This activity is targeted to the critical analysis and construction of understanding of war poetry. The tasks involve developing an understanding of the effects that warfare has on the individual soldier as a snapshot of the battle experience that most men experienced during the brutal trench war conflicts of the first world war.
The activity is divided into two sections: Poetry analysis and poetry construction.
The analysis uses "In Flanders Fields" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. Learners will read the poem and write a short critical analysis of the poem. They will then read McCrae's explanation of the poem and compare their answer.
Second, learners will read the article "The Beginning of the End" from Eye Witness to History and create either an original poem or found poem from the article that retains the authors main idea and original mood, intentions, and tone.
Learners can share their poems through peer review and they can be hung on the wall and reviewed through a gallery walk. Additionally learners can add artwork to the poem or they can be assembled as a collection. Additional reading selections can be used to show different viewpoints of a battle or a war. Political situations, times of economic turmoil (the Great Depression) can also be used as background for found poem activities. Critical analysis of poetry simplifies much of the cognitive requirements of document analysis in terms of main idea, mood, tone and main ideas of primary and secondary source material, while building constructionist engagement.