More Bridging Activities for, Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and Jesse Stuart’s “The Split Cherry Tree”.

The Jerusalem Post had a wonderful article in the October 13, 2013 edition called, “Crooning in a Foreign Language”. According to researchers at the University of South Carolina, singing can help people learn a foreign language. Many EFL teachers suspected that singing in a foreign language could help a person learn to speak the language; however, this was the first experiment that confirmed that belief. The researchers randomly assigned 60 adults to one of three groups- speaking, rhythmic speaking and singing. Each group was given 20 short phrases to listen to and to repeat in Hungarian (chosen because it is not a familiar language to most).  The findings showed that the group, who learned the phrases through singing, significantly outperformed the other groups and was twice as successful as the speaking group. This demonstrates that there is a strong link between music, memory and language learning.

In planning creative lessons we should try to keep in mind the connection between language acquisition and ideas from other domains of knowledge. The bridging activities that we do with our students allow them to make important connections between information outside of the text with the literary piece itself.  These links, or connections, enable our students to have a deeper understanding of the literary piece and to integrate the message and ideas that the author tries to impart to them, the reader.

The following Bridging activities are ideas that will help your students join together the information, meaning and language of literature to new knowledge that you provide for them in the Bridging text and context part of the literature program.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Bridging 1-

At almost 40 years old Robert Frost had not published a single book of poems. He was very discouraged by this. In 1911 he received ownership of a family farm and he and his wife made a momentous decision; to sell this farm and start a new life in London where Frost hoped to be able to publish more of his poetry. He later became the most widely admired and highly honored American poet of the 20th century.

How does this information connect to the poem?

Bridging 2-

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words” Robert Frost

How does this information connect to the poem?

Bridging 3-

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” Robert Frost

How does this information connect to the poem?

The Split Cherry Tree by Jesse Stuart

Bridging 1-

“If we only had in America today more teachers who could teach beyond- and still include- the required subject matter, teachers who could inject beauty into their teaching, we could change the face of America. Inspirational teachers can have a profound influence upon the youth who will later occupy state and national positions and influence a nation.” (Pg. 177 in To Teach To Love by Jesse Stuart)

How does this information connect to the short story?

Bridging 2-

I’d rather have a C student with an A character than an A student with a C character. Jesse Stuart

How does this information connect to the short story?

Remember, it is sometimes a more difficult challenge for our students to connect a quotation to the literary piece, rather than a short written passage. This is because a quotation is often more abstract than information written in straightforward language. You be the judge as to whether or not your students are able to understand and explain what the quotation means. You may decide to re-write some of the information in simpler language or work with your students on how to decipher the meaning of a quotation. To find meaningful quotations by the authors of each piece, Google the author’s name and you will see several sites which have “quotable” quotations by the author. Many of them could be used to create Bridging questions.



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2 responses to “More Bridging Activities for, Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and Jesse Stuart’s “The Split Cherry Tree”.”

  1. Rachel says :

    hi Karen, and thanks so much for this wonderful site.
    I was wondering whether it would be possible to receive sample answers or guidelines?

    • karendguth says :

      Hi Rachel,
      I’m glad that you are enjoying this site. I am happy to write some sample answers for the bridging questions. It is a good idea. Remember that your students may have some very creative answers connecting the new information to the literary text. What they may write could be different from what you or I would write and it may still be correct. In the next post I will write some sample answers.
      Thanks for the suggestion,

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