Source of Poems:

Selected Favorite Poem Project videos.

1. "The lower leaves of the trees" by Sone-no Yoshitada (translated from the Japanese by Kenneth Rexroth)
Read by Kiyoshi Houston, Student, Santa Monica, CA

2. "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Read by William Jefferson Clinton
Former President of the United States,Washington, DC

3. "The Sloth" by Theodore Roethke
Read by Katherine Mechling, Student, Lexington, MA

4. "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen
Read by Mary McWhorter, Accountant, Stockton, CA

5. "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Read by Lee Samuel, Student, Atlanta, GA

6. From "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
Read by John Doherty, Construction Worker, Braintree, MA

7. "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson
Read by Yina Liang, Student, Decatur, GA

Teachers' Reflections:

This lesson is designed to introduce parents and students to the Favorite Poem Project and to inspire families to read poetry together. This lesson will best be presented at the beginning of the year, with the hope that each family will develop its own anthology of favorite poems and engage in frequent discussions related to poetry.

Teaching Ideas:

  • Invite families to a poetry open house. Display poetry books for review as well as a bulletin board devoted to poetry from many cultures.

  • After a brief introduction to the Favorite Poem Project, show the first three selections from the videotape and then stop for questions and comments.

Discuss the broad range of people (young and old, different backgrounds, famous and not famous) who like poetry and the differences between the types of poetry they chose (short poems, long poems, poems in translation, humorous or serious poems).

  • Show video selections 4-7, again stopping for questions and comments.

Discuss the emotions people bring to poetry and the use of poetry to express those emotions. Ask if anyone in the audience has a personal story to share about poetry.

  • Introduce a small packet of poems that can be used as a foundation for the students' personal anthologies. Encourage families to read these poems together and to add poems to the anthology. Emphasize that the poems included should be those they can share as a family, that the students enjoy. The poems may be written in any language. Poems can be added at home and at school. These personal anthologies should travel with the students and be shared and added to often!

  • As a conclusion, the teacher reads a favorite poem and talks about why it is important to him or her.

Teaching Connections:

  • Maintain a poetry bulletin board that highlights selections from the students' personal anthologies.

  • Hold other poetry open houses throughout the year to view other selections from the Favorite Poem Project educational videos and to hear readings from students, family members, and other school staff members.

  • Try to incorporate the personal anthologies into weekly homework assignments to ensure their use.

Lesson by Jennifer Hauck and Merri Jones, Frank Sokolowski School, Chelsea, MA

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