Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem is often carried by many people in their back pockets to remind them of the act of kindness in the most difficult of times. Nye states that the poem came to her after an act of kindness by a Colombian man. Nye and her husband were on their honeymoon when they were robbed of their possessions.
There are several links to videos, interviews, and resources for understanding the poem, the poet and the experience of kindness. Also included in the resource, is a TED Talk that explains acts of kindness and its effects on society. There is an excerpt from the “On Being” webcast in which Naomi Shihab Nye is interviewed. There is also an excerpt from an episode of “This American Life,” where an individual act of kindness changes the life of a runaway teenager. Finally, a one-room school house in Colombia is profiled where kindness and empathy are the rules of the school.
The lesson features an original poetry prompt in which students will analysis the poem, as they will craft a persuasive thesis sentence. Instructions and strategies are included on how to teach a SIFT poetry analysis and hold an inner and outer Socratic Circle.
These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, AP English Language or Literature class to prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities. Now adaptable for ESOL classes.
The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions. There is an addendum that describes how to adapt the lessons for ELL students.
Tags: Close Reading, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, kindness, theme, ELL adaptable material