct names one entered into a new world of proficiency, became the member of an arcane brotherhood, a sharer of mysteries, and in the end a performer of merit. Without the names on remained a bumbler or, in the case of boatbuilding, a mere carpenter."

James Michener, Chesapeake

100 Years by Five For Fighting

I'm 15 for a moment,
caught in between 10 and 20.
And I'm just dreaming,
counting the ways to where you are.

I'm 22 for a moment,
and she feels better than ever.
And we're on fire,
making our way back from Mars.

15, there's still time for you,
time to buy and time to lose.
15, there's never a wish better than this,
when you only got a hundred years to live.

I'm 33 for a moment,
still the man, but you see I'm a they,
a kid on the way,
a family on my mind.

I'm 45 for a moment.
The sea is high,
and I'm heading into a crisis
chasing the years of my life.
15, there's still time for you,
Time to buy and time to lose yourself
within a morning star.
15, I'm all right with you.
15, there's never a wish better than this,
when you only got a hundred years to live.

Half time goes by,
suddenly you're wise.
Another blink of an eye,
67 is gone.
The sun is getting high,
we're moving on.

I'm 99 for a moment.
I'm dying for just another moment,
and I'm just dreaming,
counting the ways to where you are.

15, there's still time for you.
22, I feel her, too.
33, you're on your way.
Every day's a new day.
15, there's still time for you,
time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this,
when you've only got a hundred years to live.

Knowing the theme, who do you think the audience for this message is? Notice that there is a plot. What is the inciting incident, do you think? Is this a coming-of-age story (a bildungsroman)? If so, what is the shift from boy to man?

Lesson 2: Figurative language overview

Before introducing the songs that contain similes and metaphors, spend one lesson on the following figurative language introduction. Pre-assessment:

  • Give students a list of 10 examples of figurative language (on next page). The students will mark them as metaphor, simile or personification using the letters m, s or p.
  • Using a white board, read out the example and have students write the letter they chose on the board. Scan for correctness. Students getting nine or more correct will do the extension activity rather than the core activity. If you do not have individual white boards, use paper or verbal response.
Simile
Information with examples or model
  • Display lines from Shelley's Adonais:
    Life, like a dome of many-colored glass / Stains the white radiance of Eternity.
  • These lines are a simile: a comparison of two things indicated by the words like, as, than, or even a verb such as resembles. A simile expresses a similarity. For a simile to exist, the things being compared have to be dissimilar. It isn't a simile to say "your fingers are like mine" because that is a literal observation. It is true. But to say "your fingers are like sausages" is to use a simile.
Questions and/or activities
  • Display examples. Have students indicate "S" for simile or "NS" for not simile on white boards.
Metaphor
Information with examples or model
  • Display My love is a red, red rose.
  • A metaphor is a statement that one thing is something else, which, in a literal sense, it is not. Is my love really a rose? No.
  • A metaphor doesn’t use like, as , than, or verbs such as resemble. It will often use some form the verb to be.
Questions and/or activities
  • Show examples on overhead and have students indicate "M" for metaphor or "S" for simile on their white boards.
Personification
Information with examples or model
  • Display lines "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful."
  • Can death really be proud? When we give a thing, an animal, or an abstract term such as truth or nature human characteristics, we call that personification.
  • Display examples and have students indicate "M" for metaphor, "S" for simile, or "P" for personification on their whiteboards. (serves as assessment)
Synthesis
  • Now, we’re going to play "You’re the Poet." I’m going to give you a line, and you’re going to pick words to fit it, creating a metaphor, simile or personification.
  • Display prompts. Allow time for students to come up with words, and then have them share.

Mark each of the following as an example of metaphor (M), simile (S), or personification (P). When you finish, please turn your paper over.

____ 1. Like a thunderbolt he falls
____ 2. My love is like a red, red rose
____ 3. My mother is a witch
____ 4. Her love was stronger than rope
____ 5. Her presence was a roomful of flowers / Her absence is an empty bed
____ 6. He was as rich as Hades
____ 7. His words are honey to my ears
____ 8. His car is as ugly as sin
____ 9. This class is a bear
____ 10. My teacher is an angel

Mark each of the following as an example of metaphor (M), simile (S), or personification (P). When you finish, please turn your paper over.

____ 1. Like a thunderbolt he falls
____ 2. My love is like a red, red rose
____ 3. My mother is a witch
____ 4. Her love was stronger than rope
____ 5. Her presence was a roomful of flowers / Her absence is an empty bed
____ 6. He was as rich as Hades
____ 7. His words are honey to my ears
____ 8. His car is as ugly as sin
____ 9. This class is a bear
____ 10. My teacher is an angel

Simile
Life, like a dome of many-colored glass, / Stains the white radiance of Eternity.
(Shelley, Adonais)

  1. My love has red petals and sharp thorns.
  2. You're as mean as Hera.
  3. He's wonderful.
  4. This is taking longer than a 12-inning game.
  5. This room is as messy as a dump!

Metaphor
Oh, my love is a red, red rose.

  1. He is a pig.
  2. He eats like a pig.
  3. My son is as smart as a whip.
  4. My sister's boyfriend is a cow.
  5. She's a doll.

Personification
Death be not proud, though some have called thee /Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so —
(Donne, Death Be Not Proud)

  1. Beauty followed her through her life.
  2. My love is as endless as the sea.
  3. Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches on the soul.
  4. My mother is a princess.
  5. Spring stirs the soul.

You're the poet

I am as tired as a _________________.
My sister is a ____________________.
You're as cool as a ________________.
The computer ______________ at me.
This class is as ______________ as a ______________.
The rainbow _____________________.

Enrichment Activity

I. Simile and Metaphor: Identify the two things the poet is comparing and then describe what it is the poet thinks they have in common. Be specific. Place a star next to the example you think is most effective. Place a checkmark next to the example that you think has the most dissimilar subjects.

1. Think of the storm roaming the sky uneasily
like a dog looking for a place to sleep in,
listen to it growling.
— Elizabeth Bishop, Little Exercise

2. The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry of bugles going by. — Bliss Carman, A Vagabond Song

3. "Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches on the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
— Emily Dickenson

II. You're the Poet! Now you try it. Create an example of a simile, a metaphor and personification using the prompts given below.

1. Simile: My love is as __________________ as a _____________________.
2. Metaphor: School is a _________________________________________.
3. Personification: The fog _______________________________. (hint: begin with a verb)

Original Examples: Create a simile, a metaphor and an example of personification. See if you can use one of each of the following in your examples: a color, a season and an animal.

  1. Simile
  2. Metaphor
  3. Personification

Continue to Part Two (Lessons 3-6)