Lesson Plan

Grade 3-5, Post-Visit: Sandburg Through Time - Autobiographical Poem


This lesson is intended to be used following a visit to the Sandburg, but can be used as a stand-alone lesson in the classroom.


Learning Targets

  • I can determine the theme and tone of a poem and explain what that tells me about the poet.
  • I can write an autobiographical poem.

Common Core State Standards
Reading Standards for Literature
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a poem from details in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.10, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.10, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend poetry.
Writing Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.5, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.5, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising and editing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
Speaking and Listening Standard
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1.d, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1.d, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1.d Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners, review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in the light of the discussion.


Check out the other lessons in this plan:

Pre-Visit Lesson: Connemara Farm
Pre-VIsit Lesson: Poets and Poetry
Pre-Visit Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - Growing Up

On-Site Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - From Prairie Town Boy to Famous Writer
On-Site Lesson: Sandburg's Writing "Spring Grass"

Post-Visit Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - Autobiographical Poem
Post-Visit Lesson: Sandburg and Lincoln
Post-Visit Lesson: Why Goat's Milk?




Activating Strategy
Anticipation Guide - Students will complete the "before" section of the Anticipation Guide prior to today's lesson. 

Teaching Strategy
1.   Go to www.gobookee.net. Locate search bar and type in Poetry Imagery Figurative vs. Literal Language Mood vs. Tone. View slideshow whole class highlighting the words tone, mood and theme. Other information can be skimmed as it is not pertinent to this lesson, but it is a resource.

2.   Use the projector to show students the poem "Mother and Child". Model how to read the poem fluently with expression. Have students practice reading the poem together.

3.   Discuss the aspects of the poem (tone, mood, stanzas, lines, and theme). What does this poem tell us about Carl Sandburg's feelings about childhood? Why do you think he wrote this poem?

4.   Model for the students how to use the autobiographical poem template to write poems about themselves. They need to think about the theme and tone they are trying to convey.

5.   Students will write their own autobiographical poems and share with the class.

Summarizing Strategy
Anticipation Guide - Students will complete the "after" section of the Anticipation Guide after today's lesson making corrections to all false statements.


  • Students can use a document camera to show their own poems to the class and discuss the theme, tone and message of their poems.
  • Students can use computers to publish and illustrate their poems.