Looking to bring in more contemporary poetry into your classroom but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you have a couple favorite poems and poets, but you’re looking to add some new artists? Continue reading
Getting to the Heart of the Matter with Rita Dove
Today’s post is brought to you by guest author Ann Cox. Ann Cox has over twenty years of experience teaching high school English, including AP Literature and Composition, Creative Writing, and Speech. She also spent several years as a teacher consultant for the Illinois State Writing Project. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the second installment in a series at #TeachLivingPoets. The Poet Laureate Project features a different U.S. Poet Laureate each month during the 2019-2020 school year. I will highlight one or two of their poems, suggest activities to use these pieces in the classroom, and touch upon their contributions to the promotion of poetry in America.
This month’s featured Poet Laureate is Rita Dove. In addition to being the youngest ever U.S. Poet Laureate, she is also a Pulitzer Prize winner and the only poet to receive both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts. Continue reading
I love a poetry activity that:
A) works with any poem
B) encourages a variety of interpretations
C) gets students thinking analytically about specific words
D) asks students to consider how overall meaning is created
This activity fulfills all of these!
Fall is in the air and Kevin Coval has a new book! Fresh on the shelves from Haymarket Books, everything you need to teach Everything Must Go is right here! An illustrated poetry collection about the “life and death of an American neighborhood,” Coval’s poems and Langston Allston’s graphic artwork are guaranteed to engage your students.
Today’s post is brought to you by guest author Melissa Tucker, Rock Hill, South Carolina’s 2018 District Teacher of the Year. Melissa is an AP Lit, AP Lang, and World Lit teacher at Rock Hill High School. Grateful and tired mom of two handsome sons, her extended Bearcat family is always invited to her classroom. She continually seeks opportunities to learn with and from her students and colleagues to improve. She constantly reminds students “if you’re not reading, you’re not learning.”
Going into this school year, I made the decision to switch to choice reading. I focused our units of study around six universal themes: identity, journey, gender and class, beliefs/religion, family, and connection versus isolation. Because I knew that my students would not necessarily be reading the same text as a whole class during these units, I needed a way to quickly establish routines for close reading, annotating, and analytical writing. I also wanted a highly engaging activity that could inspire students to think critically. As a result, we studied José Olivarez’s Citizen Illegal poetry collection (Haymarket Books, 2018), ending with a video chat interview with the poet. Continue reading
Today’s post is brought to you by guest author Ann Cox. Ann Cox has over twenty years of experience teaching high school English, including AP Literature and Composition, Creative Writing, and Speech. She also spent several years as a teacher consultant for the Illinois State Writing Project. When she’s not working, Ann enjoys crafting, reading, and spending time with her family. You can reach her at email@example.com.
If you’re looking for a way to introduce poetry into your classroom this year, “Abandoned Farmhouse” is a great choice. The poem works well for a couple of reasons: Continue reading
Today’s #TeachLivingPoets post comes from Adrian Nester, educator extraordinaire with 17 years’ experience in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. She is passionate about equity in rural education and the power of Twitter. She currently teaches AP Literature, English 11, and Journalism. She is also a T-ball coach, Interact sponsor, and Sunday school teacher in her spare time. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, reading, and playing sports. Read more about Adrian’s journey on her blog The Learning Curve.
The summer is an excellent time to start thinking about changes and additions to the current curriculum. Having students blog about living poets is a year-long activity that is student driven, while also providing choice and an authentic audience.
Choose a platform to host the student blogs. Here is a post about getting started on Edublogs. There are also great video tutorials that can help with details with set-up..
This original assignment was inspired by Mrs. Effie and adapted by Melissa Smith into the current Pick-a-Poet blog assignment. This model allows for student exploration into the work of the poet of their choice, while giving them enough structure to move beyond basic summary and toward analysis. Continue reading
Today’s post is by guest author Valerie A. Person. In her 25th year at Currituck County High School, Valerie teaches honors and academic English II as well as AP Literature and Composition. She agrees passionately with Virginia Woolf’s “teaching without zest is a crime,” striving to find engaging and meaningful ways for her students to learn.
One of the tenets of AP Literature and Composition is helping students recognize, understand and explain complexity in literature. Students often hear me instruct them to “peel that onion, baby. Peel it.” With poetry playing a prominent role on the AP exam, I’ve found myself revising my lessons for sophomores, scaffolding for them to do more work with abstraction, particularly as it features in poetry. Get comfortable in the gray, folks. In this journey to guide students to move from the unknown to the known, I find using concrete, hands-on lessons to illustrate that gray provides tremendous benefits for students.
Exploring complexity, students track tone shifts in poetry and pull from their tone vocabulary to name the tones and justify them with textual evidence.
Today’s post is a collaboration by two guest authors: teacher Kelly Herrera and poet Nicole Tong.
Kelly teaches English at Buena High School in Ventura, California and has been an English instructor for 20 years. She has a passion for helping students of all levels find their voice through writing. Outside of school, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family. You can follow her on Twitter at @HerreraKM1
Nicole Tong is the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sundress Academy at Firefly Farms, and George Mason University where she received her MFA. In 2016, she served as an inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Pope-Leighey House. She is a recipient of the President’s Sabbatical from Northern Virginia Community College where she is a Professor of English. Her writing has appeared in American Book Review, CALYX, Cortland Review, Yalobusha Review, and Still: the Journal among others. Washington Writers’ Publishing House announced Nicole Tong’s debut collection How to Prove a Theory as the 2017 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize Winner. How to Prove a Theory is currently available at Politics and Prose, Scrawl Books, and on Indiebound. You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @NFTong and visit her website.
When I first learned about #TeachLivingPoets, I wanted to immerse myself and my classroom in poetry. Through a grant from the Ventura Education Partnership, we purchased poetry collections from many of the authors featured on this site. I also wanted to provide a video conferencing experience with a living poet for my students, but I wasn’t sure how to make it happen.
I had many questions and apprehensions. Continue reading
Today’s post is by guest author Angelina Murphy who teaches high school English in Los Angeles. She has her Masters in Education from University of California, Los Angeles where she focused her research on trauma-informed teaching and community of care. When she is not teaching, she also manages her blog about engaging teaching, technology, social justice, and teaching strategies at Magical Ms. Murphy.
When I was in high school, I distinctly remember reading and learning poetry–and I hated it. This may surprise my students today because I talk about poetry with such love and passion, but it wasn’t always like that. It was evident that my students typically felt similarly about poetry: it was old, it was boring, it was confusing, not relatable. And when we look at the poets that mainstream curriculum or the canon really values, it’s not surprising why. The famous Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley and the other poets that dominate our textbooks are overwhelmingly white, male, straight, and for lack of a more graceful word, dead. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we shouldn’t teach these poets, I personally love teaching transcendentalism and Edgar Allan Poe, but these poets limit how we define poetry. Continue reading