1. Topic-
An Introduction to Meter, part I
 
2. Content-
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) (CCGPS) (LA09_A2012-4/ELACC9-10RL4)
´éč analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time
(e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise (CCGPS) (LA09_A2012-5/ELACC9-10RL5)
 
3. Goals: Aims/Outcomes-
1. Students will know definition of iambic pentameter.
2. Students will know how meter contributes to meaning.
 
4. Objectives-
1. Students will be able to scan up to three lines of poetry.
2. Students will be able to identify iambic pentameter.
 
5. Materials and Aids-
Whiteboard or ActiveBoard.
Speakers.
 
6. Procedures/Methods-

A. Introduction-

1. W/U: What makes one rapper's "flow" better than another?
2. Today's promise: in the next hour, you'll acquire the following superpowers:
a) The ability to determine why one song or artist "flows" better than another
b) The ability to use that secret to write hit songs!
c) The ability to find hidden messages *inside* songs and poems. Amaze your friends!
3. Prerequisite: Can you count syllables? Try it with your elbow on your desk and your chin in your hand.
 

B. Development-

Step 1. Accents: Why does it sound funny when I put the accent on the wrong syllable? Because all words have natural emphasis. Try to identify the following words: BAnana, baSMENT, freSHMEN.

Step 2. Some single syllable words are "stronger" in a sentence than others. This is called METER. Finding the "strong" words is called "scansion." How would you scan (out loud): "I don't think he should get that job."? [Teacher puts an accent mark over each "stressed" word, ie I, think, get, job.] Do these versions change the meaning?

*I* don't think he should get the job.
Meaning: Somebody else thinks he should get the job.

I *don't* think he should get the job.
Meaning: It's not true that I think he should get the job.

I don't *think* he should get that job.
Meaning: That's not really what I mean. OR I'm not sure he'll get that job.

I don't think *he* should get that job.
Meaning: Somebody else should get that job.

I don't think he *should* get that job.
Meaning: In my opinion it's wrong that he's going to get that job.

I don't think he should *get* that job.
Meaning: He should have to earn (be worthy of, work hard for) that job.

I don't think he should get *that* job.
Meaning: He should get another job.

I don't think he should get that *job*.
Meaning: Maybe he should get something else instead.

Emphasis, or stress, is IMPORTANT! It can change meaning. In poetry, however, you have to go with the most "natural" reading. You can't assume any of the special stresses above. That's part of the rules!

Step 3. Introduce Iambic Pentameter. Shakespeare and other poets often use a special meter. It's called "Iambic," but don't worry about why yet. To get the feel for iambic meter, put your hand over your heart and tap out a heartbeat rhythm [Teacher taps out da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM].

Now watch me scan a line from Romeo and Juliet. [Teacher scans an iambic line from Romeo and Juliet]
Each "Iamb" is a heartbeat. [Teacher draws bracket under each iamb] How many heartbeats do we have? [Answer: 5]

QUESTION: why would Shakespeare write nearly all of Romeo and Juliet in the rhythm of a heartbeat?

Scan the following lines from Romeo and Juliet [Teacher can put students in groups or have them scan on the board]

Possible Step 4: Contrast Iambic meter with Dactylic Meter: "Never do that thing you did again!" Iambic is the natural rhythm of speaking, Dactylic is the natural rhythm of shouting.

Example: when your parents yell at you, do they use iambic or dactylic meter?

Example: when prison inmates walk normally, they walk iambically. When violence is imminent, they walk dactylically (pacing).

 

C. Practice-

Task 1. Groups scan iambic lines from "Romeo and Juliet" and share.

Teacher corrects and analyzes lines. Could the students find the heartbeat?

Task 2. Groups scan non-iambic lines from minor characters in Romeo and Juliet.

Teacher will need to encourage students not to try to shoehorn the lines into iambic meter.

Why is THIS character written in prose, and the first character written in iambic pentameter? Class can discuss.

Task 3. Teacher presents students with line from "You don't know you're beautiful" (One Direction). Their assignment is 1) to scan the line and 2) figure out WHY it's written the way it is.

You're insecure, don't know what for. You're turning heads when you walk through the do-o-or.

[Teacher plays song, students have the duration of the song to scan and analyze. At the end of the song, representatives from each group scan the lines on the board in whatever fashion the teacher prefers. Teacher leads discussion. 1) Why would the writer of the song use a "heartbeat" meter? 2) Where are the heartbeats? 3) Where is the meter "broken"? 4) Have you ever felt your heart "skip" a beat when you saw that "special someone"? 5) Can you see why the writer would build this rhythm in?
 

D. Independent Practice-

Task 1. Groups find the rhythm in another selection from "Romeo and Juliet"

Purpose: to reinforce learning.

Task 2. Students selected randomly scan an iambic line on the board.

Purpose: formative assessment (can only one student in each group scan?)

Possible Task 3: Pair students by disparate ability and have them peer-tutor.

Possible Task 4: Groups or pairs scan non-iambic lines to reinforce that not ALL lines in ALL kinds of poetry are iambic.
 

F. Checking for understanding-

Assignment 1: Students define "iambic pentameter" in their own words.
Assignment 2: Students scan a sonnet (Sonnet 30?)

Assignment 3: Students write a note to the teacher in iambic meter.
 

G. Closure-

1. If you wanted to write a hit love song, what meter might you use, and why?
2. If you wanted to write an angry protest song, what meter might you use, and why?
 

This Lesson Plan is available at (www.teacherjet.com)