National Poetry Month Lesson Plan

Teacher's Resource: Classroom activity using a program of short films illustrating poems.

National Poetry Month Lesson Plan
Credit: Dave Bonta (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr

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


The following program of short films was curated by MY HERO International Film Festival director Wendy Milette. 


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.

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.


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?

OUTCOME: After viewing these films, students will be inspired by a wide variety of poetic cinema examples. This lesson 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.

Teachers: Visit MY HERO's National Poetry Month page for more curated content celebrating National Poetry Month.

Use the MY HERO Calendar in the Classroom: Discover a new hero every day of the year

Students can share Essays, Films and Art about their heroes through our Create Program


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

Last edited 10/17/2019 12:32:51 PM by Xenia Shin