Teaching Poetry?

So recently I decided to drop my idea of becoming a teacher, for now, and focus on writing. But I wanted to talk bout how when I took my first teaching class we had to write a lesson plan and NO ONE wanted to teach poetry. I feel like oftentimes when I hear teachers or future educators talking about teaching poetry it’s with a little bit of fear and, or agitation. So I’ve thought a lot about how to teach someone to write poetry who has never written it before. I did end up writing a lesson plan introducing poetry and it began with a slam poetry video. Then I had printouts of a Tupac song and an Emily Dickinson song that both used rose imagery to point out how differently the language was and how many ways you can use any one image. My favorite part though was I was going to have the kids pick from a list of emotions, have them write an anecdote that made them feel that way in a journal, then circle all the “important words” and then copy those down onto another piece of paper. I would give them a moment to rearrange if they liked and add words they felt were necessary. So I’ve really liked this approach since. I feel like this would be a good way to introduce writing poetry to anyone who has never written poetry before. Of course this wouldn’t generate the best poetry, however it would be a good way to think about how language isolated can work without attaching it to an essay form.

Were there specific lesson that were really helpful when any of you started writing poetry? I think I mainly learned from reading poetry and learning to close-read.

One Reply to “Teaching Poetry?”

  1. Gabi,
    I really like how you included Tupac as a poet because I think that if we’re going to continue as ambassadors of poetry, we need to look to the words of those who have been silenced as well as those who were privileged to speak. I also really like how you had them rearrange the words of other poets because the element of play in poetry is really what I see lacking in poetry education in grade school. I think that really plays into the fear on the part of teachers, as well, because we perpetuate this idea that poetry is about rigid forms and flowery, inaccessible language, but we need to let students know that poetry can come from anywhere and anything.

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