Poetry and Motifs

English 8 students worked on their motif work for Nightjohn. We’ll be finishing up the novel shortly and using all the motif work to determine themes of the novel.

English I students worked on the new unit, which is an introduction to poetry. Many students had some misgivings. When completing a Pear Deck session on initial thoughts about poetry, students finished the sentence “When I think about reading and studying poetry, I…” with things like:

  • start to break down and cry as I realize that my grade is about to go the direction of the Titanic and hit the ground harder than a 747 that experienced an engine failure at 30,000 feet.
  • scream illiterately into a pillow while crying tears of poems, while Elmo’s World plays full-blast on my television.
  • want to die.
  • I want to slam my head against the wall.
  • get the need to shut my brain down.

Clearly, the students were apprehensive about starting.

We began by looking at some basic steps on how to understand a poem. We’ll be finishing it up tomorrow.


  • English 8 Studies: none.
  • English I Honors: 
    • write a summary of the poem on the back on the sheet, remembering that we’re just looking at what is happening in the poem, not what it means;
    • continue working on the short story final project;
    • begin working on the extra credit assignment (as needed).