8th grade Mandarin students are working on the unit 异“曲”同工 to learn the poetry of ancient China, focusing on the Song and Yuan Dynasties. The key concept of this unit is Creativity and the related concepts are Self-expression, Theme and Style. Students choose a Chinese ancient poet they are interested in, then make a biography for him or her, and share it with their classmates in the form of a book.
From the very beginning of the unit, students were aware of the Statement of Inquiry and learning activities: poetry is an important genre to help poets express themselves and to convey the theme and purpose. Students also consider what impact the poet’s background or context has on the poetry’s self-expression. During the learning activities, students combine what they have learned about literary conventions with the background knowledge of the poet in order to create appropriate poems in the poet’s biography.