Jasper Roberts - Blog

Skill Review with Walt Whitman

Hi everyone!

Today I crossed ONE thing off my to-do list, planning for 8th grade!

I planned out by week the whole year, and started gathering resources for each unit from the books, and then went in to focus on the my first week activity (after we do rules, etc...). Because I am looping with this group, we can kind of dive right in, and review/pick up where we left off last year. They also know my rules and everything, so it won't take as long to get in to a routine.

I decided this year to do the review of our main skills that we focus on during the year: Close Reading, Asking Questions and Question Types, and Shared Inquiry. I wanted to start off with a little bit of inspiration, so I'm going off-book (Eeek!) and starting with two poems by Walt Whitman. "O Me! O Life!" and "O Captain! My Captain!" Why these, you may ask? Well, I wrote my senior high school term paper on "Dead Poet's Society", so it's safe to say it has always been my go-to inspirational movie as a teacher.

We will be watching a video clip, doing a close reading of the two poems, asking questions, and completing a shared inquiry. I also searched for about two hours for a non-fiction text that they could close read when their group was not presenting, and decided on Mark Twain's letter to Walt Whitman. This will work out perfectly, because we read "A Life in Letters" and from Travels With Charley by Steinbeck. We will also be writing letters for their Informative/Explanatory writing component this quarter, so it will be a great model!

I uploaded this activity on TpT for free, so if you check it out, let me know what you think!
Introductory Unit with Walt Whitman


  1. Love Dead Poet's Society! I show it to my Support Class on finals day 'cus they don't have a final :) Cool idea!
    Tales of Teaching in Heels

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Thanks for stopping by! JW