As I pondered this week’s challenge from the Crew, poetry in the homeschool, I wondered how to find an English credit for a lad when I want to fill his world with the light and wonder I find in poetry. But instead, I have a lad who battles long, poetry is just not his jam. How then, do other parents provide their teens with high school poetry lessons?
It’s also, according to audible… national poetry month! What better month to talk about poetry in!?!?!
The battle rages
Swift and hot
I will not it
Just not not not.
But the words my lad!
I pleaded long
Can’t you see it?
The story and the song?
I will not do it
In today’s post let’s discover some options for teaching poetry with those teens who would really rather not. 🙂 With teens, finding a way to make it interesting, almost always helps. A teacher’s enthusiasm can ignite fires in their pupils.
How to Teach Poetry to Highschool Students
Make poetry a part of life. Add it into the events of the day, or the month, or your life. You could have a daily poetry time, a circle time with the rest of the family, or just read poetry as it suits an occasion. Be creative. Choose good poetry if you can, but read silly poetry if you must. Just show how versatile it can be. Epic poetry, Sonnets, free verse, blank verse, rhyming, narrative, haiku, limericks and odes. Vary the style, mood and tempo just fit it to the events of the day or your life.
Add it to your studies. If you are studying WW2, read poetry that individuals created during the war, after the war, about the war. Let the imaginary fill their minds and just leave it there. World War 2 poetry books like Under the broken Sky, and It rained Warm Bread will capture the hearts and minds of your teens, bringing a poignancy of war they won’t get from non-fiction. If you are studying geological forms, learning chemistry, or even studying calculus. You’ll find a poem that suits almost any subject you can think of.
Some instructors say you should always introduce poetry that is age-appropriate or perhaps a bit higher. I can see the value in that, at the same time, reading poetry that is light and fun is sometimes just the ticket. Urge them higher, but don’t be afraid to introduce the unexpected should the occasion demand it. Mix it up, both topic, style and age appeal.
Introduce a variety of poets. Use the poets of different time periods when studying history, or use historical poems to talk through the seasons. Don’t limit yourself to celebrated poets of the past or just modern day delights. Good poems will speak to us regardless of when they were written.
Use poetry of different lengths to teach drama and presentation skills as you prepare your high school poetry lessons. Help your students to hone the skills they need in presenting information without having to make a speech first. Poetry can teach cadence, tone, and style.
The value of memorization. I know, I know, not often something we have our highschool students engage in. But they have to memorize equations, scientific facts and the like, why shouldn’t they memorize some good poetry as well? Being able to retain facts is a necessary part of working after all isn’t it? Forbes will tell you that memorizing facts helps you to think more critically.
Just as you can use novels to teach some harder literary devices, you can also use poetry to do the same thing. Concepts such as irony, paradox, different types of symbolism and more. After all, the great American poet Robert Frost said, “Poetry is one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another.”, so why shouldn’t we use it to teach our students? Pen and Pad has some suggestions.
How about you eh? What will you use to help your students learn poetry this year or even next? Have you found some creative ways to add poetry to your high school years? What sources will you be using for teaching your high school poetry lessons?