"I Am Poem
The I Am poem (Me, 1987) format is simple in design and easy to use as students complete a series of short prompts.
(Title = Name of the person/character/topic)
When using it in a content-area classroom, the students must show what they have learned about a person by understanding what that person fears, wants, needs, worries about, understands, dreams, etc. They can change the prompts if need be to include other aspects of the topic. Completing these prompts shows an in-depth understanding of the person researched."
"Albert Somers recommends devising questions about a poem in such a way as to shape but not limit discussion. He suggests sequencing questions to follow the progression of the poem from beginning to end. In the case of 'My Desk,' Somers might recommend the following sequence of questions:
- Who is the speaker? (Is the speaker male or female, child or adult? Could the speaker be the poet?)
- Who is being addressed in the poem?
- What is happening in the poem?
- What is the speaker's reaction to the desk and the story being told? Is the speaker objective or emotional?
- How does the speaker feel about the desk?
- What causes the speaker to cry in stanza 6?
- What was the meaning of the desk in the speaker's life (see especially stanzas 810)?
- Explain the meaning of the last line of the poem: 'and paint it to match your bright green and lavender dreams.'
Additional questions may be added to this list, but it's always important to remind students of both the story and the language of the poem being read. The discussion questions above are not intended to be used as questions for homework or written response on a worksheet, but rather to stimulate discussion that goes beyond the questions about the meaning of the poem and about what students like about a poem."
[From "A Look at the OGT" by Carol Brown Dodson. Find the entire column in the January 2007 issue of Adolescent Literacy In Perspective.]
More Ideas to Try
Poem in Your Pocket Day
. Participate in a nationwide celebration on April 14 by carrying a favorite poem in your pocket.
William Shakespeare's Birthday, April 23, 1564. To combine teaching iambic pentameter with a study of Shakespeare's plays, see the engaging video "The Rhythm of Language," segment 1
and segment 2
Ohio boasts a number of poets. Among them are:
Click on their names to check out their websites.
Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems by Kristine O'Connell George (Clarion Books, New York, 2002). These short poems home in on middle schoolers' concerns. Sweetly humorous cartoons by Debbie Tilley are tucked sporadically between the pages of poems.
This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2007). The book is divided into two parts: poems that appear to be written by various youngsters offering apologies and corresponding poems of forgiveness from the objects of the apologies. Some are humorous, some serious, some sadall engaging. Lively cartoon drawings by Pamela Zagarenski illustrate the poems.
I Never Said I Wasn't Difficult by Sara Holbrook (Boyds Mill Press, 1997, 2nd ed.). Each poem offers food for thought for tweens and teens to sink their teeth into. Sara Holbrook gives voice to what students are feeling, capturing to a tee the highs and lows of adolescence. Readers are bound to see themselves in the poems in this book.
Naming the World: A Year of Poems and Lessons
by Nancie Atwell (Firsthand, Portsmouth, NH, 2006). Nancie Atwell's compelling resource shows how poetry can give adolescents opportunities to "begin to name the world for themselves: figure out what matters, explore it, try to make sense of it, endeavor to change it, and help themselves begin to live lives of worth." [From "For Your Bookshelf" by Sheila Cantlebary. Find the full review in the January 2007 issue of Adolescent Literacy In Perspective.]
Practical Poetry: A Nonstandard Approach to Meeting Content-Area Standards
by Sara Holbrook (Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH, 2005). Practical Poetry
's casual, teacher-friendly voice makes readers feel as though Sara Holbrook is making a personal visit to demonstrate how poetry can help in meeting academic content standards. [From "For Your Bookshelf" by Sheila Cantlebary. Find the full review in the January 2007 issue of Adolescent Literacy In Perspective.]
Opening a Door: Reading Poetry in the Middle School Classroom
by Paul B. Janeczko (Scholastic, New York, 2003). Author, anthologist, and poet Paul Janeczko offers practical advice to teachers who want to help students have an "ongoing love affair with poetry." [From "For Your Bookshelf" by Sheila Cantlebary. Find the full review in the January 2007 issue of Adolescent Literacy In Perspective.]
is a neat tool that lets students compose all kinds of poems by moving words around.
From poetry.org, here is a webpage
devoted to educators.
At Tips for Teaching Poetry
, you'll find tips for preparing to teach poetry, for reading and writing poetry, and much more.
Poetry goes mobile with you! Poetry.org has made it possible for you to download more than 2,500-plus poems (as well as biographies and essays) from its Mobile Poetry page
onto your mobile device (and also onto your desktop computer).