Tuesday, April 1, 2014
your poet who doesn't know it, Suzanne

'Don your beret...
freshen your mocha...
and step up to the mic...

Poetry is a strange and beautiful creature. There is so much power in such a tiny package.  Students are mystified and intrigued by it.  It pairs with texts from all different genres to amplify the message.

This got Lori and me to thinking about our favorite poems to share with students:

Immigrants- Pat Mora-  I love this little poem!  In class, we paired it with the short story  "Fish Cheeks" by Amy Tan.  It would also work well with Sandra Cisneros's "No Speak English".  

The Road Not Taken- Robert Frost- This poem works well with the song lyrics "Breathe" by Anna Nalick.  It allows them to see how this message is still relevant today. 

The Rose That Grew From Concrete- Tupac Shakur- Pairs nicely with "Four Skinny Trees" by Sandra Cisneros.  This also reminds me of "Dandelion" by Def Jam poet Perre Shelton.  Students enjoy watching this style of performance art.  I also really like this slam poem. You might be inspired to look for more slam poems to share with your classes.  I applaud it but proceed with caution.  It's not easy to find ones that don't include some choice words.

Strange Fruit- Billie Holiday- We work with this poem in conjunction with To Kill a Mockingbird.  It would pair nicely with expository texts about the Civil Rights Movement. The tone shift and how it mirrors the lynched bodies gives me chills!  (Sorry! That's pretty heavy for a Tuesday morning, but it is just so powerful.)   

Remember to exercise your poetry reading super powers and WWAM it!  But also keep in mind that not every poem needs to have a class period spent on it.  Use a poem to settle students down at the beginning of a class period or after lunch.  

What poems do you love to share in your classroom?


  1. Great poems! Love that gif about Billy Collins!! So true! Heading into day two of 7th Writing STAAR. My own 9th grade child felt good about his Eng I EOC. I'm already in planning mode for next year and how I can be better. It never ends, right?!

    1. Wishing the best for your kiddos! I know they'll do great because they've had an awesome teacher!!