The teacher at Maple View Middle School asked 11- and 12-year-olds to find inspiration from poems and then write their own. He offered up resources for students to use as a jumping-off point in finding quality poetry, including the Poetry Foundation.
The district spokesperson is, of course, correct: the content should have been reviewed before offering this to young students. There are plenty of inoffensive poetry resources that could have been provided.
Alex Preston took to Reddit to share a screenshot of the assignment set by his son's middle school English teacher asking pupils to read the Tupac poem The Rose that Grew from Concrete and analyze the metaphor behind the late rapper's words.
Tupac studied poetry at the Baltimore School for the Arts in his younger days and later attended classes under the tutelage of writer and poet Leila Steinberg who later served as his manager and helped him earn a record deal.
Even so, he said he was surprised to see the assignment "given how vilified Tupac and rappers in general have been" and especially so as they live in Texas, a state he thinks "tends to be painfully conservative with their public schooling."
"I agree with what you are saying," chicagotodetroit replied. "I had an English teacher who LOVED his job, and every student loved his class because he really made it interesting. But I could never get into poetry because I just couldn't relate."
Preston said he was "surprised and pleased" at the response to the post."I think the broader culture has turned a corner on rap and is far more likely to see it as legitimate music, and I (along with many other Redditors) were appreciative to see that represented on a middle schooler's homework,'' he concluded.
Slam poetry might be one of the best for self-expression: there are no rules or formats for slam poets to follow. It has an element of performance and theatrics and is a way to share a personal story they might otherwise be uncomfortable talking about.
In beginning the Coach/Mentor Poem activity, a lesson in my Tuesdays with Morrie unit, I first had the students brainstorm about a coach or a mentor in their personal lives. I created a Brainstorming Worksheet to assist in their pre-planning for this assignment.
Blackout poetry is a good starting point for new poets because the words are already on the page and students only need to determine which words to use. This strategy can also be used as an interdisciplinary assignment in which students use text from specific content to create a poem about that content, such as using the Bill of Rights to create a poem about the Revolutionary War.
There are several variations of the word-scamble poetry method. One involves giving all students the same group of words and discovering how many different ideas are formulated using those same words. Another involves giving students different groups of words and allowing them to trade words. A last variation involves a bit of stealing by the teacher: Periodically walk around the classroom and distribute new words or take some words away.
Students write out their ideas for a poem without worrying about format. They are encouraged to write freely about whatever emotion or topic they would like to convey in their poem. Then students follow four steps to turn the prose into poetry:
After working through a few of these activities, students often comment on how surprised they are about how many poems they wrote and how much fun they had. I end the unit celebrating their writing with a poetry café, where students share their poems with their classmates and enjoy a few snacks. Creating easy and accessible exercises for poetry writing can turn skeptical students into poets.
Are you tired of using the same poetry lessons year after year? If so, it may be time to update your teaching toolbox. It is important for teachers to create captivating content that motivates students to learn about poetry. Incorporating online resources for teaching poetry is an effective way to make learning poetry fun. Students will always learn best when they are interested and actively engaged.
This is the perfect activity if you have learners that are interested in baseball or sports in general. You will need a stack of poems printed out and enough students to create two teams. What an awesome way to connect poetry to playing sports!
Analyzing song lyrics can be very appealing to the music lovers in your classroom. You can easily connect song lyrics to the elements of poetry. I recommend using popular songs that are school-appropriate for this activity. Students will also be eager to select their own songs.
Bring poetry to life by acting out poems in your classroom. This will be especially captivating for students involved with drama clubs or community acting groups. This hands-on activity will allow your students to not only read poetry but interact with poetry in a unique way.
Word Mover is an online poetry game that allows students to interact with the text to form poems. This is a fun poetry activity that will engage students with technology and encourage them to think creatively. A graphic organizer can be used to supplement this activity.
Poetry escape rooms are a great way to immerse middle schoolers in the learning experience. They will be prompted to solve a variety of problems to solve on their own or in teams. This promotes exposure to poetry and engages students in critical thinking.
Creating slam poetry allows students to focus more on the enjoyment of poetry rather than the technical aspect of writing. This activity is a great way for students to build self-confidence and support one another. Check out this resource to learn more and see examples of slam poetry.
Body movements can be added to motivate students to read. This can be applied to teaching the basics of poetry. Movements can be choreographed with poetry for elementary students through high school. What a great way to get the blood flowing and the brain ready for learning!
If you are looking for a cool poetry activity, you may be interested in having your students make collage poetry. You can gather all kinds of materials for this project. Students will cut out words from magazines to craft poems and create a one-of-a-kind collage.
A poetry wall is a useful space for students to post their favorite poems. The poems can be modern-day song lyrics they enjoy or poems they encounter in their everyday lives. You can use colorful paper to decorate the poetry wall and students can be creative with their designs.
Are you interested in having your students play a clever poetry game? If so, you might want to check out Haikubes. This is a fun game for students with basic instructions that are easy to follow. Students will be engaged with creative thinking while learning about Haiku poetry.
Mad libs are even more entertaining when you use them to learn poetry. You can put this activity into action by selecting any poem and removing several adjectives, nouns, verbs, and adverbs. Students will replace them with their own words. Then students will read their new poems and laugh together.
Poetry writing workshops are a great way for students to practice writing poetry. You can focus on a specific form of poetry or allow students to choose their own types of poems. Students can work with a partner for a more collaborative poem activity.
Brain Pop is an online resource with a ton of fun games for students of all grade levels. The poetry games are interactive and will challenge students as they practice their skills. This is definitely a top favorite poetry activity for students and teachers.
Catch the Beat is a game that teaches students about using meters in poetry. Students will sit in a circle and pass a small drum to one another. The player with the drum will be expected to drum along with the beat of the poem as it is read aloud.
There are many techniques that are useful exercises for poetry writing. Having students write silly poems is one of those techniques. They will select a consonant sound they will use consistently throughout the poem using a prompt. This activity is fun and entertaining for middle school students.
"Revolting Rhymes" is a poetry book by Roald Dahl. These companion activities are suitable for elementary grades and middle school students. Students will be entertained by the humorous writing style of Roald Dahl.
There are several free printable worksheets to help your students understand poetry. These worksheets are enjoyable because they include engaging topics such as "I Think My Dad is Dracula" and "I Eat Spaghetti with a Spoon" just to name a couple.
Students will use their names to create their own poetry! I love this activity because they can think creatively and use words that positively represent them. This is a great way to include social-emotional learning in your poetry lesson.
Magnetic poetry tiles allow children to interact with words. This kit includes everything you need to assemble various poems, stories, and phrases. I would recommend allowing students to work together to create their own poems.
If your students love puzzles, they will enjoy working on this poetry puzzle set. This set includes many different types of poetry puzzles including word finds, crossword puzzles, and more. These puzzles can be used as a center activity.
Poem-a-Day is a fantastic resource for teaching poetry. It is a digital daily poetry series that includes over 250 new poems every year. This would be a great idea to incorporate into a morning meeting or daily class routine.
If you have students that are gifted writers of poetry, you may be interested in researching poetry contests for them to join. Poetry contests are a fun way for students to compete and show off their poetry writing skills.
There are many resources available through the Children's Poetry Archive. One of my favorite activities for middle school is called "The River" by Valerie Bloom. This activity appeals to the senses to immerse students into the poetry experience. 2b1af7f3a8