Exploring Family Relationships with a sonnet by Terrance Hayes

Today’s post is by guest author Charles Ellenbogen, who is in his 27th year of teaching. He teaches high school in Cleveland, Ohio, and has recently published a teaching memoir, This Isn’t the Movies: 25 Years in the Classroom.


logoThis lesson plan features one of Terrance Hayes’s American sonnets from American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, as well as a poem by the Poet Laureate of Ohio, Dave Lucas. Students will compare and contrast the two poems, exploring the father-son relationship in each. This lesson is designed with distance teaching and online learning in mind, and can fit right into any thematic unit on family dynamics and complexities.   Continue reading

The rhyme equation: 1 + 1 = 3

Do your students struggle with analyzing rhyme in poetry? How many more times must we teachers hear “it helps to make the poem flow” or the cringe-worthy “it creates a sing-song effect”? Or maybe they avoid rhyme completely because they don’t know what to say if they can’t use the words “flow” or “sing-song.”

I have a solution that will offer remarkable improvement in your students’ ability to effectively analyze rhyme. It’s an equation, actually. Just tell them to think: 1 + 1 = 3. Continue reading