Hi, Dr. Louis,
I have taken a few seminars with you over the years, and I have been using the literary response packet to analyze the Native American song “Song of the Sky-Loom,” but the students get confused with “What do the characters do?” and “What happens in the story?” because it isn’t a story. Is there a Prewriting Response to Literature for poetry? I cannot find one and will keep adapting the sheet if I need to.
Instructions: Write your paragraph using your graphic organizers and colored pens. Then color-code and label each of these sentences according to the Jane Schaffer paragraph format.
Prompt: Native Americans often write songs and tell stories that describe their religious beliefs and view of the world. In “Song of the Sky Loom,” the poet’s imagery portrays Mother Earth and Father Sky’s relationship to the world and people. Read “Song of the Sky Loom” carefully. Then, in a one-chunk (1:2+) paragraph show how the Tewa poet’s imagery explains the Gods’ care of the Earth.
Thank you for your excellent question. The example on the Response to Literature’s graphic organizer, titled “Gathering CDs and CMs” is just a sample. What you want to do for your prompt is to replace “What do the characters do?” and “What happens in the story” with What images are in the poem?
- Ask the students to first find and underline (in red) the images that relate to the prompt regarding “God’s care of the Earth.”
- Make sure the students focus on one image at a time, narrowing their decision to 3-4 words for each image.
- I tell the students, “Find the nuggets that support the prompt’s task!”
- “garment of brightness”
- “that [they] may walk fittingly”
- Then, on the analog (hard copy) or digital graphic organizer (jswponline.com), show the students how to list those quotations and embed them into their writing.
- Example: The speaker prays to “Mother the Earth” and “Father the Sky” to create a “garment of brightness” (Tewa Oral Tradition).
- Or, if I want to use both Concrete Details (CDs) listed, I might write something like this: The speaker prays to “Mother the Earth” and “Father the Sky” to create a “garment of brightness” to clothe the speaker’s people so that they “may walk fittingly” among the nature scenes described in the prayer (Spinden).
- Once the students determine the CDs (in this case, images in the poem), then, in the lower half of that particular graphic organizer, the question should be about tone. What is the tone that is derived by these images? Melancholy, Urgency, and Tranquility. List adjectives. Tone words.
- “garment of brightness” (tone of reverence, awe)
- “may walk fittingly” (tone of humility, respect)
- Determine which is the best tone word — mark it as “TS” for Topic Sentence. What are two Commentary (CM) words (make sure they are on different tone lines — sad; happy; calm; angry. You don’t want redundancy!
- TS = Reverence
- CM1 = Awe
- CM2 = Humility
For the WOW charts (See Graphic Organizer):
- CM word;
- Clouds – Phrases.
Concluding Sentence (CS): Ask yourself this question to create a concluding sentence: how does the sentence of CDs and the tones derived from the CDs contribute to the overall meaning of the poem? You might have left over CMs on the WOW charts that could answer that question.
Whatever your prompt is, Susan, you “weave” it into the graphic organizers.