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Teaching Part 3 of The Poet X

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

Hello, everyone. We got another puppy and my life went off the rails. Here is the last post about what I did for part 3 of The Poet X, which I am sure will be very helpful to everyone now that the school year is over. Not that I am complaining. This year sucked. This post is a continuation of my earlier posts: The Poet X Opening, The Poet X Part 1, and The Poet X Part 2.

Day 1

Because my timing was so off this year, I didn’t get to finish all of The Poet X before winter break, so I wrapped up part 2 of The Poet X before winter break and then had to restart the book when we returned. I knew we would have to do a thorough review before moving forward so I dragged the kids through this Nearpod. (These are the original Google slides so that you can copy & edit).

Day 2

“Silent World” to “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”

Today I started by asking kids to recall what we did last class and to review some of the characters and plot twists in their mind, and then we started listening to part three of The Poet X. I played them a BUNCH of pages (at least 30), and at the time, I was concerned that it was too much, but it was fine. We listened to “Silent World” to “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and then completed this visual collage where students had to identify five important moments for the day’s reading, choose images to represent them, and then label them. After I gave them the directions, some kids got it and then others needed a template so I made them this.

Day 3

"Isabelle” through "The Mic is Open"

For today’s opening/icebreaker, my co-teacher and I asked the kids to put the name of a club they are part of or that they would like to join in the chat. The prompt specifically was: “What clubs are you a part of at school, and if you are not part of a club, what club do you wish we had at school?”

We asked them this because in Part 3, Xiomara finally decides to attend poetry club, where she meets some new characters. I used these slides to briefly introduce the characters to my students.

We then listened to pages "Isabelle" through "The Mic is Open" (255-280 in the book).

For the post-reading activity, I asked kids to complete a journal on Canvas. This was the prompt I used:

Choose 1 and respond in at least 100-150 words:

  • What is something that you would like to do or try? What is preventing you from doing it? How does this connect to Xiomara?

  • What is something that you waited a long time to try/do and then actually accomplished? How did it feel? How does this connect to Xiomara?

Day 4

“Invitation”- “The Waiting Game”

Today we started with “Character Bingo” to review the characters thus far. If I was on top of my game (which I am not), I would have made the Bingo chart for the kids (but I didn’t). This year, I gave the kids the list of characters in The Poet X, told them to sloppily draw a 5 x 5 grid on a sheet of scrap paper, and fill the character names in the blanks. After about 35 minutes, everyone was ready to go.

To play, I would describe a character from the book, and then the kids would have to cross off the name of the character that they thought I was referring to. Whomever got Bingo first had to read out their answers so that we could check and review. The winner got bonus points on the next quiz. I would post notes for you to use, but I must have done this all off the top of my head because I have no other notes on my unit plan other than “play character bingo.” I guess I was having a tired week.

After character Bingo, we listened to “Invitation” - “The Waiting Game”

-Once we listened to the section, I asked the kids to write their own concrete poem about something that makes them very happy. Here were the directions:

  • Get a sheet of scrap paper

  • Create a concrete poem about something that makes you happy. The poem should be about why the thing makes you happy.

  • Take a picture of your concrete poem and submit it to Canvas.

When they didn’t respond, I quickly drew a poem about dogs in the shape of a “dog” and held it up to the camera. Even though the kids wanted to pretend they hadn’t heard me assign this, they completed it and I got some of my favorite responses of the year.

Day 5

“The Good”- “My Mother Tries to Grab Me”

To start today’s lesson, I had the students write about a what a good day at school looks like. I gave them 10 minutes to write and submit to Canvas. They did not have to worry about punctuation or anything else.

In the next section of The Poet X, Xiomara is feeling good, and as a reader, you just feel that something bad is about to happen. I wanted to tune the kids into this, so before we started reading, I asked them to predict what might go wrong. I created a brief Google form, and had kids make a prediction.

Once everyone submitted on the Google form, I played the next set of pages: “The Good”- “My Mother Tries to Grab Me”

At the end of the section, Xiomara leaves home. I stopped the audiobook here and asked the kids to fill in another Google Form about where they think Xiomara went after she left home.

It wasn’t my best lesson but it got me through the day and the predictions helped to create some curiosity in the kids.

Day 6

"Returning" to "What I Say to Ms. Galiano"

To connect to the end of last class’s lesson, I started off by having the kids complete a journal about leaving home. Here was the prompt:

Journal: If you decided to leave your house after a big fight, who would you call? Where would you go? Why would you go to this person/place? (100 words)

I did not have the kids share out their journals, as it seemed too personal of a topic, but I wanted to have them do it so that they could connect to Xiomara in the next scene, when Xiomara leaves home and reaches out to a few people to help her. The section we listened to today was "Returning" to "What I Say to Ms. Galiano"

I had the kids complete a “3-2-1” activity after the reading, which is when, after reading, kids list three things they found out, two things they thought were interesting and one question they still had. This was the Google Form I created for it, but I don’t recommend it because it was not a concrete enough activity and the kids didn’t do great with it.

Day 7-Start Building Up to the Ending

At this point, we were finally homing in on the end of the book, but there was still a lot to talk about and it took a few more lessons to get across the finish line. Today was a “setup” day, where I tried to build background knowledge before getting into the last section of reading.

We started with the obligatory icebreaker for the day, which was for the kids to rate their weekend from 1-10 and share out why .

Then I moved on to the pre-reading lesson, which was focused on how to have a conversation with a parent that you don’t get along with. I focused on this because I wanted to give the kids some real world skills, and I wanted to give them a framework for analysis for the upcoming section of reading.

I walked the kids through a lecture on how to talk to parents, but the information on this Nearpod is word for word from this website:

I started the lecture by just asking them what they thought were some ways in which a person could go about having a conversation with a difficult parent and had them post on the Nearpod discussion board.

After that, I prompted the kids to listen as I briefly lectured and went through the rest of the slides on the Nearpod. I asked them to pay attention to tips that might be helpful for Xiomara.

Once I finished lecturing, we listened to the chapters “Going Home”- “Stronger” and I asked the kids to look for the techniques that Xiomara used to talk to her parents.

For the “after” reading activity, I asked kids to fill in this handout about how Xiomara talked to her parents and then write a paragraph summarizing their observations.

Day 8

At this point, I got super ambitious. I wanted my self-contained kids to do some of the higher level stuff that my AP kids were doing. I knew it would be hard for them because they haven’t had a lot of exposure to literary analysis, but I wanted to give them that chance and at least introduce them to the process.

This was my first attempt, with this book, in breaking down the analysis, and it was OK, but next year I will try to break this down into even smaller steps.

I started by teaching the literary devices that I wanted to focus on: repetition, anaphora, simile, imagery, and metaphor. I wanted to give the kids some softballs that would be easy for them to find in the text. I used this very hastily put together PowerPoint. In the past, every time I taught devices, I would make a nice PowerPoint and then lose track of it, so basically now I just slap a new one together every time. It takes two seconds and serves its purpose and I don’t have to spend too much time on it.)

After my lecture, we listened to the ending of the story and I ran out of time for the day, but I didn’t feel too bad about it because I knew this would be the first of a few readings of the ending.

Day 9

Analysis of Ending

We started today by playing a Kahoot in order to review the devices that I wanted to focus on (metaphor, simile, anaphora, repetition, and personification). This is the link to the Poet X Last Page Kahoot.

Next, I asked the kids to identify these devices on the last page of The Poet X, but I had them do it together on a Jamboard so that they could work together. I took a screenshot of the text and uploaded it to the Jamboard, and then I showed kids how to annotate it using the annotation tools.Here is what the Jamboard looked like when we were done working on it.

After working on the jamboard together, I asked kids to complete this Poet X Last Page Analysis by themselves, where they basically chose a line, and a device and talked about the effect it had in the story.

Day 10

Start Writing

Everything went crazy at this point because I got the genius idea to give the kids a menu of writing options, but because I had not taught this book before, I didn’t have any templates or outlines to use for the prompts, and I had to try and walk the kids through that stuff from scratch. It didn’t really work. The note that I left to myself on my unit plan was “DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN. START WITH ONE PROMPT, BUILD UP THE MATERIALS, AND THEN ADD MORE PROMPTS.” So, you can take this advice or do what I do and ignore it. I liked giving the kids options and my coteacher and I just ended up walking everyone individually through the process, but it wasn’t great. We only managed to swing it because we have very small class of 10 kids. I tried to do this same thing with my class of 28 and it didn’t work .

But the last few days of the unit, in general, were mini lectures about the writing process, followed by time to write and conference. I also threw in some examples of slam poetry just to make the start of the lesson a bit more interesting before I jumped into my lectures. Here are writing prompts for The Poet X.

Other Helpful Writing Materials

Poet X Outline

Next Time

I think one of my big misses in this unit was not exposing my kids to more slam poetry throughout, especially by Acevedo and amazing teenagers the same age as my students. So, I know that next year, if I get to teach this book again, I will most likely change a lot but I will definitely work to incorporate more slam poetry.

Here’s one to check out: “Afro-Latina” by Elizabeth Acevedo:

Feel free to post resources that you feel will be helpful to others in the comments section below.


Related Posts: Starting The Poet X

Teaching The Poet X Part 1

Teaching The Poet X Part 2

Some Angst-Filled Journal Entries From My First Year of Teaching

Related Items:

Multiple Choice Test for The Poet X (paid product)

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