Making Curriculum Pop

I teach in a high poverty, rural school and I am getting ready to teach Dickinson and Whitman to my 11th grade classes. Any ideas for making these two fabulous poets POP! I thought about focusing on Dickinson's obsession with death and Whitman's sexuality because these are always interesting to teens, but I fear homophobia would become a focus for my students.

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Debra - thanks so much for sharing - I love the Whitman Hughes combo!

I did this one before and I loved it - thanks for reminding me of this - but I had not thought about turning it into a song . . . maybe a rap?!! Thanks!
That is a great idea! I usually do Hughes when I get to Modernism, but I think it would be a great way to get my students to see how influential society is on poetry!
Hey Alicia,

You have a great question. Here's a top secret way to get more feedback - when you post in the general discussion forums, only people who are looking carefully at updates will catch your excellent question.

My ten cents - copy and paste this question in the Poets and Writers discussion forum and the American Literature discussion forum - that way all the members of those groups will get e-mails notifying them that you posted a question.

Additionally, we have lots of interesting folks in those groups who know a lot about these things including some people from the Poetry Foundation. I also know that one of the women in the poets group did a whole summer retreat in MA on Dickinson - for that reason you're certain to get lots of feedback!

Thanks for posting - I hope you're having a great holiday!

Great idea! Thanks Ryan!
Yeah, copy and paste = cool - as that makes sure folks with the extra poetry mojo can interact with you!! Thanks for getting out and posting!!! Happy New Year!
I have used the poetry tournament every year with my sophomores, but we have used song lyrics with it. (Several years ago, I had my literary magazine kids bring in songs that they thought were poems and I added some.) For each seed, they have to find five poetic devices that we've learned about. After they finish the tournament, we talk about what makes a good poem. In other words, how did you choose which poem you liked better? Here we discuss imagery, theme, language, etc. I keep thinking I should step it up and use some more traditional poetry. I would love to see what you use, Debra.

I have to share this video because it gives me chills each time I watch it:

They have more, but most of them are unavailable in the US. I have seen more, and they are incredible, but I have no idea which ones they are.

I want to do something like this with my students, but I'm not really sure how as our school is, shall we say, lacking in technological resources. We have some really old laptops that are really slow but no video cameras to use. Hmm, powerpoint seems so tired, but it may have to suffice until next year when we get new stuff (Oh, joy!).

I also would appreciate help on this other project that is cooking in my brain. I would like to use poetry to address our research standards. I was thinking about having them research a songwriter that they like to find out what poets influenced them. Not to dis Aretha Franklin or anyone, but I really hope to get more than Suge Knight lyrics and life story. Suggestions?

I just now realize that this has nothing to do with Walt or Emily. I hope I can be forgiven :).
Thanks Elizabeth! The tournament sounds great! If you are tired of powerpoint, have you tried Animoto?
I have now - looked at the website, applied - and it's awesome! This just might work. I might even get a performance aspect to it if they have to do the audio for the poem. Thanks so much.
I would love that Debra! Thanks so much!
Sorry! Forgot the email!
Debra, I would love to have whatever list you are using. Harlem Renaissance sounds great for the end of the year, too. I think if you go to my profile you can send me a message to my inbox and attach it. Ryan, is this correct?



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