CEP 811 - UDL Revision:

“The Sun-Dial at Wells College” Lesson Activity

English 3

Task #1: Read Van Dyke Poem

Time: 15 minutes

We will open class by watching a video on sundials and their purpose.  Students will follow up by reading the following poem out loud (if needed, LEP students will be provided with a translated version of the poem). Additionally, students may have the opportunity to have the poem read to them.  After reading the poem, we will stop and talk about it.  Students will have the poem presented to them in a Pixton comic strip.  Specifically, we will be reading it while reflecting on the ideas of mortality and the limits of time.

The Sun-Dial at Wells College

Henry Van Dyke

The shadow by my finger cast

Divides the future from the past:

Before it, sleeps the unborn hour

In darkness, and beyond thy power:

Behind its unreturning line,

The vanished hour, no longer thine:

One hour alone is in thy hands,--

The NOW on which the shadow stands.

Task #2: Sundial Observation and Close Reading

Time: 35 minutes

At this point, we will walk outside as a class and I will bring out the sundial.  The sundial should cast its shadow on 8:00, approximately the time that we will be outside.  At this time, students will study the sundial and offer a written interpretation of what Van Dyke is saying regarding time’s power through the sundial metaphor.  Students will be encouraged to look at its structure (ideally, they should note that it is written from the perspective of the sundial, that the “unreturning line” and shadow that is cast by the sundial is a metaphor for one’s inability to return to the past once it is gone, and that, according to the sundial, we are only truly in control of our immediate destiny--the “one hour alone is in thy hands”).  Pictures will be provided to help students comprehend and understand the metaphors.  Students may also be provided with a graphic organizer (as needed) to guide the written interpretation.

Task #3: Creating Poetry Related to Time

Time: 40 minutes

Students will be tasked with thinking about an object--any object of their choosing (out of the box thinking is encouraged!)--and finding a way to relate it to time.  Once they have identified an object, they should write a poem from the perspective of that object, in much the same way as Van Dyke does with the sundial.  Some examples include a time capsule talking about carrying pieces of time as it watches time pass, how a tree perceives the passing of time, and so on.  Students must bring their object into class--they must replicate the item using clay, paper, etc. to create a model for “show and tell,” much the same as the sundial clock.  These poems will be presented two days following this lesson, with the lesson following this one being used for work time. This project will facilitate students’ transfer of knowledge and understanding for future projects and/or learning experiences.  Students will be expected to conference with a peer via Google Hangouts to gather peer feedback.  Additionally, students may design their object virtually using software such as Makerware or Google Sketch Up Make.  The teacher will ensure that all students make progress each day.