I recently blogged about Teachers' Domain at my Teaching that Sticks site. In observation of Poetry Month, teachers in grades 6 through 12 can take advantage of some excellent resources and teaching ideas utilizing the 37 online video excerpts from public television's Poetry Everywhere series.
In the following video segment, for example, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass shares a translation of haiku by the 18th century Japanese poet, Kubayashi Issa. These "vivid, specific, and often funny perceptions of everyday experiences" provide students with concrete examples of how poetry can be both simple and entertaining. The Teachers' Domain site includes a background essay and content-aligned lesson plans.
Favorite Poem Project This site, subtitled "Americans Reading Poems They Love," is built upon the pretty cool idea of allowing average Americans to share their favorite poems. You'll need to visit the site to see how it came about, but I like the idea a lot since it can be implemented so easily in the classroom using the lesson plans and suggestions provided at the site.
One of my personal favorite poems is shared by this guy:
Poetry 180 Subtitled "A Poem a Day for American High Schools," this site shares 180 full-length poems and sharing suggestions, but it seems that you'll need to do the legwork to make them work in your classroom.
Elements of Literature This collection of free teaching materials provided by Holt, Rinehart and Winston includes a number of writing response ideas in printable pdf format. While the poems themselves do not appear on the resources, they're mostly in the public domain and freely available on the Internet or in printed collections. I would never suggest you break any laws.
Poet's Paradise In this "Collection of Helpful Resources" you'll find web sites of poets, poetry forms, poetry collections, poetic terms glossaries, and more.
Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers If you're counting, yes, this makes it six sites, not five. But I snuck this one in after posting since I like it so much. Lesson plans focus on understanding modern poets and how they "fool with words," in order to encourage students to do the same.
A whole lot, but most importantly: poetry can introduce, reinforce, and extend a novel's theme.
After discussing some overt ways that one might show affiliation with a particular group, we read aloud and discussed a poem together. Some of the lines from that poem included:
I was confusedWhat did the poet discover when he finally let his thoughts out? (He wasn't the only one who was confused, or hollow, or alone). Was it really a somewhere, a place, that the poet sought? (No, he was looking for a group of people who would accept him).
And I let it all out to find
That I'm not the only person with these things in mind...
I wanna heal, I wanna feel
Like I'm close to something real
I wanna find something I've wanted all along
Somewhere I belong.
By now one or two students realized that the "poem" was in fact a Linkin Park song titled Somewhere I Belong (lyrics here, and a million other places as well). We decided that if these guys were truly wrestling with their feelings of loneliness and confusion, they probably weren't working it out with a school guidance counselor. They were more likely jamming in their garage after school, finding affiliation with a bunch of other guys who also felt misunderstood and alone.
The cool thing is, the back cover of the novel used many of the same words as the song itself, and these same ideas were voiced by the novel's narrator, Ponyboy, in the very first chapter.
The official video appears below, and is safe for school, as are the song's lyrics.