Slow Chat for Students on Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem

Connect your students with other classes nationwide to learn together and discuss this history-making poem by U.S. Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. Here’s what you need to know to make it happen.

When: Friday, Jan. 29

Start time: 8am EST / 7am CST

Moderator: @MelAlterSmith

This will be a slow chat. We will have students active at different times of the day. For the last slow chat my class participated in, I had them join in the chat at the current question, then go back and answer the previous questions. They were also required to schedule tweets using Tweetdeck to answer the rest of the questions posted after class-time. Don’t forget to include the #TeachLivingPoets hashtag so we can all see each others’ tweets! 

Students can participate whether they are virtual or face-to-face, synchronous or asynchronous.

The poem for the chat is Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb.” 

Read a transcript of the poem here

You may wish to have students’ prepare answers on this hyperdoc

7:55 amGood morning #TeachLivingPoets chat participants! Happy you are joining us. Please let us know what state you are representing in today’s chat. I’m your moderator, Melissa Smith, representing Charlotte, NC. Excited to get started! 
7:57 amReady to start in a minute! Rules: 1. Include the #TeachLivingPoets hashtag in all your tweets so we can see them2. Answer only the Qs posted so far, please don’t answer ahead of schedule3. Include A1, A2, etc so we know which Q you are answering4. Be respectful of others 
8:00 amQ1: What stands out to you? What part do you remember? #TeachLivingPoets
9:00 Q2: When does Gorman use creative word play? To make what point? #TeachLivingPoets
10:00Q3: What metaphors does Gorman create? How do they help to make comparisons? #TeachLivingPoets
11:00When does Gorman use anaphora? Why might she have chosen to use it here? What effect does it have? #TeachLivingPoets
12:00 pmQ5: Where do you notice words being emphasized together with alliteration? How do you think those words work together to create meaning? #TeachLivingPoets
1:00Q6: How does Gorman include history (older and recent) in her poem?  #TeachLivingPoets
2:00Q7:When does Gorman use rhyme or slant rhyme? To make what point? #TeachLivingPoets
3:00Q8: Gorman both starts and ends her poem with light. Explore the various meanings light can have. How does she use light as an effective opening and closing?  #TeachLivingPoets
4:00Q9: What is “the hill we climb”? #TeachLivingPoets
5:00Q10: What is her call at the end of the poem? What does it mean to you?  #TeachLivingPoets

Note: Please do not have your students answer questions ahead of time before they are asked by the moderator. They can type out their tweets ahead of time and save them as a draft, or (even better) have them schedule them using Tweetdeck. (For more info on scheduling tweets, go here.) 

Once in a while, I will have a student who does not want to or is not allowed to create a Twitter account. No problem! They can still do the assignment. Just print out or send them the slow chat STUDENT doc and have them respond individually and send their responses to you. 

To start class, I do a quick run-through of appropriate online etiquette. Then we’ll watch Gorman read the poem, and get right to the questions. I plan on allowing collaboration and discussion in breakout rooms / small groups to craft their responses. 

Thank you to the New York Times for spreading the word about our chat in this article!

See you in the chat! 

Also, Black History Month is right around the corner! Here is a video playlist to celebrate Black poets.

Similar lessons you might be interested in:

4 thoughts on “Slow Chat for Students on Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem

  1. I teach at a DODEA school in Europe. You are five hours behind us. When this begins, my students will have gone home for the day. How can we participate in this event?


    • Wow! So this will be a worldwide twitter chat! So cool. I think the only way to have your students in the chat is to have them schedule their tweets using Tweetdeck. That way, their tweets will show up in the chat at the same time as the kids in the US. So they will be “in the chat” just not live.


  2. Pingback: Lesson of the Day: Amanda Gorman and ‘The Hill We Climb’ | Profesorbaker's Worldwide Bilingual Blog

  3. 1. Amanda Gorman thinks that America is unfinished but we can still finish it
    3. “A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.”
    6. descended from slaves and raised by a single mother


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