Today’s distance learning project post is by Brian Hannon, who teaches AP Language and Composition, AP Literature and Composition, and English 11 at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Virginia. Outside of school, Brian currently serves as the Youth and Education Development Fellow at the Washington D.C. non-profit poetry organization, Split This Rock. He also works part-time for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and as a Muay Thai instructor. In 2018, Brian was a finalist for Fairfax County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and was his conference’s Coach of the Year for Hayfield’s Varsity Tennis Team.
Since we’re stuck at home and have been directed to create lessons that students can complete remotely, I’m sure that many of you feel a bit of pressure to come up with engaging, meaningful lessons that don’t require TOO much oversight from yourselves. I, too, am in that boat, so I just wanted to share an assignment that worked well for me and my students, one that they were able to complete independently. In retrospect, I wish I had assigned this lesson AFTER the closure of school, but I don’t think anybody was prescient enough to predict the pandemic that we now find ourselves in! 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.
Joe has curated this amazing list of spoken word and slam poems to get your class started! He also wrote a post about organizing a slam at your school here.
1) What is Spoken Word?
Spoken Word is poetry intended for onstage performance, rather than exclusively designed for the page. While often associated with hip-hop culture, it also has strong ties to storytelling, modern poetry, post-modern performance, and monologue theater, as well as jazz, blues, and folk music. Continue reading
Today’s post is brought to you by guest author, Joe Paris. You can follow Joe on Twitter @ParisBMS.Joe Paris has been teaching 8th grade Language Arts in northeast Ohio for 19 years. He and his colleagues began the spoken word project six years ago and it’s their favorite thing they do with students every year.
Slam into Summer and into Forever
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
I love The Slowdown Podcast with US Poet Laureate Tracy K Smith. Listening to it has become part of my morning routine. If you’ve never listened before, it’s a five-minute long podcast in which Smith introduces a poem with an anecdote, personal story, historical or current event, or some explanation that eventually leads in to what the poem she is reading on that particular episode is about. Then, she reads the poem. It’s a relaxing, thought-provoking, poetic five minutes very well spent. I recommend subscribing if you haven’t already. Continue reading
Today’s #TeachLivingPoets post is brought to you by guest writer, Matt Brisbin. Mr. Brisbin teaches English at McMinnville High School in McMinnville, Oregon, and has been a high school English instructor for 12 years. Aside from reading and writing, his passions in life include spending time with his family and cheering on various sports teams at the high school, college, and professional levels. You can follow him on Twitter @Mbrisbin11.
February is always the time of the year that my students’ energy starts to fade. There is something about the long winters, when the sun goes down early that tends to take a toll on all of us slogging through another school year. I usually save this activity for just these times, because it has been a sure fire way to not only increase my students’ morale and give them some seeds for writing, but it’s also is a great way to continue building a community of learners. This year, I added two spoken word poems by Phil Kaye to add another layer to this lesson, and I was really happy with the way it worked out. 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 first announced to my high school freshmen that we will start our poetry unit in class, I was met with groans and scoffs. While I was disappointed by this reaction, it also resonated with me. When I was their age, I felt similarly about poetry. Poetry was old. Not relatable. Difficult to understand. It was because of their reaction, and my familiarity to it, that I was determined to expose students to poetry that they would connect with and to prove that poetry does not live in the past. It is happening now.
Inspired by the Teach Living Poets movement, I was determined to teach students about the brilliant and diverse poets of today.
For this activity, I decided to do learning stations. I love incorporating learning stations in class because they are focused activities, along with kinesthetic learning, to get students moving and interested in a broad spectrum of a particular subject. Continue reading