Sometimes, it is difficult for students to connect with themes in poetry until they put them into a real-world context. Consider the following activity for students to storyboard with "The Bells".
”The Bells” follows a common example of depicting the life cycle from beginning to end, and it captures the very real fear of growing old and dying that most people face throughout their lives. Have students envision something that scares them: it could be moving on to college, public speaking, forgetting the lines to their part in the school play, or spiders. Have students write a poem about their fear, incorporating elements of repetition and onomatopoeia to enhance their topic .
The alarms are ringing in the field tonight
I can’t see where it’s coming from; I jump with fright.
I look out the window, lightning flashing in the sky,
I know we need to get to the cellar before the winds scream by.
I run to the hall, my parents are pulling on their robes,
I grab the dog and cat, we have to keep up hope.
The worst of it will pass, this time it won’t hit us,
We pull open the root cellar door and descend into the abyss.
The crash and roar of a freight train is overhead,
The door is banging like it might not hold; we’re filled with dread.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! Crash! Roar! The wind moans,
The wood of the cellar door groans.
The alarm is still whining, but the world is quiet.
We cautiously open the door and look out.
Our house is still standing, our car is okay,
The tornado spared our house for another day.
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: Modern Day Adaptations: Parody and SatireCommon Core Standards
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