Road Reflections

Lesson Plans

As a veteran English teacher I am cognizant of the fact that any teacher or professor of literature can write thought provoking questions concerning any given piece of literature. However, teachers of American literature, whether at the secondary or post-secondary level, know there are days when a few questions, printable and ready-to-go like the following, might be appreciated by teachers as well as students. 

"Valediction of a Crash Test Dummy" by William Tecku 
1. Define the following: "valediction," "kowtow," "dummy up"
    "personification," "irony," and "parallel structure."  
2. From what point of view is the poem written?
3. Why are the first two lines and the second stanza examples of irony?
4. What stanza uses parallel structure?
5. Using examples from the text, explain the poem's theme.
6. List three 20th century authors well-known for personifying
    "machines" to explore the conflict known as "man vs. machine."

"The Siwa Oasis" by William Tecku  
1. What is the setting of the poem?
2. How does the poem's setting relate to its theme?
3. The poem's last line is an example of what type of figurative language?
4. Compare and contrast the theme of another 20th or 21st century poem
    with the theme of "The Siwa Oasis." 

"Higher Math in Monroeville, Alabama" by William Tecku

1. List three important facts about Harper Lee and her best known novel. 
2. Define "extended metaphor."
3. How is extended metaphor used in the poem?
4. What is the tone of the poem?
5. Use examples from the text to explain your answer to #4.
6. Compare and contrast another "tribute" poem to this tribute poem.
7. What risks does a poet take by writing a "tribute" poem?

"A Midsummer's Night in Galway" by William Tecku  
1. The title of the poem alludes to what well-known play?
2. What writing technique is used in the poem's first line?
3. Explain how the poem's sentence structures affect its tone.

"National Geographic Covers 1985 and 2002" by William Tecku
1. Does the narrative voice in the poem seem authentic?
2. Use examples from the text to explain your answer to #1.

"Searching For Intelligent Life" by William Tecku

1. Write three "literary analysis" questions and their text base-ed answers     for this poem.

"After Goliath" by William Tecku
1. Define "satire."
2. List three examples of satire used in the poem.
3. Explain whether or not the uses of satire noted in #2 help communicate     the poem's theme?

"The Junk Man Cometh" by William Tecku
1. Define "imagery."
2. Define "theme."
3. What is the theme of the poem?
4. Use images from the poem to explain whether or not imagery
    in the poem helps to communicate the poem's theme.
5. How does the last adjective in the poem and the last sentence in
    the poem express the theme of the poem?

Teachers interested in using sports literature to help teach literary analysis and creative writing might consider sharing the following with their students:

1. The Natural by Bernard Malamud

2. "Baseball and Writing" a poem by Marianne Moore

3. Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

4. "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" by John Updike

5. "The Boxer" a short story by Jack London

6. "Who Killed Davy Moore" a song by Bob Dylan

7. "The Mexican" a short story by Jack London

8. "The Boxer" a song by Paul Simon

9. Sports in Motion edited by Noah Blaustein

10. "A Game of Catch" an essay by Roger Rosenblatt

11. Hummers, Knucklers, and Slow Curves: Contemporary Baseball
edited by Don Johnson

12. "Missoula Softball Tournament" a poem by Richard Hugo

13. "Who's On First" by Abbott and Costello

14. "Casey at the Bat" a poem by Ernest Thayer

15. "A Slugger's 9th Inning Dream" a poem by William Tecku