Sometimes Poetry Can Teach Better than I Can

Take word choice, for example Last December, when I read a student’s second draft of their Treasured Object poem and saw that it contained the word “get” four times, I thought Really? Get? Four times?  It surprised me because I thought I had taught not only sentence variety, but word variety as well. It’s goodContinue reading “Sometimes Poetry Can Teach Better than I Can”

Headline poetry for high school students

Watch older students create stunning expressions from everyday language This year, for the first three days of school, I again indulged in headline poetry with my students. It was a new activity for my new high school students and I was glad for that. (I’ve introduced headline poetry to middle schoolers in the past. ClickContinue reading “Headline poetry for high school students”

When Anxious, Depressed Students Stare into Space

Don’t assume they aren’t listening Last spring in my middle school language arts classes, I taught the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave for the eighth year. It’s the autobiography of Douglass, who was born into slavery. In his formative years, he experienced an epiphany: literacy equaled freedom. As a result,Continue reading “When Anxious, Depressed Students Stare into Space”

“Where I’m From” Poems

My All-Time Favorite Poetry Activity (updated Aug. 2021) “Where I’m From” poems are perfect for going back to school! Read on to get acquainted with this awesome poem that every teacher I know raves about. Have you heard of George Ella Lyon? She’s an American writer and teacher from Kentucky who wrote a poem severalContinue reading ““Where I’m From” Poems”

A Poetry Project that Draws Connections Between the Fires at Triangle Waist Co. and World Trade Center

The Essential Questions: How can history inform public policy? How do people prevent past tragedies from reoccurring? Based on those essential questions (developed with help from our school’s art teacher, Joan Edgmon, by the way), I’m sure that some may think I’ve forgotten that I teach Language Arts. They may even wonder if I’m actuallyContinue reading “A Poetry Project that Draws Connections Between the Fires at Triangle Waist Co. and World Trade Center”

Headline Poetry is So Much Fun!

It’s already my favorite back-to-school activity For the first week of school, my seventh- and eighth-graders created poetry made up of words and phrases found in newspapers and magazines. I found the idea on NCTE’s website, which offers lesson plan ideas. I also accessed this site where I found this beautiful quote that captures, forContinue reading “Headline Poetry is So Much Fun!”

My Students Swept a National Poetry Contest!

Here’s a news release that I sent to a local newspaper. Kirbyville Middle School students swept the junior (grades 6-8) poetry division of the 2018 Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards, a national contest hosted by the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Missoula, Mt. Read about the contest in this post. Joel R., a former eighth-graderContinue reading “My Students Swept a National Poetry Contest!”

Back-to-school poetry: The Sometimes Poem from YA author Kate Messner

A back-to-school poem perfect for the first day (updated 8/21) “The Sometimes Poem” was one of my favorite ways to go back to school with my middle schoolers. I used this project for two years with sixth-graders and loved it both times before I changed jobs to my current high school position. The Sometimes PoemContinue reading “Back-to-school poetry: The Sometimes Poem from YA author Kate Messner”

Get Your Students Published ASAP

Three days in and students are revising submissions for a publisher. I decided not to discuss class rules on Wednesday, the first day of school, because who wants to hear class rules for eight different classes in one day? Instead, we jumped right into a writing contest hosted by Creative Communication (CC). The contest (read aboutContinue reading “Get Your Students Published ASAP”