“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel both…”
Autumn is a great time of year to discuss Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” It is a time of year that beckons us to the woods to enjoy the crisp air of fall, tread on paths blanketed in freshly fallen leaves, and view the leaves in their multicolored glory as they take their final bow. Frost’s poem is one that is easy to relate to. Its imagery is familiar. Its message is straightforward. It is an excellent poem for middle school and junior high students.
This is a great little activity to do with your middle schoolers. And it fits into Common Core ELA Standards for grades 6 and 7:
Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).
First, read the text aloud in class. Have students take notes about the imagery that they “see” or “hear” as the poem is being read. What feelings does the poem evoke?
Next, have the class listen to these two very different musical interpretations of the poem. Again, have students take notes about the imagery that they “see” or “hear” as they listen to the poem. Does the music or the style of the performer bring change the way that the student feels when listening to the poem?
The comparison and contrasting of the three different interpretations could be done orally through a class discussion, or students could present their ideas on paper in an essay. In addition, here are a few other ideas for covering “The Road Not Taken.”
This lesson plan from onestopenglish is directed toward analyzing the poem in pairs or small groups.
This printout from CCSSO.org has some great text-dependent questions to ask your students. These questions will ask them to organize, infer, analyze, investigate, and summarize.