Dead Poets Society: Creative Writing Lesson Plan – Thursday 6/13/13

Yesterday we watched Dead Poets Society and wrote and shared abut what the movie meant to each of us, as well as what we learned about poetry from the film.

Recommended Reading: Dead Poets Society [Mass Market Paperback] N. H. Kleinbaum (Author)
Recommended Reading: Dead Poets Society [Mass Market Paperback]
N. H. Kleinbaum (Author)

Todd Anderson and his friends at Welton Academy can hardly believe how different life is since their new English professor, the flamboyant John Keating, has challenged them to “make your lives extraordinary!  ” Inspired by Keating, the boys resurrect the Dead Poets Society–a secret club where, free from the constraints and expectations of school and parents, they let their passions run wild.  As Keating turns the boys on to the great words of Byron, Shelley, and Keats, they discover not only the beauty of language, but the importance of making each moment count.

But the Dead Poets pledges soon realize that their newfound freedom can have tragic consequences.  Can the club and the individuality it inspires survive the pressure from authorities determined to destroy their dreams?

While we are discussing cinema and the connections that all art forms have to each other and to creative writing, here are some interesting links:

10 Great Movies Based on Poems


We’re all pretty comfortable with the idea of movies based on books — fiction, nonfiction, and even self-help books — but what about books of poetry? Last week, Open Culture posted a fascinating film based on the poetry of Sylvia Plath. While it might seem surprising to see a film based on a poem, it’s actually probably a lot more common than you think. To prove it, find ten great films based on poetry after the jump. Don’t see your favorite? Add it to the list in the comments.

And here are Films for Poetry Month:


A lot of the time, real poetry gets a bad rap. It’s foisted on teenagers in high school English classes, most of whom have no idea why they’re reading it, and who are excited to put it permanently behind them. Or at least, that was my experience.

Poetry, however, doesn’t all suck. And in fact, this month is officially National Poetry Month, which celebrates the best works by both living and dead poets. (Yes, there still are people writing serious poetry — and it isn’t all penned by “anonymous” or ideally suited to church.) So if you haven’t read a poem since looking at “The Red Wheelbarrow” when you were 15, now is a perfect time to give it a second chance. Poetry, after all, may be a dying art, but knowing a thing or two about it can still make you look like a badass.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, what follows is a list of poetry-related movies. Maybe you’ve seen them, maybe you haven’t, but chances are you haven’t read everything by all the poets they depict. So this April, watch a movie, read a poem, and impress a girl or boy.

One of my favorites is A Knight’s Tale (2001)

With Heath Ledger’s death in 2008, this film will always be remembered as one of the star’s funnest and most adored works. Yet, it’s also important to remember that the film is possibly the most entertaining depiction of Chaucer in all of cinema. In the film, Chaucer is basically Ledger’s PR man, giving rousing speeches before violent tournaments. In real life, Chaucer is perhaps the first person ever to write poetry in actual English. He wrote The Canterbury Tales about a bunch of pilgrims, which along with his other works helped turn English into a formal, normalized language. Of course, none of that is shown in A Knight’s Tale, but the film at least portrays the poet as a man with a propensity for eloquence.

We will conduct the following  Poetic Devices Activities

Poetic Devices Worksheet – Help students reinforce their skills with onomatopoeia, rhyme, rhythm, repetition, alliteration, and consonance. Students identify the techniques and explain their answer.
Poetic Devices Worksheet RTF
Poetic Devices Worksheet PDF
Preview Poetic Devices Worksheet in Your Web Browser

Poetic Devices Lesson – Teach students about the sounds of poetry with this PowerPoint slide show. Covers onomatopoeia, rhythm, rhyme, repetition, alliteration, and consonance.
Poetic Devices Lesson PowerPoint
Preview Poetic Devices Lesson in Your Web Browser

Poetic Devices Illustration Project – Students will define poetic devices and create an example showing understanding. They will then illustrate their examples. Great artifacts for displaying on a bulletin board.
Poetic Devices Illustration Project RTF
Poetic Devices Illustration Project PDF
Preview Poetic Devices Illustration Project in Your Web Browser

Looking For More Reading Worksheets?
Figurative Language Worksheets
Theme Worksheets
All Reading Worksheets


This worksheet on poetic devices is the quiz:

Identifying Poetic Devices Worksheet – Students identify poetic techniques and uses of figurative language in examples from poetry and speech. Also, students should explain their answers. 4 pages – over 25 problems.
Identifying Poetic Devices Worksheet RTF
Identifying Poetic Devices Worksheet PDF
Preview Identifying Poetic Devices Worksheet in Your Web Browser
View Answers


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