Facing History invites educators to weave poetry into classroom instruction using four of our teaching resources to shed light on historical and contemporary experiences and to help students process their own identities and emotions.
From the work of Edgar Allan Poe to Amanda Gorman, poetry is a powerful medium of expression that has long played an important role in English Language Arts (ELA) education. During National Poetry Month in April and all year long, educators have opportunities to use poetry in the service of many different learning objectives. From shedding light on historical and contemporary experiences to helping students process their own identities and emotions, the medium of poetry offers educators abundant opportunities to help students connect heart, head, and conscience.
We invite educators to consider these 4 resources—Teaching Ideas, teaching strategies, and a webinar—that can be used to weave poetry into classroom instruction throughout the year:
Celebrate the Power of the Spoken Word
This collection brings spoken word poetry into your classroom to help students raise their voices to make personal, social, and political statements about the issues that impact their lives and communities.
Bio-poem: Connecting Identity and Poetry
This teaching strategy helps students clarify important elements of their identities by writing a poem about themselves or about a historical or literary figure. Bio-poems help students get beyond the aspects of identity that are often more obvious and familiar by asking them to focus on factors that shape identity. By providing a structure for students to think more critically about an individual’s traits, experiences, and character, bio-poems are a way for students to demonstrate what they know about historical or literary figures.
The Problems and Potentials of Poetry as Witness
In the webinar—which served as the fourth session of the Global Summit on Repair, Reconstruction, and Restoration—Pádraig Ó Tuama leads a conversation with fellow poets Marilyn Nelson and Juliane Okot Bitek. During this session, Marilyn and Juliane read some of their poems and also discuss the role of poetry in offering public language for pain, remembrance, lament, and creativity.
How to Build an Affirming Classroom in the Face of Anti-Trans Legislation
In response to the rise of legislation targeting transgender people, Facing History provides resources for educators to build an affirming, welcoming class community for your students, especially trans and non-binary students.
A Brief History of Barbie: From Fashion Model to Ida B. Wells
The introduction of the Ida B. Wells Barbie as part of the Women Series of Barbies marks an opportunity to gain meaningful insight into changing conceptions of gender, race, and education through the emergence and evolution of Barbie.
The world of podcasting offers a platform for marginalized peoples to share their stories that would otherwise go unheard. Facing History provides five podcasts produced by Native American individuals dedicated to fostering healing within their own communities through the process of telling their stories and sharing their insights.
In order for educators to ensure that LGBTQIA+ histories get their due in the classroom all year long, Facing History provides five reads that reflect on evolving ways of narrating the past, while centering underacknowledged narratives and protagonists who may not have been considered appropriate historical subjects in prior eras.
In honor of LGTBQ History Month, Facing History provides a list of ten documentary films and television series for an opportunity to gain knowledge of LGBTQIA+ histories and for educators to ensure these histories are addressed in the classroom.
5 New Books on Native American History, Life, and Resistance
In honor of Native American Heritage Month this November, Facing History staff members selected five new books exploring significant thematic grounds of Native American history and identity to highlight the importance of engaging students in exploring the histories and contemporary realities of Native American peoples beyond this month.