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Poets: Songs My Teacher Taught Me

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

Tech Product Equipment

Computer, Internet access, optional projector & speakers (for class presentation)

Activity Description

This activity titled "Songs My Teacher Taught Me" is a series of three lesson plans intended to guide students through approximately one month of poetry study. This unit involves minimal technology requirements, but extends across a wide range of poetry. Of the eighteen poets included; eight are women, six are African-American; two are nineteenth-century poets and the three lesson plans are thematically broken into "What is Poetry?", "Poems of Childhood," and "Self and Society." Each of the three lesson plans includes a short reading list, a brief introduction setting tone and theme, a series of analytical questions, two creative activities, and at least one writing assignment.

Also at the site you will find all you will need to teach poetry including curriculum, essays on poetry, biographies of more than 200 poets, text of nearly 600 poems, and RealAudio of 80 poems read by their authors. also allows visitors to create their own anthologies of content from the site.


  1. Open the Web Site Example to the page on Curriculum & Lesson Plans.
  2. Select the lesson titled: Songs My Teacher Taught Me. As Anthony notes in his Teaching Guide [www], the lessons can be presented in many different ways and are hence applicable to a wide variety of classrooms and students. We would encourage your to look over the Teaching Guide for ideas on how to present the material.
  3. You may want to prepare a Word document that contains the poems you have decided to use for the lesson so students can re-read the poem while trying to answer the analytical questions.
  4. Decide which of the analytical questions you want to use. You could create a handout with those questions to handout to individual students, or if you are working with a group or class, put the questions on a PowerPoint so students can re-read the questions as they review the poem.
  5. If this lesson does not meet your needs, look through the other lessons and find one that's appropriate.


  1. Start by reading the poems a couple of times.
  2. Discuss some of the analytical questions you have decided to use.
  3. Have students discuss which poems they liked best, citing the passage.
  4. Assist students in writing about the poem and how it made them feel.
  5. See the Teaching Guide [www] for more ideas on presenting the lesson.

Teacher Tips

  • These poems can be used to practice reading skills.
  • Teacher can read aloud, students can silent read, have choral readings, read and listen.
  • Students can write their own poetry alone, in pairs or in groups collaboratively.
  • Students can read and listen online to poems being read.
  • Check out their Tips for Teaching Poetry [www] page for more ideas.

More Ways

  • Students can use the computer to write their poems, using word processing, editing, spell checkers, online thesaurus, online dictionary, etc.
  • For more technology integration, have students establish blog sites using Weebly or Wordpress (or another free blog tool) to post their poems or thoughts about the poetry you have covered in the lesson or as homework assignments.

Select subjects and subcategories

English Language Arts

  • American Literature
  • English 1-4
  • Literature
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.