Canada in 2016

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Lesson Introduction: 

In this lesson, students will be invited to annotate Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “England in 1819” with questions, comments, and connections (preferably on a whiteboard/smart board where the poem is projected, for a collaborative process.) Through discussing the results, students will explore the historical context of the poem and make connections to contemporary issues. The class will work to identify themes that emerged from their annotation/discussion of the poem. Lastly, students will be provided with a selection of articles on current events. Students will choose an event that is important to them as inspiration for writing their own poem addressing Shelley’s themes. Students should apply their own perspective and tonal approach to Shelley’s themes, bringing their own message to the conversation.

Learning Objectives: 

In this lesson, students will have opportunities to:

  • Read, annotate, and discuss a poem.
  • Work collaboratively to deepen understanding of the text.
  • Make connections between 19th Century poetry and contemporary issues.
  • Explore the context of a poem.
  • Apply understanding of the function of context to writing a poem about contemporary issues.
Materials and Resources: 

To teach this lesson, you will need:

  • England in 1819” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • projector
  • white board
  • dry-erase markers
  • a selection of articles on current events that parallel the political climate described in Shelley's poem (for example, the “starved and stabbed” populice) 
  • highlighters

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Poetry In Voice is a charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing, and recitation. All of our resources are available online for free. You may also use our resources if you reside outside of Canada.