Lesson Plan

Dickinson, Frost and You in Dialogue Across Time and Place

Student writing
Student writing
K Robbins


Students' creative work to engage poets from different times and cultures in dialogue via the language of their poems and to set those poems in a specific place for that "dialogue" is a means to derive truths common to human nature over time.


Students will be able to independently use their learning to...understand a poem (Frost's & Dickinson's poetry in particular) by trusting in his or her own mind to play with the imagery, diction, syntax and punctuation a poet presents in order to make meaning or sense of the truth a poet conveys via his/her poem.

Students will understand that...the natural world has the capacity to reveal if not "answers" then understandings about an individual's interior, spiritual or private aspect of being.


Students will understand that...the natural world has the capacity to reveal if not "answers" then understandings about an individual's interior, spiritual of private aspects of being.

Students will keep considering...

...how close scrutiny, observation and creative thinking/writing about nature can teach them something about themselves.

...how on one level, stewardship and sustainability are about an individual's ability to be in some kind of "dialogue" with the Natural World.


Park Visit 1: students work in pairs to explore an area of the park and to choose their site (sit spots, journaling, haiku writing, photographing in that chosen site).

Park Visit 2: Student re-visit chosen site with poems they have selected for that site, additional photographing time - Visit 2 is an opportunity to gather additional details for their digital essays.

Park Visit 3 (spring?): Students mount Frost poem, the Dickinson poem, and their won 21st century version of those poems in dialogue from the 19th and 20th centuries. The class walks the trail from site to site (7 total) and students work in pairs to present their site and to talk about the dialogue they perceive between the two poets, and their own writing process to generate a 21st century version of Frost's and Dickinson's truths.


Digital Essay
Trail work - presentation
Exploratory activities in the classroom with Frost's and Dickinson's poems: "Poetry Play" and "Testing a Dialogue"
Writing a Creative "re-visions" of one or both of the poets' poems that elicit a 21st century perspective on the same "truism" Frost or Dickinson evokes in a certain poem.
Journal/Reflective writing to explore the ways in which the addition of one poet's work informs or changes what the student "sees" in the chosen place...

Park Connections

Place Prompts: Choose the most relevant:
Collaboration will happen through...students working in pairs to capture the essence of a chosen place in Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP.

Students working as a class to interpret Dickinson's and Frost's poems.

Students working in pairs to create a "digital essay" that captures the essences of their chosen site at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP via photography, music, poetry.


Consider how or if Dickinson's verse redefines re-appropriates your chosen space, as well as how if the introduction of Frost's poems as well as your own occasions a viewer to "see"/"read" the place at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP differently...

Additional Resources

The Complete Poems of Robert Frost
Lathem, Editor

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Franklin, Editor

The Emily Dickinson Handbook
Grabher, Hagenbuckle, Miller, Editors

The National Parks - America's Best Idea
Ken Burns

Reading the Forested Landscape
T. Wessels

Access to trails/forests at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP or King Farm


Loaded Gun - documentary/dvd (Billy Collins & Julie Harris)

Adapted by Shelburne Farms from the Understanding by Design Guide to creating High-Quality Units
by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, 2011.


Poetry, syntax, diction, imagery, dialogue, stewardship, sustainability, sense of place