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
Want to #TeachLivingPoets but feel like you don’t know where to start? Or where to find good poems? Then this post is for you. Here, you will find all kinds of resources to help you feel more knowledgeable and comfortable with teaching contemporary poetry in your classroom.
How to find poets
Earlier this week, the third installment of the #TeachLivingPoets Twitter chat dropped. The August 28th chat was hosted by Susan Barber, who teaches in Atlanta public schools. Clint Smith’s poem “There Is a Lake Here,” which is the last poem in his collection Counting Descent (Write Bloody, 2016), was our focus as the common text for the chat. There were so many innovative ideas brought up by various educators all around the country who participated in the chat, and this post is going to sort them all out into an organized poetry unit you could teach in your classroom. Continue reading
Quick — think of a polysyllabic word that starts with R. How about a word starting with C? Okay, now think of four words in a row (in a phrase that makes sense) that all start with W.
End goal: Students will write a poem about or inspired by color.
Step 1: Pre-write Activity – Shades of Green
Across the top of my front board, I hung a row of sheets of paper of different shades of one color. I got the sheets at my local craft store in the scrap booking section for a dime each. It was important to me to get various shades of the same color instead of a rainbow palette so that students can consider the nuances of color and shades. Students wrote down a list of 3 words that came to mind for the different shades of their choice. I encouraged them to not simply describe the shade, but to make associations with objects or actions that come to mind for each color. Then, students wrote what they felt like were their best, most unique words, for 3 of the shades up on the board.
Step 2: Pre-write Activity – Mentor poems
Students were placed into small groups by randomly choosing different colored markers. Continue reading