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Using the Jigsaw Method to Teach Students About Renaissance Poetry

By Kellie Hayden

In this lesson students will learn all about Renaissance Poetry by Ben Johnson, Andrew Marvell, Richard Lovelace, John Milton, Robert Herrick and other Renaissance poets by using the jigsaw method.

Getting Started

Using the Renaissance poetry jigsaw lesson will allow students to become an expert on one poet and then share what they know with theJigsaw from Wikimedia Commons originator unknown  rest of the group. As each group or "learning club" shares its expertise, students will learn about all five Renaissance poets.

Goal: Students will understand Renaissance poetry by studying Johnson, Marvell, Lovelace, Milton and Herrick or other teacher-selected Renaissance poets by completing the jigsaw activities.

Materials Needed: Poems by Johnson, Marvell, Lovelace, Milton and Herrick or other Renaissance poems chosen by the teacher. The teacher should select five different poets and one of their famous poems.

Steps for Completing the Jigsaw Lesson

Step 1 -- Assign students to "learning clubs." Groups should number five, and for fun, they can make up a team name. For an icebreaker, direct students to discuss their favorite song lyrics and why they like them. Ask the students to talk about any poetic devices that are used in their favorite lyrics. If poetic techniques have not been reviewed, a mini-lesson may be in order.

Select Renaissance Poet

Step 2 -- Tell the teams to have each member select one of the five poets: Johnson, Marvell, Lovelace, Milton or Herrick. Then, each team member should select a poem by the famous poet to read and share with the learning group. Students should be able to discuss two to five poetic techniques used in the poem: simile, metaphor, alliteration, consonance, rhythm, rhyme pattern, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, personification, repetition, etc.

Students Teach Students

Step 3 -- Students will then share the poem within the group. Each individual is an expert on a single poet and he or she then teaches the poem to the other learning club members. Everyone in the learning club must understand each poem and the poetic techniques used in each poem.

Step 4 -- Each team member will make up a four-question quiz on his/her poem. Each question will be written on a note card. The learning group members will share their questions with the group by playing a game or discussing the questions on all of the note cards.

Teacher Assessment

Step 5 -- The teacher will then create an assessment over the five poets and their poems using the note card questions and teacher-created questions.

Step 6 -- Students will take the quiz or test on the material.

Step 7 -- For a wrap-up of the lesson, find cartoons that depict ideas, objects or themes from the poems that are personified or used in the poems. Students can guess which poem the cartoon fits.

This Renaissance poetry jigsaw lesson is a fun and interesting way to cover the Renaissance poets. Students enjoy working in groups and sharing what they learned.