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INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITY TOPIC: Exploring the Poetry of Pablo Neruda
Target Language:  French  German  Latin  Spanish

Target Level:  Beginning



SOL CORRELATION: (Note the Virginia Standards of Learning [SOL] addressed in this activity.)

English: 10.1, 10.3, 10.5, 10.11, 11.1, 11.4, 11.5, 12.4, 12.5

Foreign Language:

Listening and Reading for Understanding - SIV.3

Oral and Written Presentation - SIV.5
Students will read selected poems by Pablo Neruda.

Students will read short biographies of the author online to gain a better understanding of the types of adversity Neruda faced throughout his lifetime.

Students will begin to explore the concept of imagery in Neruda’s poetry by creating pictures to represent his poetry.

Students will create authentic poems patterned after one of Neruda’s poems.

“Juventud”, “Oda a su aroma”, and “El hijo” by Pablo neruda

Biography of Neruda’s life (found online-Web address included below)

Biography questions (attached)

Art supplies (paper, colored pencils, markers, crayons, scissors, glue, old magazines, etc.)

Web sites

Web sites containing biographies on Pablo Neruda and audio clips


  1. Teacher will dramatically read “Juventud”, “Oda a su aroma”, and “El hijo” in order to gain student’s attention and illustrate the beauty of poetry written in Spanish. This will stimulate auditory learners and act as an introduction to the lesson. Other options are to use audio clips of Neruda himself reading different poems. There is a selection of excellent clips available at

These may have to be played or read more than once for comprehension.

  1. Students will then be directed to one of the many Web sites available about the life of the author of these poems, Pablo Neruda. They will be given a list of specific things to search for on these sites (such as birth/death dates, childhood events, pictures, famous poetry, political events, etc.). Information obtained from these Web sites may be recorded on the outline provided in this lesson.

  1. Students will discuss their findings in a class discussion about the poet.

  1. Students will then be given copies of “Juventud”, “Oda a su aroma”, and “El hijo” and asked to read them and mark unknown vocabulary words.

  1. The class will be split into three groups. Each group will be assigned a poem. The groups will conduct discussions focusing on the imagery and purpose of their poem and define the new vocabulary words.

  1. Each group will report their findings and the highlights of their discussion to the class.

  1. Students will then be allowed to chose any one of these poems and make a visual representation of it. They can use art supplies to draw or make collages of the imagery found in their poem.

  1. Students will briefly share these with the class and explain their images.

  1. For homework, students will be asked to write a poem patterned after one of these three poems. The titles should be the same, either “Juventud”, “Ada a su aroma”, or “El hijo”. They should be sure to include plenty of the images they, themselves, connect with youth, perfumes, or children.

Students will be assessed on the poem that they create. Teachers may choose to use the AP Language Writing Rubric to evaluate the students’ work or the rubric below.

Demonstrates Superiority


Strong control of the language; excellent use of imagery and proficiency; broad command of vocabulary and idiomatic language.

Demonstrates Competence


Good general control of the language; good use of imagery despite some errors and/or some awkwardness of style. Reads smoothly overall.

Suggests Competence


Fair ability to express ideas in target language; correct use of simple imagery. Some apt vocabulary and idioms. Occasional signs of fluency and sense of style.

Suggests Incompetence


Weak use of language with little control of structure or imagery. Limited vocabulary. Occasional redeeming features.

Demonstrates Incompetence


Clearly unacceptable from most points of view. Almost total lack of vocabulary resources, no sense of idiom and/or style. Essentially translated from native language.

Adapted from: Johnson, L.W. (1983) Grading the advanced placement examination in French language, Princeton, NJ: Advanced Placement Program of the College Board.

This lesson plan can be particularly useful around Valentine’s Day or as a prelude to different political struggles in Spanish-speaking countries.

Written by: Claiborne H. Marshall

E-mail address:

School: West Springfield High

Virginia School Division: Fairfax County Public Schools

Pablo Neruda

Fecha del nacimiento:



Obras famosas:

Influencias en su poesia:


Luchas y vistas políticales:

Otras cosas interesantes:

Fecha del muerto:

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