Let the Poems Begin!

Today is April 1, which, for many, means a day of tomfoolery and trickery. I’ve always hated April Fools Day, but that’s irrelevant. I LOVE April 1 because it is the start of National Poetry Month!

In the Age of COVID-19, you are probably displaced from your classroom and distanced from your students. Many of you are delivering online instruction with very few resources. Coming up with lesson ideas might prove to be difficult, and you might wonder how you can stimulate your students’ thinking while not overwhelming them when they, too, are feeling all the feels.

One writing exercise I use in my classroom is what I like to call free writing. It’s just what it sounds like – free writing – though there are some guidelines my students and I follow. I outline how I use this writing exercise here. Feel free to change the process to suit the needs of you and your students.

So what does that have to do with poetry? Well, I am glad you asked! To celebrate National Poetry Month, I will be posting a prompt and poem a day. Today’s prompt is based on today’s poem from Poetry Foundation, “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. I challenge you and your students to celebrate poetry today by doing the following:

  1. Read the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. Have fun with it! Read it silently, read it out loud, read it to your dog or to your reflection in a mirror.
  2. Respond to these questions by writing for ten minutes: What is the speaker of the poem rising from and rising to? What are you rising from and rising to?
Maya Angelou in 1969. (Picture from http://www.nytimes.com)

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