Now’s a good time to reflect on patriotism
The student council at my high school is planning a Veterans Day Assembly (an outside, drive-thru assembly of sorts) for the upcoming holiday on Wednesday, November 11. One of the members popped into my room on Friday and suggested that students write patriotic poems that could be read at the assembly.
Among Covid-19, juggling both in-school and at-home students, plus new content to learn, I hadn’t given Veterans Day any thought yet.
So… WOW! Don’t you love it when students give you an idea???
I had been planning an Article of the Week assignment for my juniors. However, I quickly changed course, thanked this awesome stu-co member for the idea, and got busy planning a Veterans Day poetry assignment instead.
As a result, tomorrow I’ll assign this “Poem of the Week” assignment to my juniors.
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Veterans Day Poem Assignment Handout
Veterans Day is November 11! Use this sheet to assign a creative, patriotism-themed poem to your middle school and high school students. Three additional ideas (with scaffolded step-by-step directions) are included on the back to inspire students, if necessary.
I would draw a blank, too. I get it.
I know that being told to write a patriotic poem out of the blue would cause me to draw a complete blank, so I consulted the Poetry Machine at Creative Communication to adapt a few ideas to give my students some inspiration.
I use the word “adapt” because the Creative Communication websites primarily serves elementary and middle school students and teachers. Many of the poetry forms and examples are definitely NOT high school-level. Still, I did find three poem forms that, while brief, should still help me accomplish my goal: to give my juniors a poetic nudge to celebrate Veterans Day this year.
Here are the three poem ideas I adapted for my students:
The List Poem
- This poem suggests that younger students find a place, such as a locker, and then simply list what they would find there. I changed it up a bit and asked students to think figuratively and literally.
- For example, my juniors could explore:
- What’s in the heart of a veteran?
- What’s in a soldier’s rucksack?
- A final summarizing line would conclude their list and also help form the their poem’s title.
The Hold On Poem
- This poem suggests that students think of various precious concepts (ideals or personal qualities such as enthusiasm, courage, or love), and insist those concepts be cherished and maintained at all costs.
- For example, my juniors could write about holding on to patriotism, even when they feel it’s being diminished or challenged.
- Students would continue to explore the notion of “holding on” to other related concepts in this poem. Here’s a quick example: Hold on to hope / Even when hope seems to fail. / Hold on to the struggle / Even when the struggle gets tough.
The Holiday Poem
- I almost left this one off my assignment sheet as it seems a little basic. However, I decided to leave it in the mix, since it still might provide students some inspiration, plus it highlights the power of sensory language.
- I’m also requiring students to include two items or objects for each sense. The younger version just required one.
- This one has an easy title: Veterans Day, which is followed by two things one sees on Veterans Day, then two things one smells on the day. The poem continues, respectively, with hearing, tasting, and touching, and then ends with the title line.
- Again, it’s probably the “easiest” of the bunch, but it will no doubt be just the nudge that a few students need.
To get this handout, which is FREE btw, download it from my Tpt store. Please let me know how it works for you and feel free to leave any feedback you may have either on the assignment or this handout.
Let’s not get so distracted…
…that we overlook the importance of Veterans Day. Now more than ever, we need to focus on national unity. Writing a Veterans Day poem should be an effective way to do that.
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