Thursday, November 22, 2012

Poetry Sites 

From the Academy of American Poets, this site has a large selection of poems, as well as biographical information about poets, and other information.
  • Poem-a-Day: You can skim the poems they've posted recently. And you can sign up to get a daily email with a poem to enjoy and think about.
  • Some of the themes listed on
  • Search for poems or look for poems sorted by theme here.
  • Listen to audio (interviews and readings) and watch video here.
  • Poems for Teens has a good selection—35 poems, by my count.
  • The "For Educators" tab lists
    • Tips for Teaching Poetry
    • Poetry Resources for Teens
    • Curriculum & Lesson Plans
    • Great Poems to Teach
    • Essays on Teaching
    • Teaching Resource Center
    • Poetry Read-a-Thon
Users can set up accounts and create "notebooks" of poems. These lists might be good for kids:

The Poetry Foundation has a large selection of poems, listed by subject (Love, Nature, Social Commentaries, etc.), occasions (Birthdays, Weddings, etc.), or holiday. You can also look at poems arranged by the "school" (Augustan, Beat, Harlem Renaissance, New York School, etc.), the poet's birthplace, or the poet's century.

You can also find examples of different verse forms (e.g., haiku, limerick), stanza forms, meters, and techniques (e.g., alliteration, metaphor). (This would have been handy with a high-school student I tutored last year who was studying some of these concepts.)

Whatever search you do, you can filter to include only poems that are good for children. Without any other search terms, there are 175 poems tagged as good for children.

There's a page for audio (readings, lectures, interviews) and a page for video

There's a page for Children's Poetry. A series of videos for kids is The Children's Poet Laureat Presents.  There are three very short (half a minute) videos from Classical Baby (I'm All Grown Up Now).

Poetry Everywhere

Here is a series of short videos of poets and actors reading poetry, produced by a public TV station (WGBH, in Boston) in association with the Poetry Foundation. Most of the videos are recent, but there's one black-and-white video of Robert Frost reading "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

Poetry Everyhwere also includes a collection of 34 short animations created by students at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Students might enjoy these. Who doesn't like clever animation? Plus they could help with reading skills, because you hear the poems read while seeing animated characters and, usually, animated words. Very cool.

Animated poetry menu

(These might require Flash. They don't work on my iPad, anyway.)

Library of Congress Poetry and Literature

If you like videos, check out the Favorite Poem Project, which shows people reading and discussing their favorite poems. A lot of the people in the videos are students or ordinary folks (a construction worker, a doctor, etc.), but some are famous. (Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton each read a poem.)

Poetry Webcasts and Podcasts include readings and interviews with poets.

Poetry Resources has lots of helpful links.

Poetry 180 (collected by Billy Collins)
is designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. I have selected the poems you will find here with high school students in mind. They are intended to be listened to, and I suggest that all members of the school community be included as readers.
A poem a day, picked out for students!

This site doesn't indicate who produces it. It has a comparatively small selection of famous poems. It's page listing poetry genres and terms links to Wikipedia entries.

Why list poetry resources?

  1. Most important: students might like it and find it meaningful.
  2. Students who are already interested in poetry can learn more and develop their own craft.
  3. Students might have homework that these resources could help with.
  4. Some of those students who can't be talked into reading a book might be persuaded to try just a poem or two.
  5. Hearing authors and actors read poetry could help reading fluency. Students who are assigned to do interpretive reading in class can hear how it's done.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

True Stories of Quileute Tribe

A couple of years ago, the Twilight books were popular with some of the teen girls at our tutoring center. I'm always happy to see students reading anything, and the Twilight books are appealing because they have interest teens but are comparatively easy to read.  If the movies add a reason to read, all the better.

The stories include a theme about the Quileute Indians being werewolves. They aren't really, of course, but they do have some wolf legends. You can learn more in this post from the Smithsonian Institution and even more in the Real Story of the Quileute Wolves from the Seattle Art Museum. (SAM created an exhibit, which has now traveled to the Smithsonian.)

If you have a student interested in Twilight (and its sequels), it could provide an entree to Native American  culture, Washington State history, or Washington State geography,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Finland's educational success story: Less testing, more trusting

Finland's educational success story: Less testing, more trusting | Local News | The Seattle Times, Nov. 13, 2012.
Sahlberg's message, although he is too polite to put it so bluntly: Stop testing so much. Trust teachers more. Give less homework. Shorten the school day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

This American Life on Middle School

This week's episode of This American Life looks at Middle School. As a tutor whose own middle school years are ancient history, I found this interesting and helpful. One of these days I might look for the book by the woman interviewed in Act One: Not Much, Just Chilling': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers (2003). The Seattle Public Library's catalog record for it is here.

Struggling to Learn

NPR had a very interesting story this morning, featuring a psychologist who compares attitudes toward learning in Asian countries and the U.S.  Broadly speaking (of course there are exceptions!) people in the U.S. tell kids that when they do well it's because they're smart, while  in Asia the message is about working hard. Worth a look (or a listen): Alix Spiegel, Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning, Morning Edition, Nov. 12, 2012. The comments are good, too.