Let's TWIST: Tone, Word choice, Imagery, Style, and Theme

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SWBAT analyze all of the elements that help convey the theme of a poem and develop a theme paragraph by using the TWIST strategy to do a close reading and analytical writing on a poem.

Big Idea

Students TWIST it out by drafting thesis statements using a close reading organizer (TWIST)

Do Now

5 minutes

For the "Do Now today,  I will  have the following terms listed on the board: Tone, word choice, imagery, style, and theme.  For any definitions they don't know,  I am asking them to take notes from the glossary of literary terms in their text books.

I am choosing to do this "Do Now" because they will need to know these terms in order to analyze the poem in our lesson today.  My students will need to be able to determine the meaning of words and phrases CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4 before they are ready to do any deeper analysis and analytical writing.


5 minutes

During this section of the lesson, I will tell students that we will be using a close reading strategy today called the TWIST strategy. I first check for understanding by asking which terms students needed to look up and take notes on (in the "Do Now".) After clarifying understanding of any of the terms, I direct students to draw the TWIST chart on a sheet of notebook paper. I explain that we will work on the first and middle sections (TWIST elements and textual evidence) of the chart first before digging in to the third column. As I mentioned in the "Do Now" this is an opportunity to understand the meaning of the words in the text CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4 before going into any deeper level analysis, but we will be "swimming in the deeper end of the pool" by the end of the lesson. First, we need to be able to understand the terms before using the strategy to analyze a text.

Building : Modeling TWIST strategy

10 minutes

For this section of the lesson, I will ask students to do a cold reading of the first stanza of "Song of the Open Road," by Walt Whitman." After a couple of minutes, I ask them to turn and talk to the person next to them about what they think the poem is about. As they talk, I'll encourage them to discuss the poem in terms of tone, word choice, imagery, style, and theme. As they are talking I walk around and listen, taking notes and asking questions to further probe their thinking.

I chose to have students read this poem because it is one that fits well with the theme of the quarter: The Search for Identity. It is also a great poem to pair with the other poem that they will read on their own, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost because they have similar themes.

Next, I  will model how to do a closer reading of the Whitman poem using the Model of Twist Chart .  We will complete the first and middle columns of the organizer before we begin to work on the third column. I'll model the completion of all of the first and middle columns (for this poem) and one of the third column. For example, I'll model how the tone of the passage helps convey the theme of the text. The modeling is important here because often teachers have an idea of an acceptable response on a particular task, but students will be unaware of the expectations for the response. Modeling an acceptable response and providing guided practice eliminates any ambiguity about what their responses should look like.

Here's a hint that I will share with my students: The third column will include information from all three columns. It will include the twist element, textual support and and explanation of how it all ties back to the theme.





25 minutes

Now students will practice with a new text, "The Road Not Taken," by Robert Frost. I am having them work with this poem because I want to see if they can apply the modeling they saw with the other poem to a new poem that they have to figure out on their own. As I mentioned earlier, this poem is great to pair with the Whitman poem because they have similar themes.

For the next 20 minutes, I am having my students focus on identifying the tone, finding all of their textual support for all TWIST elements, and taking a stab at identifying the theme or central idea for "The Road Not Taken" (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2)

In this video, I outline the theme frame that I give my students for developing their theme statements.

For students that need help identifying the theme, here's a formula and a few tips:

  1. The theme does not have the word "you".
  2. The theme is not a command.
  3. The theme is a message/insight about life.

I'll say to students, "Use the following format if you are unsure of how to develop a theme statement":

  • Begin with an -ing verb: Taking
  • Followed by an abstract term: control of life
  • Use "may lead to" or "may result in": may lead to 
  • Add another abstract term: independence and invincibility
  • Theme statement: Taking control of life may lead to a feeling of independence and invincibility.

 As students work on the TWIST organizer, I'll take this opportunity to work with students that are struggling. I'll be giving feedback on their responses as I check in with all of the groups. I'll also ensure that they are providing a bit of an explanation for each of their pieces of textual evidence. Finally, I'll remind them to use my model in order to complete the chart thoroughly.



Building Knowledge: Modeling Thesis Statements

20 minutes

Next, I'll have my students work with a partner to select and complete two sections of column three in the organizer. Column three requires students to discuss how the TWIST element helps convey the theme. "ll be sure to remind students to use the model as a guide. The two elements they choose will be the focus of their paragraphs later in the lesson. (10 minutes)

After 10 minutes of work with their partner, I'll show students a model of a student paragraph written using the TWIST organizer. Again, the modeling is important here because students will know exactly what a well-written paragraph looks like.

I 'll annotate the paragraph, showing students how the theme statement is used to develop a thesis statement. When I annotate, I will be marking up each part of the paragraph that I want to see in the students' writing. In other words, I'll point out the textual evidence in the paragraph as well as the explanations of each piece of evidence to show how all evidence and explanations tie back to the theme. I will be underlining and/or labeling each part of the paragraph to model the expectations for their paragraphs. I'll also show students that all of the information in the paragraph comes from the TWIST organizer. All paragraphs must include evidence from at least 2 TWIST elements. This part of the lesson will be about 10 minutes.

For students that are unfamiliar with the term annotate, I will explain that annotating is a way of making sense of a piece of text by marking it up and noting the parts of it that help the reader make meaning. They will do lots of annotations this year of their own texts as well as those of other authors.

Just in case students need to refer back to it, I'll leave the annotated paragraph up on the board.

Application: Thesis Statements for "The Road Not Taken"

15 minutes

In this application section of the lesson, I will ask students to write their paragraphs explaining how two of the TWIST elements help convey the theme of "The Road Not Taken."  In this part of the lesson, students must have well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient details and quotes in their writing to support their assertions about the theme CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2b. This is our first crack at this type of writing this year, and their paragraphs will be evaluated using the PARCC rubric because I want them to have as many experiences as possible using the tool that will be used to assess their writing on standardized assessments.

As students are working, I will be working with a small group that might need extra support developing their paragraphs. I will also spend some time circulating the room, reading over their shoulders to assess how well they can determine a theme or central idea of a text CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2.



5 minutes

At the bottom of their paragraph, students will reflect on where they think their paragraph is strong and where it needs more work using the following frame:

The strongest part of my paragraph is __________________________ because___________________.

The weakest part of my paragraph is ___________________________ because_____________________.

I am choosing to end with this exit slip because it is a great way for students to self assess and a way for me to assess where they might need additional support for the next class. With this data, I can look at trends across the class as well.