The Dark Is Rising: Biopoem

How well do your learners really know the characters in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising? A biopoem activity prompts readers to investigate the characters and their traits. Line by line, writers add the characters' relatives, preferences, fears, and desires.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Use the biopoem format for any short story or novel
  • Have class members fill out the biopoem for themselves first, and then for the characters from the novel
  • Encourage learners to read their poems aloud without any character names, and prompt group members to guess the identity of the character
Classroom Considerations

  • The font for the title of the lesson, an all caps script, is difficult to read
Pros

  • Format is versatile for any unit
  • A great Back-to-School activity
  • Allows kids to see characters in a new and creative light
Cons

  • Example for the biopoem is from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, which middle school learners may not be familiar with, making the example not as helpful as it could be
Common Core