This is the fourth 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’s featured Poet Laureate is Louise Glück, who served as Poet Laureate from 2003-2004. Some of her many honors include a National Book Award, a Pulitzer Prize, and a Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Today’s post is written by guest author Donna Vorreyer, a 35-year veteran middle school teacher and living poet, currently teaching her last year before retirement in grade 6. She has been a presenter for NCTE, IRA, and worked for many years as a workshop leader for the Illinois Writing Project. She has published two poetry collections with Sundress Publications, A House of Many Windows (2013) and Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (2016). Her third book Somewhere between Sweet and Grief will be published by Sundress in late 2020. (And since she’ll be retired by then, she’d love to visit #TeachLivingPoets classrooms!) Find her work at http://www.donnavorreyer.com.
When introducing contemporary poems to middle schoolers (ones that don’t necessarily rhyme or fall into easy narratives), their first responses have a tendency to easily fall into one of two categories– the “I don’t get it” category or the “who cares?” category. I wanted to come up with a strategy that did the following: Continue reading
Getting to the Heart of the Matter with Rita Dove
Today’s post is brought to you by guest author Ann Cox. Ann Cox has over twenty years of experience teaching high school English, including AP Literature and Composition, Creative Writing, and Speech. She also spent several years as a teacher consultant for the Illinois State Writing Project. You can reach her at email@example.com.
This is the second 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. I will highlight one or two of their poems, suggest activities to use these pieces in the classroom, and touch upon their contributions to the promotion of poetry in America.
This month’s featured Poet Laureate is Rita Dove. In addition to being the youngest ever U.S. Poet Laureate, she is also a Pulitzer Prize winner and the only poet to receive both the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts. Continue reading
The idea for this lesson came from Virginian teacher Jen Flisinger. She tweeted pictures of her class doing this activity and shared her directions. You can learn more about Jen on her blog.
I love a poetry activity that:
A) works with any poem
B) encourages a variety of interpretations
C) gets students thinking analytically about specific words
D) asks students to consider how overall meaning is created
This activity fulfills all of these!
Today’s post is brought to you by guest author Melissa Tucker, Rock Hill, South Carolina’s 2018 District Teacher of the Year. Melissa is an AP Lit, AP Lang, and World Lit teacher at Rock Hill High School. Grateful and tired mom of two handsome sons, her extended Bearcat family is always invited to her classroom. She continually seeks opportunities to learn with and from her students and colleagues to improve. She constantly reminds students “if you’re not reading, you’re not learning.”
Going into this school year, I made the decision to switch to choice reading. I focused our units of study around six universal themes: identity, journey, gender and class, beliefs/religion, family, and connection versus isolation. Because I knew that my students would not necessarily be reading the same text as a whole class during these units, I needed a way to quickly establish routines for close reading, annotating, and analytical writing. I also wanted a highly engaging activity that could inspire students to think critically. As a result, we studied José Olivarez’s Citizen Illegal poetry collection (Haymarket Books, 2018), ending with a video chat interview with the poet. Continue reading
Today’s post is brought to you by guest author Ann Cox. Ann Cox has over twenty years of experience teaching high school English, including AP Literature and Composition, Creative Writing, and Speech. She also spent several years as a teacher consultant for the Illinois State Writing Project. When she’s not working, Ann enjoys crafting, reading, and spending time with her family. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re looking for a way to introduce poetry into your classroom this year, “Abandoned Farmhouse” is a great choice. The poem works well for a couple of reasons: Continue reading
Check out the latest poetry collection reviews written by teachers for teachers here. 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.
Finished products. Keep reading for more info!