1. Read this poem “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”
a) What do you think this poem is about? What in the poem makes you think that? (words, lines, title, etc.)
b) Read this background knowledge on the poem
c) Reflection Question #1: Why did you not understand this poem very well?

2. Read this poem “Pitcher” by Robert Francis
a) What do you think this poem is about? What in the poem makes you think that?
b) What if I told you that I found this poem in a book of poems about poetry? What evidence could you find in the poem that it’s about poetry?
c) Reflection Question #2: Why did (or didn’t) you understand this poem?
d) Consider the fact that you might have more background knowledge about what baseball or poems are like than you do about fighter planes from WWII, like in the first poem.

3. Read this poem “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young” by Wilfred Owen
a) What do you think this poem is about? What in the poem makes you think that?
b) Now read this from Genesis, verses 1-18
c) Also read this poem and this poem by the same author, Wilfred Owen.
d) Reflection Question #3: Why did (or didn’t) you understand the first poem “The Parable of the Old Man and the Young”? What did you need to help you be able to figure it out?
e) Consider that while you might not originally have known much about the poem, your interpretation after reading other texts that are connected to or a part of this conversation around the first poem will be richer and more complex after having read those other texts. Just because you didn’t understand those things the first time, doesn’t mean you are a bad reader or “not good at English”, it just means that you haven’t read those other texts yet. Writers often have conversations with each other; they respond to ideas other people have, stories, or historical events in their own writing, like we saw in these poems.

4. Read the poems “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman and “I, Too” by Langston Hughes.
a) How do these two texts connect?

5. Final Reflection Question #4: How was your reading of these poems (All of them from today— “Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”, “Pitcher”, “The Parable of the Old Man and Young” poems) influenced by your own prior knowledge or by your knowledge of other texts that connected to them?

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