Poetry Lesson Plan – Annotations

“A woman is not a potted plant.”


Wait, what? The look of confusion on my student’s faces was prominent as I stood in front of the class with Alice Walker’s poem, “A Woman is Not a Potted Plant” and asked them what they thought that title meant.

Poetry. It’s beautiful. It’s complicated. And students often struggle to grasp the deeper meaning.

One of the ways I find helpful to connect students to poetry is through annotations, but not the boring annotations, the ones that ask students to reflect, to think about their thinking, to relate the poem to their lives, and to look for both literal and metaphoric meanings.

This is a sample activity based on Alice Walker’s poem. It asks students to think about the literal meaning, their personal thoughts/predictions, literary devices, tone, and message.

For the full worksheet/activity, click [here].

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