Submitted by ehine on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:16

The following activities and questions are designed to help your students use their noticing skills to move through the poem and develop their thinking about its meaning with confidence, using what they’ve noticed as evidence for their interpretations. Read more about the framework upon which these activities are based.

  1. Warm-up (pair share): What will you be doing for the holidays, if anything?
  2. Before Reading the Poem (individual writing and pair share): Listen to “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays.” What do the lyrics tell you? How does the tempo of the music change over time? How does this change in tempo make you feel?
  3. Reading the Poem: Read the poem silently, then record the words, phrases, and structures that jump out at you.
  4. Listening to the Poem (enlist two volunteers to read the poem aloud): Listen as the poem is read aloud and write down any additional words and phrases that jump out at you.
  5. Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed while reading and listening to the poem. How does the speaker describe “the holiest of all holidays”? What does the song you listened to say about the holidays?
  6. Whole-class Discussion: How are the song and the poem similar yet different? Does either of these describe how you feel about the holidays?
  7. Extension for Grades 7-10: Write an essay, based on your discussions, about what makes a day a holiday for you. What kind of images would you use to let the reader know how you feel about your holiday?
  8. Extension for Grades 11-12: What is the rhyme scheme in the poem? Where does this rhyme scheme change? Why do you think the poet might have changed the rhyme scheme in the middle of the poem? How might this fit with what the speaker is saying about the “sudden joys” he describes? Write a poem (perhaps about the holidays) in which you start with a stable rhyme scheme and change it in the middle to make a point.

More Context for Teachers: In a panel from 2015, the poet Linda Gregerson shared the history of the sonnet form, from thirteenth-century Sicily onwards. Watch the video of this discussion.

Read more poems for the holidays.