Poetry and Basketball

This poetry analysis lesson is great for students to practice their research, close-reading, and annotation skills, AND it gets them hyped up March Madness poetry brackets, if that’s a thing you do (more on those below). The focus of today’s lesson is a poem by Boris “Bluz” Rogers, and I’m so excited to share it with you because he’s a Charlotte poet! Support local poets!

Bluz’s poem about NBA all-star Ja Morant is a perfect fit for upper elementary, middle school, or high school students. Man, I LOVE when poems hit all grade levels! Since the poem is only posted on Instagram, you might need to ask your school’s tech person to make sure it is viewable for class (sorry, can’t help you with your school’s firewalls!)


You can find the text of the poem here. If you would like to edit this document, please go to File –> Make a Copy, save it to your Drive, and edit away. Please do not request access to my file.

You can find the full lesson Google Slides here. This link will force you to make a copy of the Slides, so that you can save them to your personal drive and edit them to your liking. I ask that you please keep the last two slides that include credits to the poet, video, etc. when teaching or sharing this lesson.

Since the poem is all about Ja Morant, it is important for your students to have some basic knowledge of his story before diving into analyzing the poem. This lesson will walk you through everything your students will need to quickly gain an appreciation for Morant as an athlete, Bluz as a poet, and the power of poetry! And the best part is that you don’t “Teach” them anything about the poem. Students discover the craft and meaning in the poem through collaboration and discussion.

About those March Madness brackets I mentioned earlier. Here are a couple of links shared by all-star educators if you need some help getting them up and running in your classroom.

  • Here’s a how-to article with a clear and specific breakdown of how to run the brackets in your classroom by Brian Sztabnik.

As always, if you use this lesson or anything from TeachLivingPoets, please let me know how it goes on social media using the hashtag #TeachLivingPoets. You can follow me for more poetry teaching ideas on Twitter & Instagram: @MelAlterSmith

2 thoughts on “Poetry and Basketball

  1. Pingback: Tribute Poem: “SESTINA” by Porsha Olayiwola | #TeachLivingPoets

  2. Pingback: March Madness Poetry Bracket | #TeachLivingPoets

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