Lesson Plan Feature: Letters to Poets

Academy of American PoetsPBS NewsHour Extra offers this wonderful lesson for grades 7-10 from The Academy of American Poets, which presents a series of activities for the classroom that allow students to explore and interact with poetry by writing letters to poets.  Aligned with the Common Core Standards, activities address the three literacy areas of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. You can use the series of activities one right after the other, or separate them as you integrate poetry with other areas of your curriculum. The activities are designed to reach diverse learners, but if you need to adapt them further, you can feel free to do so.

Sections include video, pre-activities, whole class, as well as individual/small group activities, and vocabulary.  Here’s a sample of objectives just for Activity 1:  Selecting Favorite Poems from Historical Poets of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda and William Carlos Williams

Students will:

Identify poets whose poetic voices speak to them

Select one of these poets and his or her poem to consider more deeply

Provide verbal explanation/evidence about why they have chosen this poem and poet to their peers

As an added bonus, in conjunction with the Academy’s celebration of letter writing and correspondence this National Poetry Month (April 2013), you are invited to submit your students’ letters to the Dear Poet project for a chance to receive handwritten responses from poets.

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