Poetry 180 Brings the Love of Language to High School Classrooms

When the Covid-19 pandemic took off in March, the poet and creator of Poetry 180 Billy Collins started reading a poem every weekday on Facebook Live. The readings—mostly of contemporary poems, peppered with the occasional classic by Shakespeare or John Donne—have been a surprise hit, with 47,000 followers. One woman in Paris left a comment saying that she listens in bed before she goes to sleep, while another in Australia joins with her morning coffee.…

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These Button Poetry Slam Poets Light Up Classrooms

If you ask the average person what they learned about poetry in school, they might remember suffering through a few 17th-century English poets, but poetry in the classroom doesn’t have to be stuffy. Modern poetry can give students a chance to be creative, break the rules, and express themselves. In a fun and open environment, students can think of poetry as an art class with words. They can get creative with language, rhyme, and meter;…

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Living Poets Make English Class More Exciting and Inclusive

The importance of teaching living poets can be highlighted by Amanda Gorman. When the young Black poet in a canary yellow coat dazzled audiences at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, high school teacher Melissa Alter Smith was ready. Using a lesson plan from a friend and fellow teacher, she’d prepared her students to watch Amanda Gorman’s performance and analyze her words. Other teachers took notice, too, and additional lesson plans about “The Hill We Climb” circulated…

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