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.
7 Must-See Films on Native American History and Life
The seven documentaries series listed below cover wide-ranging subject matter including Native American peoples’ roles within and perspectives about the film medium, the women’s rights movement, K-12 education, political leadership, literary arts, musical performance, and language protection efforts.
Members of our staff are exploring these five new books published written by a group of Indigenous authors across North America for readers ages 12 and up and we invite you to explore them alongside us. These texts address themes including Indigenous youth navigating adolescent identity, community, and resistance.
18 Teacher Resources on Native American History and Culture
Below are 18 resources that middle and high school teachers can turn to when developing lesson plans related to the roles of Native American peoples in American history and contemporary life. These resources include online exhibitions at the Smithsonian; the Smithsonian’s Native Knowledge 360° Educational Initiative; the work of the Mitchell and Hood Museums; and the growing work of Facing History in these thematic areas.
More Than Monsters: The Deeper Significance of Wendigo Stories
The wendigo stories of Algonquian peoples offer a window into the endurance of cultural resources used to transmit significant moral values, and underscore the power of Native people using these stories to engage in social critique.
Teaching Coming of Age in a Complex World: Blended Workshop Series
Experience our approach to teaching Coming-of-Age literature, designed to increase student agency, empathy, critical thinking and literacy skills, and belief they can make a difference in the world. This blended 3-part workshop series, open to educators in Boston and Cleveland, consists of two virtual meetings and one day long in person workshop.