Live Your Epitaph

Length: Two 50-minute class periods.

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission engaged two internationally-known artists, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley, to create site-specific public art works for the newly revitalized Edmondson Park (overseen by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency). This project honors William Edmondson, a native of Davidson County and a self-taught sculptor. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art (1937). Like Edmondson, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley are self-taught artists.

In this English Language Arts lesson, students will:

  • Students will be formatively assessed through discussion in whole group, small group, and Socratic seminar.
  • Students will be formatively assessed through pre-writing, peer feedback, and revision.
  • Students will be formatively assessed through discussion in small groups, whole groups, and Socratic Seminar.
  • Students will be summatively assessed through Socratic Seminar reflection handout.
  • Students will be summatively assessed through a rubric for their final draft.
  • Students will be summatively assessed through Socratic Seminar reflection handout and selfassessment rubric.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6
Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.10
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literacy nonfiction in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.10
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g.,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 9-10 Language...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience....
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CLE 3001.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3001.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3001.1.3
Understand and use a variety of sentence structures.
CLE 3001.2.5
Understand strategies for expressing ideas clearly and effectively in a variety of oral contexts.
CLE 3001.2.6
Deliver effective oral presentations.
CLE 3001.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3001.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3001.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in lo
CLE 3001.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3001.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3001.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of informational and technical texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3001.6.2
Analyze the organizational structures of informational and technical texts.
CLE 3001.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3002.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3002.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases
CLE 3002.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3002.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3002.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, wellconstructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3002.3.4
Revise documents to develop or support ideas clearly, address potential objections, ensure effective transitions between paragraphs, and correct errors in logic.
CLE 3002.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3002.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause-effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3002.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of informational and technical texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3002.6.2
Analyze the organizational structures of informational and technical texts.
CLE 3002.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
SPI 3001.1.1
Demonstrate an understanding of the eight parts of speech, including their troublesome aspects, such as how to form the past and past participle of irregular but...
SPI 3001.1.12
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3001.1.13
Select the appropriate word among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who, accept/except,...
SPI 3001.1.15
Use a sample reference source to determine aspects of a given word (e.g., spelling, part of speech, definition, cognates, etymology, synonyms).
SPI 3001.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gaining the floor in orderly, respectful ways and listening with civility...
SPI 3001.3.10
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3001.3.14
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3001.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3001.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3001.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3001.6.1
Discern the stated or implied main idea and supporting details of informational and technical passages.
SPI 3001.8.13
Locate words or phrases in a passage that provide historical or cultural cues.
SPI 3002.1.1
Demonstrate an understanding of the eight parts of speech, including their troublesome aspects, such as how to form the past and past participle of irregular but...
SPI 3002.1.13
Select the appropriate word from among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who,...
SPI 3002.1.14
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3002.1.16
Use a sample reference source to determine aspects of a given word (e.g., spelling, part of speech, definition, cognates, etymology, synonyms).
SPI 3002.1.9
Recognize a shift in either verb tense or point of view within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gaining the floor in orderly, respectful ways and listen with civility to...
SPI 3002.3.11
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3002.3.15
Select the most precise word to provide clarity appropriate to audience and purpose.
SPI 3002.3.3
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.3.4
Select a vivid word (e.g., adjective, adverb, verb) to strengthen a written description.
SPI 3002.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3002.6.1
Discern the stated or implied main idea and supporting details of informational and technical passages
SPI 3002.8.12
Locate words or phrases in a passage that provide historical or cultural cues.
TSS.ELA.10.RI.RRTC.10
(For 10th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and...
TSS.ELA.10.RL.RRTC.10
(For 10th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literature at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.CSE.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; use effective parallel structure and various types...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.KL.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend ...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 9th -10th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a range...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings in grades 9-10 reading and content; interpret figures...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.6
Acquire and accurately use general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 9th- 10th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.PKI.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.PDW.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.3
Write narrative fiction or literary nonfiction to convey experiences and/or events using effective techniques, well-chosen details, and well-structured...
TSS.ELA.9.RI.RRTC.10
(For 9th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literary nonfiction throughout the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with a gradual release...
TSS.ELA.9.RL.RRTC.10
(For 9th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literature throughout the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with a gradual release of...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Clear Learning Targets 
Day One:

  • I can identify William Edmondson and his contribution to the art world.
  • I can closely read examples of epitaphs and identify tone and common themes.
  • I can participate in a Socratic Seminar and discuss questions related to the close reading.

Day Two:

  • I can develop my own epitaph through pre-writing, discussion, and revision
  • I can critique and offer helpful feedback to peers to guide their writing process

Task Objectives (steps to reach mastery of clear learning targets)
Day One:

  • Discuss William Edmondson and identify his contributions to the art world
  • Read examples of epitaphs and identify tone and common themes
  • Discuss, analyze, and respond to questions related to epitaphs during a Socratic seminar

Day Two:

  • Pre-write, discuss, and revise a personal epitaph

Anchor Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 - Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 - Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 - Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively
Essential and guiding questions: 

Questioning: Planning to Illuminate Student Thinking
Assessing questions:

  • Who was William Edmondson? What was his contribution to the art world? Give examples of how his work contributed to the art world.
  • What is an epitaph?
  • How can an epitaph be a life statement? Cite the Epitaph Examples in your answer.
  • What might William Edmondson’s life statement be?

Advancing questions:

  • How, and for what, do you want to be remembered?
  • What impact do you want to have on the world?
  • How can you live your epitaph?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Differentiation suggestions: 

Scaffolding (to address learning difficulties)

  • Model reading an epitaph while searching and identifying answers to the guiding questions: what words are important? What’s the tone?
  • Model how to participate in a Socratic Seminar. Do a “run-through” with the teacher taking on the role of a student.
  • Model the quicklist on the board or overhead along with the students.
  • Model how to provide feedback during revision by providing, “I like…”, “I wonder…” examples.

Opportunities to Differentiate Learning (explain how you address particular student needs by differentiating process, content, or product):

  • Vary the range of questioning to provide guidance or advancement depending on the students’ needs
  • Vary the depth of modeling depending on student need
  • Socratic Seminar could be changed to small group or whole group discussion
  • Pre-writing activity could be done as a small group or whole group activity
  • Pre-writing could be extended or eliminated to provide more or less guidance
  • One-on-one writing and revision guidance could be provided by the teacher depending on student needs
  • Writing of an epitaph for William Edmondson or other person could be added to provide depth of opportunities for advanced students
  • A visual image or symbol for their tombstone to represent their impact on their world could be an opportunity for extension

Helpful Hints

Materials and Resources:

  • Pictures of William Edmondson and his artwork (image search on google)
  • Excerpt from “Carousel of Time” on YouTube
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23nvsOudLs0
  • Examples of epitaphs (see appendix 1)
  • Socratic Seminar handout (see appendix 2)
  • Rubric for epitaph (see appendix 3)
  • William Edmondson PPT (appendix 6)