Tag Archives: Poetry

Mini-Lesson Monday: Connecting to Poetry with Heart Books

Today is my first day back with my students, since my excellent student teacher departed on Friday.  Having observed their learning and their needs for the past six weeks, I have lots of goals for them in mind.  But, most urgently, I am struck by how much I want readers to connect more authentically to literature–to nurture their investment in, and passion about, literacy.  I want to begin helping them do that by creating and curating Heart Books, which I heard the excellent Linda Rief present about at NCTE in 2013.  Thank you to the very thorough Vicki for this excellent description of Heart Books.

Objectives — Using the language of the Depth of Knowledge Levels:  Identify a topic/theme to explore in heart books; Collect and display a variety of poems about this topic/theme over time; Connect your poems to your topic and yourself.


My heart map

Lesson — We’ll begin the lesson by returning to the Heart Maps (here’s a great handout on those) we created early on in the school year.  “Choose one topic on your heart map that you’d like to explore further.  On my heart map, I think I’m going to choose my students–this kind of includes themes of learning, growth, and teaching, too,” I’ll explain.

Once students choose topics from their heart maps and expand on what themes they might include, we’ll create a new section in our writer’s notebooks called HEART BOOKS.  Then, we’ll browse various poetry anthologies and collections (check Amy’s selection out if you seek inspiration for building your poetry shelf!), searching for poetry that matches their selected theme.  I’ll ask students to copy the poem into their notebooks once they’ve made a selection.


My poetry shelf, unshelved

From there, Linda Rief suggests having heart-bookers illustrate the poem, write a response about why it was chosen, and research the poet to find out what he or she might have to say about reading and writing.  I’ll encourage my students to do the same, but also will ask them to make a note of their favorite bits of language from the poem–words, phrases, or even punctuation.  The craft moves poets make are valuable teachers of writing.

Follow-Up — Next class, I’ll ask students to share in groups their Heart Books.  Perhaps we’ll have a notebook pass in which we write in one another’s notebooks, responding to each other’s poems.

For the remainder of the year, once per month, I’ll set class time aside for curating Heart Books.  By the end of the year students will have created a personal anthology of ten poems that help them explore a key theme in their Heart Maps.

What routines do you have in place that help your students connect to literature and explore personal themes?


Why We Should Challenge Our Students–And Ourselves

I’ve recently found myself in a learning situation I’ve rarely experienced before–a classroom where I am the slowest, lowest, and neediest learner.  The one whose work is nowhere near the level of everyone else’s.  The one who asks the dumbest questions.  The one who is silent and stricken after asking the dumb question.


My own messy attempt at a poetry exercise

Those of us who grow up to become English teachers are skilled readers and writers, for the most part, and we were generally successful in educational settings.  We loved reading, we enjoyed writing papers, we received positive feedback from our teachers about our work, and we got good grades.  This is eminently true of my own educational experience, so I’ve never been able to truly empathize with how my struggling students might feel about our class time together.

The work of learning is tough in general, but standing out as the worst learner is a pretty unsettling feeling, I’m finding out.

The poetry workshop I’m involved in, which has shattered my confidence as a writer (while simultaneously strengthening my writing skills) is taught by award-winning poet Mary Ann Samyn.  This Bolton Professor for Teaching and Mentoring is the leader of our little band of misfit poets, and has been “poem-ing it up” for decades.

Mary Ann’s resulting ease with the language of writing and teaching poetry is obvious to witness.  She has clearly internalized and automatized much of the vocabulary of poetry–she tosses out phrases about meter and iambs and syllables and line breaks with such grace that I can tell she’s been thinking and talking about poetry for years.  “A line of poetry is a unit of measure,” she said.  I hastened to write down that line, marveling at its simple wisdom.


My classmate, an MFA student, scrawls her own messy poem

It occurred to me, as I jotted down that poetic utterance of Mary Ann’s, that this is how I must sound to some of my students–as though I’m speaking another language.

As I sit in the workshop on Thursdays, surrounded by MFA students who have years of experience as real writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as teacher-poets who have published their own verse, I feel so lost.  I am in a world I don’t feel I belong to–I do not yet identify as a poet, but I feel surrounded by them, trying to do the work of writing poetry and reading poetry and thinking about teaching poetry.  I wonder if I’ll ever get to their level as they gently question me about my writing, trying to make sense of my meaning, and give me suggestions about my work.

Regardless of how I view myself in the group, one thing is clear during the workshop–I am part of the community of poets, for 90 minutes every other Thursday.  I give and receive feedback in the same way the other writers do.  I participate in the exercises everyone else does.  I write poetry within the same time constraints as the others.  I am treated as a poet, even if I don’t think I am one.

Being part of a writing community with such rigor is hard, but it’s valuable.  I would never use the word “fun” to describe my time in the Bolton workshop, but I would argue that perhaps the best learning is not fun.  I find myself determined to write poetry alongside those real poets, even as I dread reading my words aloud to them moments later.  In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink argues that my drive to do this is innate to all learners:

“We have three innate psychological needs—competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy.”

I make an effort to improve as a poet because I need to feel competent, much like our students work to improve as readers and writers because they desire competence, too.  In all educational situations, learners perform not because of the dangling promise of a grade, the threat of failure, or the pressure to comply with a controlling teacher.  They perform because they want to prove competence to themselves.

I asked a few students about this topic.  This summer, Shailyn read the Pulitzer-winning All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  She said the vocabulary was difficult, the book was long, and the writing style was strange–it was one of the toughest books she’s read.  “Why did you have the confidence you could read it?” I asked her.  “When you encountered those challenges, what made you say, ‘I don’t care.  I’m gonna read this anyway.’?”

“Because I have goals.  I like to feel challenged, and when I finally figured out how [the protagonists’] stories came together, I felt satisfied.  And I felt like I learned a lot from that book when I finished it,” she said.  Shailyn wanted to know that she was a competent reader–comprehending that book showed her she was.

Hunter, too, recently finished a book that challenged him.  “I hate this book,” he told me in the midst of Lone Survivor.  “You can abandon it,” I reminded him.  “No!” he said, forcefully.  “I’ve gotten two-thirds of the way through it.  I’m not giving up now.”  Hunter finished the book of his own accord, exercising his autonomy.

Lakynn agreed that learning is intrinsically motivated.  “You feel better about yourself when you’re more educated about a topic,” she told me.  “If you’re not knowledgeable about something, you can’t relate to someone more educated.  You want to learn about things so you can have those conversations with people about them,” she explained.  The social aspect of a learning community is evident and powerful here–Lakynn sought information about the Republican presidential candidates to fulfill her relatedness needs.

The more I talked with students, the more I discovered that what I thought was frustration with my difficult learning experience was actually profound satisfaction.  Yes, my confidence was crushed–I thought I was a good writer.  But knowing that I had so much room to grow created a hunger for more knowledge–I needed to learn, to belong, to feel competent again.  And so, I leave the Bolton workshop energized, confused, and with my mental wheels turning, every time.  The rigor of that learning–the toughness of it–is what makes it so satisfying.  I’ll remember that the next time I sit down beside the accomplished poets in my class, and every day I design lessons for my students.

Our students flourish when we create an authentic, rigorous learning community for them to be part of.  Difficult books, intimidating writing pieces, and high expectations combine to create an ideal situation in which autonomous learning can occur.  The beauty–and the learning–lie in the challenge.

I’ll leave you with a gem from one of Mary Ann Samyn’s collections of poetry, Beauty Breaks In:

Beauty breaks in everywhere.
Welcome to the wind-powered poem.
Like the ocean or the woodcut of the ocean.
I heard the hardest thing and listened.
Syntax says, you first. Shimmer half-scolds.
I said, I am loved. Sometimes a correction happens.
Fear made it one full week. A human action.
I stopped making it worse than it was.

How to Respond to All Writers–Students and Professionals Alike

In a workshop classroom, all authors are mentors.  They are teachers of the craft of writing, and the foundation of the workshop model is built on acknowledging and celebrating them as such.  All writers are apprentices of other writers–Stephen King notes this in On Writing, Katie Wood Ray points this out in Wondrous Words, and Penny Kittle champions this in Write Beside Them.

This week, we’ve practiced treating two types of writers as mentors in our classroom–published authors and student writers.

Once we set up our writer’s notebooks, we began filling them with all things personal to us.  Heart maps, important photos, our hands, lifelines, reading histories, and more.  Then, we turned to adding the words of other writers.


My writing atop Jacqueline Woodson’s

I wanted to show students the power of other writers’ words.  I wanted to teach them to read poetry not to “torture a confession out of it…to find out what it really means,” as Billy Collins writes, but to celebrate the act of simply reading that poem.  So, we glued in an excerpt from Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming.  I modeled for students how to respond to Jacqueline as a real writer, to notice and note her craft moves, to be inspired by her ideas and write more about our own feelings on those topics.  We wrote atop her poem, prioritizing our responses, reactions, and ideas rather than some analysis or “dulling down” of her meaning.  Responding personally and authentically to published authors will become an important part of our daily routine in our writer’s workshop.

I invited students to enter into a written dialogue with the authors we read.  So, as I settled down this weekend to begin reading a tall pile of student writing that had been turned in, I knew I had to walk the talk, as Amy always reminds me I must.  I ask students to treat authors as real people worthy of critical response, so why would I treat my student writers any differently?  I’ve always struggled with how to grade/evaluate/respond to student writing, but I’m thinking about it in a new way this year.  I just want to have conversations with my students about their writing, whether it’s in the form of a writing conference or in a weekend session with a stack of papers.  I know that when these conversations occur, student growth will follow.  In the excellent Portfolio Portraits, edited by Don Graves and Bonnie Sunstein, Linda Rief writes in an essay IMG_9248titled “Finding the value in Evaluation:”

I have discovered that students know themselves as learners better than anyone else.  They set goals for themselves and judge how well they reach those goals.  They thoughtfully and honestly evaluate their own learning with far more detail and introspection than I thought possible.  Ultimately, they show me who they are as readers, writers, thinkers, and human beings.

My thinking aligns with Linda’s.  When I remove myself from the role of “grader” or “evaluator,” I become an authentic reader of my students’ writing.  I invite students to assess their own writing, which in the words of Linda Rief “shows the value in evaluation.”

So this weekend, I read my students’ writing like I read books.  I noted beautiful lines they wrote, jotted down spiffy words they harnessed, and responded to thought-provoking ideas I saw them getting at.  I asked them questions, wondered about their meanings, and looked very much forward to reading more of their words in the future.  I will confer with students as I return their papers, and we’ll talk about how they might move forward with some of the topics, ideas, and stories they’d begun in these early writings.

In our classroom, we consider our responses to published writing as important as the writing itself.  The value of reading and writing lies in the interaction between the reader and the words, as Louise Rosenblatt describes.  When I transfer that value from the way I want my students reading writing to the way I want to read my students’ writing, new and important opportunities for student learning occur.

#PoetryChat – Boys & Poetry – Monday, August 3 8ET

IMG_8888This week, the writers of Three Teachers Talk are together in Durham, New Hampshire at the UNH Literacy Institutes.  For five days now, we’ve learned with Penny Kittle and Tom Newkirk about strengthening our practice and our thinking.

Newkirk’s class, centered around his Misreading Masculinity (2001), is focused on boys and literacy.  We’ve read and discussed issues of violence, humor, personality, sexuality, power, and more–all surrounding boy readers and writers.

Join us to continue this conversation on the topic of poetry.  The four of us will be together in Portsmouth, ready to chat on Monday at 8ET.

1. How do you notice your boys responding to poetry in your classroom?

2. Should boys write poetry in an English class?

3. How is poetry uniquely valuable for boys?

4. How do you hook boys into poetry?

5. What are your best poems, poets, or poetry resources to engage your boys?

Poetry Chat August 3

#PoetryChat Tonight, 8ET

poetry-prompts-rantLet’s talk poetry.

A few months ago, a pre-service teacher I know asked me to give her some feedback on a poetry unit she’d written.  Her mini-unit, a 25-page document filled mostly by her professor’s formatting requirements, troubled me for a few reasons.

First, as Amy established, poetry is more than a unit–it’s a powerful way of teaching linguistic precision, the art of writing, and the freedom of expression.  It shouldn’t be a two-week item to scratch off a curricular checklist.

Further, pre-planning a unit in such a detailed way takes the power out of learning. “You’re doing too much of the thinking in this unit, and your students aren’t doing enough,” I wrote to her. She had selected every poem, every genre, and every skill for her students to learn–in doing so, she took away a valuable opportunity for her students to seek out, evaluate, and share found and original poetry.

Second, this teacher’s unit was full of contradictions.  I loved seeing her ideas about including slam poetry, spine poems, blackout poetry, and other engaging, unique poetry possibilities.  However, I was confused by what seemed to be an obligation she felt to teach every literary and poetry term ever.  “Focus on getting your students to learn how to WRITE poetry by studying other AUTHORS of poetry,” I advised. “When Dickinson was writing poems, it wasn’t because she was like ‘oooh I love metaphors’–it was because she had a broken heart.”

In teaching poetry, it seems like too many of us are yoked to an antiquated view of poetry–metaphors, dactyls, metric feet.  We are focused too much on the HOW of poetry, and not enough on the WHY.  As we teach our students, let’s focus on them as poets, not simple readers of poems.

Join us tonight at 8ET for a #poetrychat about ways to transform our students into poets by getting poetry off our shelves and into their hands, introducing them to mentor authors, and encouraging play with nontraditional poetry forms.

#PoetryChat Questions:

Warm-Up: Your favorite line or phrase from a loved poem

1. Why do you think many students find poetry intimidating or inaccessible?

2. When you teach poetry, how do you balance the students’ READING of poetry and WRITING of poetry?

3. What are your favorite genres of nontraditional poetry (prose poetry, spine poems, etc.)?

4. Who are your favorite mentor poets? How do you use them to teach your students?

5. What can our students gain from novels in verse? What are your favorite in-verse titles?

6. Let’s finish by sharing our most successful poetry teaching stories. What’s yours?

Reflection, Rejuvenation, Rebirth

May and June always bring sunnier skies, feistier students, and more hopeful days.  Like Amy, I enjoy the last weeks of school, and often spend many of them feeling proud of my students, making big plans for the next year, and reading a ton in order to ramp up my booktalks.  This time of year is my time for reflection, rejuvenation, and rebirth.


This spring, I’m excited that I have the opportunity to participate in a National Writing Project course, which is uniting me with other English teachers from my area.  Talking with them has helped to energize me even more so than usual at this time of the year, and some of their words have really helped me reflect.

First, my notebook musings during our first class led me to a powerful play on words–listening is at the heart of our teaching.  I’ve written before about the value of talk, but I’m thinking long and hard now about the power of listening…truly hearing our students’ hopes and strengths and worries and wonders.  I’ve paid special attention to emphasizing listening in my lessons these past few weeks, because I know I won’t get to hear these wonderful students’ words after the year ends.

Later in the NWP class, while assessing some of our students’ written products, we were asked to identify the skill we had been aiming to teach, and then evaluate how well our students internalized that lesson.  Claire, an elementary teacher, said that it was impossible to look for just one thing–“Writing is so…big,” she said.  I couldn’t agree with her more.  As I read my own students’ work, I saw themes of my own pedagogical beliefs running through their writing.  They were using beautiful language, inspired by our daily poem or craft-study quickwrites, in all of their writing–nonfiction too.  They were writing strong pieces thanks to the risks they felt safe taking in their choice of topic, genre, and style.  They were producing prolifically, writing long, short, funny, serious, sad, exciting, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose–everything.  Their portfolios are thick with creation.  Writing is big, indeed.


It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and with that came some delightful thank-you notes from my students.  One student made a list of things he was thankful I did, and he repeated how thankful he was for my “cool passionate thing for teaching…like seriously, the passion thing.”  I recently read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that claimed the four properties of powerful teachers were personality, presence, preparation, and passion.  I like to think of passion as fangirling, which I do on a daily basis about books, student writing, authors, and all things bookish.  I’m never sure how much of that passion reaches students, but since this one specifically noted the “mega good booktalks,” I think it gets through to at least some kids.  This thank-you note really rejuvenated me, and now that I know my booktalks are working, I’ll keep at them with new gusto until June 12.


Continuing to revise and change my curriculum doesn’t stop because the year is nearly over.  I’m still wildly out of control on Amazon, buying titles as I get ideas for new units, themes, or genres (like the huge list of novels in verse I jotted down during our #poetrychat Monday night).  A new focus on science fiction, poetry, and nonfiction has been what I’ve noticed in my cart of late.  I am changing as a reader and a teacher, valuing those genres more than I once did, making a strong effort to transfer that new passion to my students.

My teaching philosophy is constantly shifting, evolving, being reborn.  Its biggest shift this year, I think, can be best summed up with a quote from another NWPer from my class last week.  While talking about meeting and learning from great teachers at NCTE, he said he felt like they were “the Wizards of Oz, but they were inviting me to peek behind the curtain.”  I love this analogy, because while great teaching may seem like unattainable magic, I now feel like I understand how to be effective.  I’ve studied living, breathing mentor texts like Penny Kittle, Tom Romano, Amy Rasmussen, Jackie Catcher, and Erika Bogdany, and am looking forward to learning from Tom Newkirk at UNH this summer.  In the past two years, I’ve been reborn as a teacher, whose confidence has grown as I’ve continued to strengthen my practice by dissecting and imitating the successes of others, just like my students do when we analyze mentor texts in class.

Springtime is a time for reflection, rejuvenation, and rebirth.  Nature is no different from my teaching as I think about this year and next, and about the beauty of its constant blossoming and change.  I know our last six weeks will fly by, so I’ll enjoy every moment of them before the luxurious summer begins!

What are you reflecting on this spring?  What has rejuvenated you as the year comes to a close?  What elements of your teaching will be reborn this year or next?  Share in the comments!

Hey, Do You Want to Hear a Good Poem? #poeminyourpocket

What makes a good poem?

I like to ask my students this question. They usually fumble with an answer.

That is what makes reading poetry with students rewarding. Eventually, even the hardest teenage heart will come to at least appreciate the complexity of language — maybe she’ll never appreciate the beauty of it, but she will appreciate the craft of the poet.

Sharing good poems with students on a regular basis proved a hard goal for me this year. (Better than last; not as well as I wanted.)

One go-to book is Garrison Keillor’s collection of Good Poems, as Heard on the Writer’s Almanac. It is a must for every English classroom. My wish list includes two other volumes:  Good Poems for Hard Times and Good Poems: American Places. 

I especially like how Keillor sets the tone of the selection with poetic lines in the introduction that describe what makes a good poem:

Stickiness, memorability, is one sign of a good poem. You hear it and a day later some of it is still there in the brainpan.

What makes a poem memorable is its narrative line. A story is easier to remember than a puzzle.

[Poems] surprise us with clear pictures of the familiar.

And this beautiful paragraph, an epigraph for Emily Dickinson, really:

To see poetry finding an existence that its maker never imagined, visit Emily Dickinson’s grave in Amherst. Here lies the white-gowned virgin goddess, in a cluster of Dickinsons, under a stone that says “Called Back,” and here, weekly, strangers come as grieving family, placing pebbles on her big stone, leaving notes to her folded into tiny squares, under small stones. Dickinson was a famous recluse who camped in the shadows in the upstairs hall and eavesdropped on visitors, and now there are few graves in America so venerated as hers. She is mourned continually because the quickness and vitality of her poems maker her contemporary, and when you make flies buzz and horses turn their heads and you declaim Wild Nights! Wild Nights! and give hope some feathers, you are going to have friends in this world for as long as English is read.

I just love that, and Dickinson isn’t even my favorite.

I am finding favorites though. So far, my favorites are the poets I know in person: Dawn Potter, and  Meg Kearney.

My students need the chance to find favorites, and that is why I must expose them to good poems. Reading aloud poems on a regular basis has the same effect as talking about books regularly.

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day.  Will you participate?

Because I know I need to be more consistent with poetry, and even though we are in the middle of a giant writing project, my students and I paused this week and talked poetry. We read and questioned and laughed and loved being immersed in beautiful language.

We pulled the poetry books off the shelves, (I only have about 15, so far, so we had to share) and we wrote out poems on pretty paper to put in our pockets. I challenged students to share their poems throughout the day.

Some balked.

Some said sure

but meant no way.

Others will follow my lead:

“Hey, do you want to hear a good poem?”

©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2015

See the #Storify of #engchat March 23, 2015 — Fantastic Resources for Poetry

Thanks to @Drama_Chick for this Storify.

For one very fast hour this evening, Twitter blew up with the talk of poetry as English teachers near and far shared ideas for immersing their students in the beauty of words. So many fantastic resources and such great thinking! Thank you to everyone who participated, and thank you for taking a look here even if you didn’t.

I remembered one thing I wanted to share and didn’t. It comes from the book  A Surge of Language–Teaching Poetry Day by Day by Wormser and Cappella. I modify this list a bit and use many of these questions with my AP Language students as we look at non-fiction passages for rhetorical analysis.

Ten Questions to Ask About Words

1. What word intrigues you most?

2. Is there a word that confuses you?

3. What word surprises you?

4. What word seems most metaphorical?

5. Is there a word that seems unnecessary?

6. What word is most important?

7. What is the most physical word in the poem?

8. What is the most specific word in the poem?

9. What is the strongest sound word in the poem?

10. What is the most dynamic verb in the poem? (12)

I believe that poetry can make us better humans. If every person immersed himself in beautiful language, we’d all find much more peace. Be more kind. Loving. Genuine.

Let’s try it.

Challenge on.

They Taught Me the Lesson Here: It’s About Time

Please tell me I am not the only one in a rush. Every spring I feel this pressure to teach more, do more, assign more. I know part of it is the AP exam date creeping closer and closer. I know my students are still not ready.

We still struggle with rhetorical analysis. Most students are getting better at recognizing devices in the texts of others, but when they try to analyze the effect? Well, the light bulb is still quite dim. And I have to practically beg to get students to add a device or two in their own writing. So many are afraid to take risks or to explore with words and sentences.

As a way to help students play with language, I turned to POETRY. (Yes, even in my primarily non-fiction AP Language class.)

We read Meg Kearney’s “Creed” poem together, and we talked through the moves she makes to craft it.

Students noticed the sound devices, the contradictions, the little story, the concrete details. They did a fine job of noticing.

But we have to do much more than notice. And that’s the hard part.

I found this “Creed” assignment by a Mrs. Rothbard online, which fit my hopes for my students exactly, and I asked students to read and study the poem themselves and then mirror the moves of our poet.

I still cannot believe how difficult this was for some of my students. Some simplified the assignment and just wrote their own lovely poems. Others made beautiful lists of their personal beliefs — but that was not the assignment. Others modeled Kearney’s first few lines and then rambled on about angst-filled beliefs that the student writers didn’t even care about when they read them to the class. (Note to self: Revision workshop must last much longer next year.)

But, some…some student writers took ownership of their own craft and composed lovely poems, modeled after our writing coach and poet Meg Kearney.

Here’s the links to JerashiaGuillermoNaWoon, Doreen, Josh, and Sydney-Marie‘s blogs where they posted their poems. They’d love it if you’d read them and maybe leave a comment (actually, they will probably die because they think publishing to the WWW makes them anonymous–so much scarier to read their poems aloud in class, which is a topic of another post I need to write.)

I learned some valuable things as a result of this writing task, and I am glad that my students talked to me about what worked and didn’t work for them. I am glad I took the time last week to let them talk.

The comment that will guide our learning the rest of the year came from a table in the back when one of my quiet ones said:

“Could we slow down? We need more time to write with you in the room to help us.”

Yes, I know that.

If I want to truly help my students grow as critical readers and writers, I must devote the time to letting them think, draft, read, write, revise, re-do, share, and all of this again and again with me in the room as their coach, their mentor, and their cheerleader.

My students need to talk to me and to their peers like I talk to my husband and my collaborators when I am writing.

I thought I had this down by now. But what I think is enough time is obviously not what my students think is enough time, so I’ll listen, and starting today.

Class time will be different.

©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2015

I’m hosting #engchat March 23 7:00ET: We’re Talking Poetry as More Than a Unit

poetry answer-quote

Before I attended The Conference on Poetry and Teaching at The Frost Place last summer, I was a reluctant, resistant teacher of poetry. Sad to say, I never had a memorable experience with poetry until I was in my 50th year.

At The Frost Place, I listened and joined in conversations with working poets about language and their craft. My heart changed. I finally understood because I lived that language for a glorious week surrounded by these people with poetic souls and a view of the White Mountains smiling down on me. Oh, Franconia, NH. (Read about my experience here.)

By no means am I an expert when it comes to poetry in the classroom; however, nobody has to be! Our job as teachers is to help our students grow in literacy skills. Poetry helps us do that.

We bring a beauty into our classrooms, a peace that our world is so often lacking, when we allow poetry to be spoken, heard, shared, and felt.

#engchat is Monday March 21, 2015 at 7:00 ET. That’s 6:00 CT for me, which is why I forget and rarely make it to this chat. The family dinner hour for me in Texas. I’m eating out and early on the 21st though.

TOPIC: Immersing Poetry into ELA Instruction

Questions for Our Chat:

Q1: What are some ways, other than a poetry unit, that you use poetry in your class? #engchat

Q2: “Play is what we want to do. Work is what we have to do,” said W. H. Auden. Poetry is both of those things. How do we use poetry for work and play? #engchat

Q3: We can teach most any skill with poetry that we can w/ prose. Agree/disagree? If agree, what skills do you teach with which poems? #engchat

Q4: Last question. What resources can you share that will help us all immerse our students in beautiful language, daily? #engchat


Do you have any other questions you’d like us to talk about during #engchat? Please leave a comment.

©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2015

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