Lesson Plan

Carl Sandburg's Persuasion Poems (Grades 6-8)

Vintage 1914 Poetry Magazine Cover
Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Essential Question

Can writing influence public or personal opinion?


• Students will evaluate how opinions influence poetry and how poetry is used to influence opinion.
• Students will cite textual evidence that supports Carl Sandburg’s concerns for social issues of the past are still concerns for the 21st century.
• Students will demonstrate how a writer’s use of figurative language develops theme and tone.


Carl Sandburg was a very passionate man. He had his opinions about what he believed was right and what he believed was wrong about society. He often used poetry to voice his opinion about such things. In fact, his very first book of published poetry, “Chicago Poems,” was page after page of what he thought about the city he loved.


Upload "Carl Sandburg's Persuasion Poems" powerpoint to google slides, to push out to students or to share in the classroom. 


Download Carl Sandburg's Persuasion Poems Powerpoint


Procedure (Remote Learning)
Share with students the Persuasion Poems PowerPoint (can be uploaded as a Google Slide) to push out to students. The students will watch the video on theme and tone. Then they will read several of Carl Sandburg’s poems and answer questions on the PowerPoint before submitting to their teacher.

Procedure (In Person Learning)
Activating Strategy

  • Show the video on Theme and Tone in poetry 
  • Tone – the writer’s attitude toward the subject
    • Theme – main idea of the poem
    • Opinion – what a person thinks about something
Teaching Strategy
  • Share the Persuasion Poems PowerPoint with your students in a way that each student has their own copy to write on. The students will read some of Carl Sandburg’s poetry and answer questions about the poems on the PowerPoint before submitting.
Summarizing Strategy
  • Students will need to choose one of the poems on the PowerPoint and summarize the most important point of the issue addressed in the poem. Students will make VoiceThread recordings of their summaries (or make a post on Padlet at https://padlet.com 
  • They will also visit the VoiceThread summaries of two classmates and record feedback for their peers (or respond to their posts on Padlet). https://voicethread.com/products.k12  
Extension Activity
  • Students can research a current issue they are passionate about and write a persuasive poem expressing their opinion about that issue. Students can share their poem on a Google Doc, during a video conference or using Flipgrid.
  • Students can submit a question they have about the issues that Carl Sandburg addressed using Padlet. Students can research and answer each other’s questions on the Padlet.

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Last updated: August 10, 2020