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A Teacher's Guide to Poems by Robert Frost

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/14/2012

Use these poems by Robert Frost to teach the elements of poetry, critical thinking, and reading comprehension. It contains Robert Frost teaching activities, Robert Frost lesson plans and links to Robert Frost poems.

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    Frost Bitten

    I felt great. I had just taught an amazing lesson on annotating poems. Students gave me high-fives as they walked out the door. Finally, they would be writing intelligent analysis in their poetry essays

    My joy turned to horror as I read "This poem was awesome" 4,789 times. I cried, as stunned students snickered at my suffering. Seconds before peppering the class with heavy duty 24-gauge staples, I had an idea: maybe I should come up with a list of poems by Robert Frost with Robert Frost teaching activities instead. I put the stapler away, called my psychic, and cancelled my free consultation.

    I had work to do. I had to create a list of poems by Robert Frost with Robert Frost teaching activities. Here's what I came up with:

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    Teaching Poems by Robert Frost

    1. "Fire and Ice": Frost ponders whether the world will end by fire or ice. It's jovial rhythm belies the somber message--the dangers of desire and hatred. The poem is a study in contrast. Use a Venn diagram to compare desire and hate. This Poem makes an excellent candidate for analysis and annotation.
    2. "Acquainted with the Night": Many of Frost's poems include night and its symbolic ramifications, the obvious one being death. This poem also presents several examples of hyperbole. Make a two-column chart. In the left column list examples of hyperbole. In the right column comment on why Frost chooses this specific hyperbole. Follow this link for an excellent "Acquainted with the Night" lesson plan.
    3. "Mending Wall": Frost describes the annual mending of his wall. Think metaphor. Think good "Mending Wall" lesson plan. Think brainstorming activity: (1) list the purposes for walls; (2) list things that divide humans.
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    Robert Frost Poems and Teaching Activities

    1. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening": Something tells me this poem is more than just stopping by woods on a snowy evening. Symbols abound. It makes an excellent poem for teaching mood: (1) Write "mood" on the board; (2) Write down several moods that may apply--lonely, creepy, dark, ominous, silent; (3) list key words that contribute to the mood. Focus on the rhyme scheme. Each stanza is connected to the next. Why? Is it the futility of trying to escape the past or the futility of trying to escape death? Have your students annotate this poem. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
    2. "Nothing Gold Can Stay": Students familiar with The Outsiders will recognize Frost's pessimistic poem on the destiny of mankind, claiming that the world was created in its perfect form and has since deteriorated.
    3. "The Road Not Taken": Easily Frost's most famous poems, it holds many meanings to many people. The poem is about choices. Here's a good "The Road Not Taken" lesson plan.

Teaching Famous Poets

These famous poems by famous poets are excellent for high school and middle school. Each list comes with lesson ideas and links to the actual poem.
  1. A Teacher's Guide to Poems by Langston Hughes
  2. A Teacher's Guide to Poems by Robert Frost
  3. A Teacher's Guide to Poems by Carl Sandburg
  4. Teaching Shel Silverstein Poems
  5. A Teacher's Guide to Poems by Emily Dickinson