This is the perfect unit for the end of the year—students will be engaged, have fun, work independently, and learn a great deal about poetry. And you won’t have to work so hard at the end of a busy year.
After a full year of analyzing literature from different times, it’s great to wrap it all up with a unit on poets who are writing about the world we live in today. Students often believe that literature is something that exists for another time and another place, but with these pieces, they’ll learn how relevant poetry is to their own lives. All of these poems are by respected, well-known poets who are challenging, questioning, and inspiring readers today.
The 11 poems included in this unit come with ready-to-go questions
to help students work through a close reading of the pieces and to think about the bigger ideas of the texts. These are poems that I have taught to all levels of classes for many years—they are student and teacher approved!
Additionally, writing prompts, creative writing exercises, and a final project
are all included in this unit. There is enough here for over three weeks of engaging and challenging classes
that will get your students reading, analyzing, and writing their own poetry.
Table of Contents:
Poem Theme and Devices Chart
How To Read a Poem, Handout for Students
Poetry Writing Exercises
Poetry Mini Anthology Project, Handout for Students
Poetry Mini Anthology Project Rubric
Original Poem Rubric
I’ve included all of the most modern and relevant poems from my individual lessons in this resource. Click on the links below to see previews for the individual lessons.
Poetry Elements & Devices: Practical Guide With Lesson Plans, Activities, & Quiz
This handout and lesson plans will empower your student to understand the elements of poetry and how they function to create meaning in a poem. Now included in this resource are a ready-to-go quiz, a jigsaw activity for teaching the content, and an alternative poster project for teaching the content including a rubric to grade the project. You can view the full-priced lesson by clicking here
“Siren Song” by Margaret Atwood,
which takes a new view on the Sirens that call to Odysseus,takes a fun and fascinating twist in the end. It’s also a good poem for teaching students not to overestimate their understanding of the themes of poetry. You can view the full-priced lesson on this poem by clicking here
“Hanging Fire” by Audre Lorde
is a super popular poem about teenage girls’ worries and anxieties. You can view the full-priced lesson on this poem by clicking here
“Elena” and “La Migra” by Pat Mora
are accessible and powerful poems about immigration; they also deal with themes of family, power, and language. You can view the full-priced lesson on these poems by clicking here
“The Victims” by Sharon Olds
is about a woman’s changing perspective on her parents marriage and divorce. You can view the full-priced lesson on this poem by clicking here
“Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich
is an engaging poem about self-exploration, dealing with the past, the scars of trauma, and the process of turning pain into art. You can view the full-priced lesson on this poem by clicking here
“Prospective Immigrants: Please Note” by Adrienne Rich
deals with themes of immigration, and portrays the uncertainty and ambiguities of the choices people are often forced to make. You can view the full-priced lesson that features this poem by clicking here
“2000 lbs.,” “Hurt Locker,” and “Eulogy” by Briar Turner
are vivid poems about the author’s experiences in the Iraq war. This lesson incorporates online videosof Turner himself reading and introducing the poems, which make the experience even more relevant for students. You can view the full-priced lesson on this poem by clicking here
“The Writer” by Richard Wilbur
is subtle and complex and nuanced. This story of the speaker watching and his daughter struggle to write her own work is a great choice for teaching the importance of hard work and determination. You can view the full-priced lesson that features this poem by clicking here
Take a break from being the center of the class but don’t stop challenging your students to think, discuss, write, and read.