LESSON PLAN
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National Poetry Month Resource and Lesson Plan

Enrich student learning and creativity using MY HERO curated resources, including short films illustrating poems.

Poetry Month Lesson Plan
Credit: MY HERO

Amanda Gorman, America's First Youth Poet Laureate

"For there was always light. If only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it."

On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021, America’s first Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivered her original poem "The Hill We Climb" after the swearing in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Students can listen as they read Amanda Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb". 

The Hill We Climb by Poet Hero Amanda Gorman

"For there was always light. If only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it."

Students read this story about Amanda Gorman to learn more about how Amanda used lyrical poetry to help overcome a speech impediment. 

The text to her poem "The Hill We Climb" is included. 

Amanda Gorman: The Poet Who Healed a Nation

By: Shannon Luders-Manuel

Students are invited to submit their poems to the Mattie J. T. Stepanek Poetry Contest. Deadline is May 1.

Poetry Contest
Credit: MY HERO

Classroom Activity - Poetic Cinema - How Would You Illustrate a Poem

The following films celebrate poetic cinema. Films and poetry have a connection because of their use of images, sound, and time. As you watch these films made by both professionals and high school students, consider the techniques used by filmmakers to bring out these elements in poetry. After viewing these films, students will be inspired by a wide variety of poetic cinema examples.

This can serve as a springboard to assign students the task of illustrating a poem. Giving them the choice to write an original poem and then illustrate it, or find an existing poem that they love and illustrate that.

The High School films were made as a class assignment in the Taft Media Program.

Still I Rise

Gabriel Diamond, Patrick Barnes, Phil Collis

BEST OF FEST WINNER in the 2018 MY HERO International Film Festival!  A visual and musical interpretation of American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou’s electrifying poem "Still I Rise."

Playas de Tijuana

Sophie Kim

An inspiring poem about the border fence that meets the sea, where names become prayers and where “the worst place to be is here and not there.” By the current Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, Sophie Kim.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Produced by:Taft High School

Taft High School student, Matthew Marroquin, takes on the task of illustrating this poem by Robert Frost.

The World Is Too Much With Us

Produced by:Taft High School

Taft High School student, Deana Saito, creates a beautiful visual expression of the poem by William Wordsworth.

Discussion Guide

Classroom Discussion Guide 

After viewing these films ask the following questions to create a dialogue or have students provide written answers.

 

1. Which of these films evoked the most emotion in you? Why?

2. What cinematic techniques might be useful for evoking emotion?

3. How do the images used in these illustrated poems strengthen the meaning of the poem? How do they lessen it?

4. Is poetry visual by nature? Are some poems a stronger choice for illustrating with visuals? Why?

5. How have the filmmakers emphasized the story of the poem?

6. If you were to illustrate a poem, which poem would you choose? Why? How would you approach a project like this?

7. Illustrate your favorite poem or an original poem.


Films | Poetry Recitals

MY HERO Jazz and Poetry Salon

Produced by:The MY HERO Project
Featuring, Dana Williams, Strangelove, Amanda Gorman, David Milch, Paul Cummins

Paul Cummins Reads Robert Frost @ MY HERO SALON 4/18/13

Producer: MY HERO

New Visions Foundation founder, Paul Cummins, reads Robert Frost at the MY HERO poetry and jazz SALON 4/18/13.

History will be Repeated

Produced by:Trey Carlisle
Trey Carlisle's electrifying performance of his original spoken word poem promoting tolerance.

Poet Against Prejudice [Trailer]

Producer: Faiza Almontaser - Director Albert Maysles - Mentor
Created through with support from BYkids.org, Faiza shares her journey of using her poetry to fight against discrimination.

David Milch Reads from Deadwood at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

David Milch Reads The Eulogy of Wild Bill Hickok from Deadwood at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon.

Olivia Milch Reads Wild Geese at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon

Produced by:The MY HERO Project

Olivia Milch Reads Wild Geese by Mary Oliver at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon.

 

Students are encouraged to read aloud an original poem or a favorite poem and film the poetry reading to submit to MY HERO through the Create Program

 

Additional examples of MY HERO Poetry on Screen - Celebrating Poetry in Film

The MY HERO Project is inviting you to submit a video of yourself reading a poem that speaks to this new era we are in. It can be poetry of dissent, poetry of resistance or poetry that lifts us up to face these times. It can be feminist, inclusive or humorous. It can be a song. If you are a more ambitious filmmaker, The MY HERO Project is adding a new prize to The MY HERO International Film Festival, Poetry on Screen. The award will honor a filmmaker for the best translation of poetry to film.

Poetry on Screen

By: Wendy Milette

Celebrate and Learn about Poets with Hero Essays, Artwork, Short Films and Audio

After students complete their poetry unit, they are encouraged to learn more about their favorite poet and share his/her story with MY HERO using the Create Program

Mattie Stepanek

Learn about young Poet and Peacemaker Hero Mattie Stepanek. Mattie’s poems of peace and hope have touched millions of lives; his heartsongs will continue to reach people of all ages around the world for decades to come.

Mattie Stepanek: For Our World

Mattie Stepanek: For Our World Mattie's poems of peace and hope have touched millions of lives.

Mattie and Micah

By: Karen Derrico

Collage painting of Mattie Stepanek with his dog, Micah, donated to the 2006 Heartsongs Gala, an annual event held in Mattie's honor.

Mattie Stepanek

By: Jim Hawkins

Mattie Stepanek is a hero to people of all ages around the world. [This story is also available in Spanish and French.]

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

By: Sergio Benenson

Maya Angelou

By: Susannah Abbey

Maya Angelou is a beloved female author and poet.

Still I Rise

By: Tod Anderson

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

By: Robert Shetterly

Langston Hughes

By: Jeff Trussell

Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri.

Langston Hughes

By: Carl Van Vechten

Ilse Bing

Ilse Bing

By: Wendy Jewell

Ilse Bing was a remarkable poet and photographer whose works withstand the test of time.

Self Portrait

By: Ilse Bing

Ilse Bing Self Portrait: Still the "Queen of the Leica"

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

By: Carl Van Vechten

Edna St. Vincent Millay

By: Tina from Montvale

Edna St. Vincent Millay was a popular and critically acclaimed poet.

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas

By: Staff

Learn more about Dylan Thomas, an important Welsh poet of the 20th century.

Emily Barasch Reads Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon

Produced by:The MY HERO PROJECT

Emily Barasch Reads Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas at The MY HERO Project's 2015 Jazz and Poetry Salon.

"A good poem helps to change the shape and significance of the universe, helps to extend everyone's knowledge of himself and the world around him."
 
- Dylan Thomas

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley

By: Unknown artist, originally appeared in <br>Revue des Colonies in Paris betwe...

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley was the first distinguished African-American poet. Story has text with audio so students can listen as they read along.


Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman by Robert Shetterly, AWTT.org

By: Robert Shetterly

Walt Whitman

By: Austin from Boca Raton

Story has text with audio so students can listen as they read along.

 

Students are encouraged to write a story about or create a portrait of a favorite poet to submit to MY HERO through the Create Program

 

Artists portray their favorite poet heroes.

"And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name."

~ William Shakespeare

Portrait of William Shakespeare

By: Courtesy of The Cobbe Family Trust

Profile of Fairuz

By: Sobhia Hasan

Mahmoud Darwish

By: Sobhia Hasan

Christine de Pisan

By: unknown

Allegorical Portrait of Dante

By: Bronzino

Effie Waller Smith

By: Unknown

William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939)

By: John Singer Sargent

The Poet Max Hermann Neisse

By: George Grosz

Portrait of Rabindranath Tagore

By: Surjit Akre

The Poetry of Mihai Eminescu

By: "Group Writers" from Baicoi, Romania

 

Laura Nietzer

The Poetry Month lesson plan was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

How to use MY HERO's Create Program to Publish Stories, Art, Film and Audio for Students

Tutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.

Create Program
Credit: MY HERO

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.

Links to Additional Poetry Resources and Lesson Plans

Poetry lessons and resources for teachers. 

Poetry Foundation
Credit: Poetry Foundation

Organizer created on 3/12/2019 11:56:45 AM by Xenia Shin

Last edited 4/12/2021 4:20:54 PM by Laura Nietzer

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