“Fictional stories and poetry are often held together by fact, and this lesson shows students how they can weave practical knowledge into imaginative writing.” Educator Diane Conmy shares one of her favorite lessons, inspired by autumn and the book “Autumn Leaves” by Ken Robbins.
T&W writer Matthew Burgess brings a new creative writing exercise that refreshes “our perceptual apparatus.” Watch your students slip out of self-consciousness and into play and process with this activity.
In this virtual creative writing lesson plan by educator and poet Joanna Fuhrman, she asks students to choose meaningful objects from home to create the abstract landscape of a map, drawing on images and details from their inner lives to write a poem based on memory and location.
In this article, teacher Brittny Ray Crowell brings the poem, “I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store,” by Eve Ewing to “help students see that poetry can offer a means of reckoning with history and trauma, and to show them that there is power, and perhaps even beauty, in the process of artistic re-envisioning.”
“I urge my students, whether elementary school age or adults, to work for “abundance” as they walk: Look hard, pick up the messages in the cracks you’ve stepped over every single morning. Later you can choose among your riches for your poem” Naomi Shahib Nye writes. In this T&W archive article from 1997, Nye writes about her experience teaching in San Antonio where she and her students read poetry by Latinx poets closely, to inspire their writing processes, attentiveness to detail and their perceptions of their neighborhoods.
Teacher Andrew DeBella shares how he uses Pulitzer Prize winning artist Kendrick Lamar’s music to create a visceral experience of poetry in his classes. We are reminded here that to connect to poetry’s deeper meanings, we have to first feel it awaken within ourselves. Here is how Andrew creates this experience in his classroom:
National Book Award finalist Candice Iloh shares a lesson using the spoken word poem “Afro-Latina” by Elizabeth Acevedo, to ground students in their multiple identities and lived experiences and to utilize literary devices and source material in generative writing exercises.
Laura Wheatman Hill shares ideas to intrigue students with E. E. Cummings’ poem “l(a…(a leaf falls on loneliness)” and teaches students how a poems’ subject matter can often inform its structure.
This is a fun out-of-the-box exercise by Frank Ingrasciotta in which we visualize and describe the letters of the alphabet as pictures then write poems that riff on these pictures using the letters of our own names. The lesson works especially well for visual spatial learners and reinforces those skills for other young writers.