I was curating so many lesson resources for learning about Amanda Gorman, our National Youth Poet Laureate, that I decided to make a Wakelet collection for them. You can find it here. Many of them came from this post by Mia Young (@WestsidehsTeach) in the Distance Learning Educators Facebook Group. (This group is super helpful!) There are links to books you can pre-order, lesson plans, and some interactive digital files you can copy. I’m slowly rolling out more public Wakelets, so if you want to see all of the ones I’ve created so far, you can click here.
When we see young people like Amanda Gorman on the world stage, we are astonished by what she has to say and the way that she says it. But the truth is, there are so many people her age and younger around the globe to whom we should be paying more attention.
For this week’s anti-racist post, I would like to introduce you to two more young ladies who understand what is really important. Unfortunately, I don’t have their names. I found them through the Teach Living Poets site. This website was founded by Melissa Smith (@MelAlterSmith), and is a wonderful spot to discover contemporary poetry by diverse authors. Smith, along with Scott Bayer (@LyricalSwordz) also created this interactive Google Slides digital library of living poets. Help your students to find poets who look like them and write about topics relevant to them by recommending and celebrating some of the authors on this website.
I will be adding this post to my list of Anti-Racism posts on Wakelet. Please consider sharing it with others, especially those who have the power to make a difference in the classroom.
For those of you inspired by Amanda Gorman to make some poetry of your own, here is an online Blackout Poetry Maker that makes it easy. Though that surely is not Gorman’s method for writing her verses, blackout poetry is one of many “gateways” into this medium that students enjoy. For some other methods, here is a link to one of my old posts with more ideas. Be ready for National Poetry Month in April by writing your first drafts now!
(Can you guess what famous speech I used to create the poem below?)
UPDATE 1/25/2021: Here is a collection of resources to use if your class is studying Amanda Gorman or Inauguration poetry.
If you couldn’t tell from Monday’s post, I had already fallen in love with the poetry of Amanda Gorman. When our nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate read “The Hill We Climb” at the Inauguration today, I was moved to tears. Her words acknowledge the weight we carry while simultaneously lifting us almost effortlessly to a peak where we can look all around and see new hope. The poem declares that we can be strong as we admit our faults, and move on to correct them in a way that will both heal and empower us.
I added the link to the PBS New Hour lesson that was posted almost immediately following Gorman’s recitation to my list of Inauguration resources, but I wanted to give it a separate place here. For teaching ideas and a transcript of the poem, follow this link. Introduce this incredibly gifted young woman to your students because they are sure to hear more from her in the future.
One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is, “The Moth Radio Hour.” It is a weekly compilation of autobiographical stories told by brave souls to live audiences. Last April I wrote about the Moth’s “Storytelling School.” All together, there are 32 lessons. Here is a link to their final one for 2020.
For the new year, the Education team at the Moth has put together a Story Map to help students create their own relatable tales from their lives. To help teachers demonstrate the pieces of the Story Map, there is a video of a student, Dante Jackson, telling the audience at his high school about, “The Prom” he attended in eighth grade. It’s endearing and funny, ticking all of the boxes in the 5 step Story Map.
In addition to the Story Map tools, there are invitations for students in the NYC area to participate in a virtual workshop, and for teachers of 5th-12 grades to attend a virtual Spring Institute. See the Story Map link for more information.
UPDATE 1/20/2021: My friend, Suzanne H. gave me another resource to add to this list, 8 Videos to Teach the Inauguration Process. Also, PBS immediately released a lesson plan for the poem written and read by Amanda Gorman at the Inauguration, “The Hill We Climb.”
With only two more days until the United Stated Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2021, most of you probably have decided on your lesson plans for the week. However, for those of you who like to fly by the seat of your pants or don’t mind doing a little tweaking when you see something that suits your needs better, here are some lessons you should definitely consider.
Discovery Education is doing an Inauguration Day Virtual Field Trip on 1/19/2021 at 12 PM ET. Dr. Jill Biden will be one of the special guests presenting. If you and your class are unable to attend, don’t despair. There are plenty of other lesson resources on this page from Discovery that you can use for grades K-12.
iCivics has a lesson plan for The First 100 Days that includes a customizable Google Slide Deck.
For grades 9-12, you may want to try this PBS lesson to “Write Your Own Inauguration Speech.”
Although the EdSitement lesson, “I Do Solemnly Swear” is listed for K-12, the activities look more appropriate for upper elementary through middle school.
You might want to focus on the history of poetry that is read at presidential inaugurations, and discuss the work of this year’s inaugural poet, 22 year old Amanda Gorman. What does it mean, if anything, that there was no poet invited to speak at Donald Trump’s inauguration?
If nothing else, I encourage you to watch and listen to Amanda Gorman reading from one of her poems below, “The Miracle of Morning.” Though this is not the one she has written for the inauguration, it very well could be the magnificent anthem of hope that all of us need.