Kendrick Lamar Workshop Project

djToday’s lesson is by guest author Dominique James, daughter of Chicago and Southside sweetheart, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Howard University. She has completed research fellowships at the University of California-Riverside and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. After graduation, she was a TRIALS Fellow at Harvard Law School and a University of Chicago HBCU Bridge Scholar. She is a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors and creates word-based multimedia projects, for which she received a 2018 Propeller Fund grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Whether as an event host, performer, or teaching artist, Dominique seeks to inspire celebration and share joy.  

(Photo by Reese Amaru) Visit Dominique’s blog here.

DAMN. 3 Years Anniversary Workshop Series

dj1(originally posted on and shared here with permission)

For the project, I used the workshop contents to reimagine the physical album, designing my own versions of the album cover, liner notes, and tracklist. I am also posting an image that organizes the info into a single document. The images and the document are below and the downloadable PDF with hyperlinks can be found here. I’m also posting links to the pieces. Happy creating! Continue reading

Exploring Family Relationships with a sonnet by Terrance Hayes

Today’s post is by guest author Charles Ellenbogen, who is in his 27th year of teaching. He teaches high school in Cleveland, Ohio, and has recently published a teaching memoir, This Isn’t the Movies: 25 Years in the Classroom.


logoThis lesson plan features one of Terrance Hayes’s American sonnets from American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, as well as a poem by the Poet Laureate of Ohio, Dave Lucas. Students will compare and contrast the two poems, exploring the father-son relationship in each. This lesson is designed with distance teaching and online learning in mind, and can fit right into any thematic unit on family dynamics and complexities.   Continue reading

At the Kitchen Table with Joy Harjo

This is the eighth 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. Guest author Ann Cox highlights one or two of their poems, suggests activities to use these pieces in the classroom, and touches upon their contributions to the promotion of poetry in America. Ann Cox has over 20 years of experience teaching high school English, including AP Lit, Creative Writing, and Speech. She also spent several years as a teacher consultant for the Illinois State Writing Project.

This month I’m featuring our current U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo. She is the first Native American appointed to the position. Her many honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.


Harjo once commented, “I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors…to all voices…all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings.” We can see Harjo touch upon several of these in her poemPerhaps the World Ends Here.” Continue reading

Eduardo C. Corral’s “Border Patrol Agent” lesson

Today’s lesson is brought to you by Joel Garza @JoelRGarza, who chairs the Upper School English department at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas. He draws loads of professional growth from  #aplitchat #ClearTheAir #DisruptTexts #TeachLivingPoets and #THEBOOKCHAT (which he co-founded with Scott Bayer, aka @LyricalSwordz).

Click HERE to view the lesson made by Joel Garza

Continue reading

Considering borders, marginalization, & structure with two poems by Philip Metres

Today’s post is by guest author Charles Ellenbogen, who is in his 27th year of teaching. He teaches Language & Literature at Campus International High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and has recently published a teaching memoir, This Isn’t the Movies: 25 Years in the Classroom. As of this writing, he is safe at home with Kirsten, his wife, Zoe and Ezra, his children, and Lincoln and Chocolate Scales, their pets.

Students start with “Marginalia with Uprooted Olives” by Philip Metres from Shrapnel Maps (April 2020, Copper Canyon Press) Continue reading