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Ms. DiFronzo's Classes Explore Timeless Poetry with a Global Focus

Ms. DiFronzo is pictured with students Natalie Bryce and Emily Clinton.

Why do poems written centuries ago still resonate with our present-day society? These poems from numerous years ago still speak to a multitude of current societal issues, concerns, and relationships.

In Ms. DiFronzo’s Honors English II classes, students were able to embrace a global and collaborative perspective when analyzing a multitude of poems, while also utilizing technology to lead a class discussion, create correlating activities, and deliver a presentation.

Ms. DiFronzo designed a list of poems with corresponding poets, so students could make their individual selections focused on an issue in society that has an impact on their personal lives.

Each poem challenged a relative societal issue that is relevant in the Weddington area and in various countries around the world. Some of the issues and universal thematic concepts that were addressed through the analysis of these poems include gender roles, relationships, societal differences, war, trust, politics, leadership, the harsh influence of money , coming of age, education, betrayal, hope, heartbreak, hardship, overcoming adversity, discrimination, and forms of evil.

This assignment effectively reinforced several themes that Ms. DiFronzo’s class explored previously in the semester in other literary and informational texts.

Ms. DiFronzo’s students worked in groups of two to three individuals in order to create their unique poetry project. There were multiple components to this project, all of which showcased students’ range of skills in several areas.

Students were required to perform a memorized dramatic reading of their poem, a complete analysis of their globally-pertinent poem through the application of copious literary terms and analysis skills, a song connection, either past or contemporary, in order to incorporate an additional viewpoint connected to the globally universal topic explored through their poems, the leading of class notes, a class review and application activity, and the creation of a T-shirt that reflected their poem’s major themes with a global focus.

Since English II is a course that navigates through centuries of literature from all over the world, Ms. DiFronzo and her students were able to hone the concepts explored in previous texts that semester through the integration of these poetry presentations.

Additionally, students were able to formulate personal arguments and claims that either supported or refuted the global viewpoints reflected through their researched poems. Ms. DiFronzo combined the analysis of literary texts with the application of the research process by having students develop their understanding of the historical time period and the author’s background that influenced their poem of focus.

During this global poetry project, students were able to realize that concerns of importance in their everyday life are prevalent all over the world, both during past generations and present-day society, but these common concerns may be handled and viewed with a different approach, depending on one’s culture, background, experience, and location.

This project enabled students in Ms. DiFronzo’s class to develop their leadership skills, think critically about poetry and its impact, create and give a formal presentation, embrace a global perspective, incorporate music to compare and contrast societal values, develop their abilities to collaborate with others, and become experts on a particular poem and poet through the completion of all project requirements.

Students in Ms. DiFronzo’s class will effectively be able to thrive in a globally interconnected world, which relies heavily on collaboration, technology, and creativity, while simultaneously becoming more globally-cognizant citizens.

Written by: Marisa DiFronzo, English teacher
Posted: May 27, 2014 by Anna Waldrup

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