Need help with poetry unit

Discussion in 'High School' started by okhistory, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. okhistory

    okhistory Rookie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 12, 2012

    I will be teaching 10th grade English for the first time in 15 years. I am not too impressed with the poetry in the literature book. I need help! I would like fellow teachers to tell me your favorite poems that the students like and that teach the literary elements etc. Also ideas about presenting a poetry unit would be helpful too. Poetry has always been my least favorite area when teaching English...so I would appreciate any and all ideas. Thank You.
     
  2.  
  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    146

    Jun 12, 2012

    Nothing Gold Can Stay and Fire and Ice both by Frost
    There's one I don't remember the name of but it's by a Polish woman and written after WWII. It's about the aftermath of war. My kids drew excellent connections between it and 9/11.
     
  4. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 12, 2012

    My kids have the worst time with poetry. I have to hold their hands every step of the way. I leave poetry until about a month before the EOI because if I did it earlier in the year, they would shut down when they saw a poem on the test.

    I start with a lesson on symbolism. And then we spend some time on poetic devices because they forget and/or freak out about it each year.

    Poems that my kids really like:

    "Ballad of Birmingham" Dudley Randall. And there are a lot of great clips about the church bombing available on youtube to help the kids place the poem.

    "Homage to my Hips" Lucille Clifton. The girls love this poem but that boys don't respond to it as enthusiastically.

    "We Real Cool" Gwendolyn Brooks. Poets.org has a great audio clip of Brooks talking about the poem and reciting it.

    "Lithium" Kurt Cobain (Nirvana).
    and
    "Under the Bridge" Red Hot Chili Peppers

    They want more rap so I did "Tribes at War" Nas and it worked really well.

    There is also a group of tankas in my lit book (and I swear the editors of the book we use were severely depressed as every selection is about death or tragedy) that my kids respond well to. Generally, they are love poems but these four are about how love sucks. High schoolers respond well to that.
     
  5. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 12, 2012

    I disliked studying poetry in HS, but this seems like a great idea. Make it relevant!
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    146

    Jun 12, 2012

    Gwendolyn Brooks and Maya Angelou are always great choices. I remember reading "A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi. Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother burns bacon" in HS and really loving it. Our teacher connected it to Emmett Till, which was very interesting. We also studied the Life article where his killers confessed. I love poetry that has some immediate connections to get them really thinking and then jump into some other poetry :)

    This is the poem I was talking about before http://www.threepennyreview.com/samples/szymborska_su97.html I absolutely love it! It's definitely one of my favorite poems.

    I also do a "poetry slam" day. Students are asked to bring in a school appropriate poem, including song lyrics. They can also bring in something they wrote. They then share their poems with the class. I usually bring in some light snacks as well. Many kids do have a favorite poem or one that they like so they really get involved. I also have a binder full of poems I think the kids will like and they can browse through that to find one. They seem to enjoy this!

    One other idea... In HS my 10th grade teacher brought in tons and tons of magazines and had us cut out words that we thought described us or meant something to us. We then glued them however we wanted onto a piece of construction paper. She then told us that we just created a poem all about us and we got to share them. It was a neat activity.

    I had my kids write sonnets when we were studying the Renaissance. Surprisingly some of them had a lot of fun with it! It was hard to follow a set rhyme scheme and try and only have 10 syllables per line but they came out really well!

    Also, most any poem could be used to teach literary elements. Some are just easier to use than others!

    I think the most important part is to allow them to just enjoy some of the poems you read. I remember hating in HS how we over-analyzed every single thing we read!

    This link is great for poetry lessons http://home.cogeco.ca/~rayser3/poetry.htm

    PM if you have any other questions!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 13, 2012

    So NOT my area of expertise!!!

    But what's the focus of 10th grade English where you are: American, British, World writers?? I would imagine it will make a difference in terms of the answers you get here.
     
  8. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 25, 2012

    I found my kids were most interested in interpreting the poems themselves. We would read through the poem once straight through, again looking for possible metaphors and similes, then pick it apart. I would tell them the generally accepted interpretations, or what the author's themselves had to say, but always stressed that poem's are open to interpretation.

    My kids liked doing Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas. When we were done I showed them the clips from Dangerous Minds when she used that poem.

    The Land of Nod By Robert Louis Stevenson is another good one since it's about dreams. We tied the symbolism in dream interpretation to the symbolism often present in poetry.

    I also love to use SONNET 130 By William Shakespeare. I use it to teach the kids about satire, and we translate the poem line by line.
     
  9. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 17, 2012

  10. HockeyFan13

    HockeyFan13 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 18, 2012

    In the past I've had success when I tie poetry to music. I chose several poems I want to be the focus of my unit and then find a song with lyrics that reflect the same theme. I usually start by listening to the song, then have a brief discussion about theme and other poetry elements we've studied/identified. Then we read the poem, discuss theme/elements and as a wrap-up writing assignment make connections between the song and poem. Here are a couple examples:

    "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson and "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam
    "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye and "To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell

    There is a great site that helps you match literature to music but as a new member I can't link it :( Try searching "Suggestions for Pairing Contemporary Music and Canonical Literature" and you should be able to easily find the list.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. blazer,
  2. vickilyn,
  3. MntnHiker,
  4. skyline
Total: 336 (members: 5, guests: 307, robots: 24)
test