A Mighty Responsibility

Sample Lesson 4

This lesson plan could take two class periods, depending upon student experience with creating “Found Poems”. This lesson can be used by substitute teachers, classroom teachers and community organizations. Lesson plans and activities may be adapted to student ability, grade level and interests. Note: Because this is individual lesson plan that may or may not be part of a larger unit, there is no service component.


Governor Tom McCall left an indelible mark on Oregonians. We go to other states and shake our heads at the soft drink bottles and cans that get thrown in the garbage. We take for granted that we can play on Oregon's beaches, and don't understand how it is that in other places, individuals actually own the beaches, disallowing public use.

The policies of Tom McCall affect every Oregonian every day. Yet many Oregonians, though familiar with his name, are clueless to his role in Oregon's history.

Essential Questions

Who is Tom McCall? How do Tom McCall's decisions, policies and rhetoric impact the lives of Oregon's young people today? What are my responsibilities as an Oregonian?

Student Objectives

  • Recognize pictures of Tom McCall and his role as Oregon's Governor
  • Using Tom McCall's own words create a poem that exemplifies his core beliefs.
  • Understand McCall's role in creating Oregon's reputation as an environmental leader for the nation.

Classroom Activities

  1. If students are unfamiliar with Tom McCall, show the Tom McCall Video Montage (12 minutes)
  2. Discussion: How did Tom McCall's skill with words and language affected his work as a journalist and as governor? (5-10 minutes)
  3. If students are not familiar with creating a found poem, model the process with the entire group, working on text with which they are familiar. Found Poem directions are available from the International Reading Association. See Resources. (20 minutes)
  4. Provide students with a copy of Tom McCall's 1975 Farewell Message. Read it aloud. (5 minutes)
  5. Students create a "Found Poem" from the Farewell Message. (20 minutes)
  6. Students share and discuss their poems in small groups. (20-30 minutes)
  7. Brainstorm external audiences with whom students can share their poetry? For example: Local newsletters of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Audubon Society, Oregon Historical Society? (10-20 minutes)

Oregon Essential Skills

  • Listen actively and speak clearly and coherently
  • Think critically and analytically
  • Use technology to learn, live, and work
  • Demonstrate personal management and teamwork skills

Common Core State Standards

These Focus Standards have been selected from the Common Core State Standards.

  • 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 impact of several word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
  • 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 and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
  • 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.
  • SL.9-10.3: Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
  • L.9-10.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.