Resource: Students' careful observations of the outdoors.
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.
- Warm-up: Face one corner or wall of your classroom. Look carefully at the floor level and write down what you notice. Repeat this noticing and writing at eye level and at the ceiling level.
- Before Reading the Poem (individual writing and pair share): Depending on what your teacher assigns, either sit outside your school or your home and repeat the noticing activity you completed in your classroom, paying attention first to what is at ground level, then to what is at eye level, then to what is above your head. Does anything you see tell you that winter is approaching? How does what you notice make you feel? Share what you noticed, and your response to it, with a partner.
- Reading the Poem: Read the poem silently, then record the words, phrases, and structures that jump out at you.
- 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.
- Small-group Discussion: What strong images did you find in the poem? Why do you think the poet chose these images?
- Whole-class Discussion: How do the images in the poem make you feel about the coming of winter? What images, in particular, seem to evoke particular feelings?
- Extension for Grades 7-10: Using the images you noticed outdoors, write a poem that could evoke how you feel about the coming of winter.
- Extension for Grades 11-12: Use the resources on Poets.org to find out more about William Carlos Williams and the Imagist movement in poetry. Write an essay about the history of the Imagist movement, giving examples to show why you think this movement was important.
More Context for Teachers: “Imagism was born in England and America in the early twentieth century. A reactionary movement against romanticism and Victorian poetry, Imagism emphasized simplicity, clarity of expression, and precision through the use of exacting visual images.” Read more about the history of the Imagist movement.