Slow Chat for Students on Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem

Connect your students with other classes nationwide to learn together and discuss this history-making poem by U.S. Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. Here’s what you need to know to make it happen.

When: Friday, Jan. 29

Start time: 8am EST / 7am CST

Moderator: @MelAlterSmith

This will be a slow chat. We will have students active at different times of the day. For the last slow chat my class participated in, I had them join in the chat at the current question, then go back and answer the previous questions. They were also required to schedule tweets using Tweetdeck to answer the rest of the questions posted after class-time. Don’t forget to include the #TeachLivingPoets hashtag so we can all see each others’ tweets! 

Students can participate whether they are virtual or face-to-face, synchronous or asynchronous.

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Amanda Gorman Inauguration Poem Lessons

On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris were sworn into office. At the Inauguration ceremony, U.S. Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman made history in being the youngest Inaugural poet. Here are several lessons, all shared with their creators’ permission, to help you teach Amanda Gorman’s poem and inauguration poetry with your students.

Thank you Carrie Mattern, Susan Barber, Melissa Alter Smith, Chanea Bond, Teresa Floch, and Pernille Ripp for sharing your work. A full text of the poem can be found here.

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New Hyperdoc for Rudy Francisco

Today’s post comes from guest author Kelly Lawlor. Kelly is a high school English teacher with 10 years experience teaching grades 7-12. She started her career in Pennsylvania where she graduated from college. Currently, she lives in Massachusetts with her family and 75lb. boxer. Kelly does her best to support, encourage, and challenge students through different hands-on learning opportunities. She sometimes collaborates with other disciplines on a project-based learning goal and sometimes utilizes technology to practice blogging or creating digital portfolios.

Kelly’s hyperdoc takes students through learning about Rudy Francisco as an artist, then though several of his poems. Students will learn the specific inspiration behind some his popular poems, explore the importance of connotation and word play, consider tone and metaphor, and finally write a mentor text poem of their own.

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SZA Workshop Series

Today’s lesson is by guest author Dominique James, daughter of Chicago and Southside sweetheart, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Howard University. She has completed research fellowships at the University of California-Riverside and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. After graduation, she was a TRIALS Fellow at Harvard Law School and a University of Chicago HBCU Bridge Scholar. She is a teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors and creates word-based multimedia projects and is a recipient of the 2020 Chicago Artists Coalition Spark Grant and a 2018 Propeller Fund grant from Gallery 400, Threewalls, and The Andy Warhol Foundation. Whether as an event host, performer, or teaching artist, Dominique seeks to inspire celebration and share joy.  
(Photo by Reese Amaru) Visit Dominique’s blog here.

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Celebrate Black Poets

logoTo celebrate Black History Month, I start class off everyday with a poem by a Black poet. Here’s my Playlist if you want to use it in your classroom. Sometimes we talk about the poem afterwards, sometimes we free-write or journal, sometimes we just let the poem be. It depends on the poem and our agenda for the day. This list is nowhere near complete, and I encourage you to discover and share more Black artists who will resonate with your students.

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Name Poem


Family names, nicknames, going by your middle name, common names, cherished names, meaning of names, unique names–these were all up for consideration as students drafted a poem about their name.


Students wrote their full legal name at the top of a blank sheet of paper and spent a couple minutes making a list of all the names they are called or call themselves, including nicknames, terms of endearment (or other terms), mispronunciations (if applicable), and any information they may possibly know about why their name was chosen for them. Thank you to José Olivarez and The YCA The Lesson for inspiring this prompt and the pre-write!  Continue reading