|Official National Poetry |
Month 2013 poster.
Beyond analyzing poems such as "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns, "A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes, and "Sonnet X" by John Donne, all which have thematic ties to traditionally taught novels (Of Mice and Men, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, and Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther, respectively), my colleagues and I do our best to infuse the curriculum with poetry. It is why many of us got into the business: a love a literature we wish to share. Given this, to me, it only makes sense that the poetry activity I use for NPM promotes the sharing of student selected poetry with other members of our learning community.
The CCLS does include language which continues to supports the inclusion of poetry in hgihs chool curriculum. For example, one could fairly see this Pocket Poem activity of researching, selecting and sharing as meeting the Reading Standard 11.1 (Grades 11–12):
Interpret, analyze, and evaluate narratives, poetry, and drama, aesthetically and philosophically by making connections to: other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, eras, personal events, and situations.The subordinate Key Ideas get at the specifics even more, especially 11.1a.: "Self-select text to respond and develop innovative perspectives."
|The task introduced.|
I introduced the activity to the first class participating Friday morning, and will continue doing so today. The activity is a familiar take on the common "pick a favorite poem" task. The most significant change in the spirit of Poem in Your Pocket Day, is that the extensions of the task emphasis beyond the selection of a single poem. The sharing of a self-selected poem with a number of people from our shared learning community is where the real "work" is. As I explained to my students, it has been my experiencing that the act of sharing a poem is generally seen by the recipient as an invitation to conversation, even by those who either "dislike" poetry or with who may never had experienced an authentic conversation around it.
|Melancholy? Yes. A theme high |
schoolers can relate to? YES!
Students will document their interactions with those who they are sharing with through one of two ways: having the recipients sign a copy of the poem or having a digital photo taken with all three "members" of the exchange (student, recipient and poem) in the frame. My hope is that despite a common task, the variation in poems selected, as well as methods of documentation will reduce "the dropping of fine film" which can result in dispassionate "duplicate grey standard faces" some activities can unwittingly produce.
But, therein lies the real challenge of teaching and the value of poetry in schools!