Poets.org (The Academy of American Poets) is a collection of contemporary American poetry and resources on the poems and poets. The site includes text, audio, and visual materials to support instruction. The site is intended for high school teachers but can be used by most students.
Type of Material:
This is a collection of poems and information on the poets and the context of the poems. Extensive resource and instruction are included.
This can be a stand-alone resource for high school students, but it probably best used as a guide for teachers planning units on poetry or on themes/voices in literature.
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Identify Major Learning Goals:
Students, when guided through the lessons, will become familiar with theme and voice in poetry. Additionally, students be able to access materials on the poets and on literary criticism. Students will learn the elements of poetry and a develop a deeper appreciation of the arts.
Target Student Population:
High school level and community college teachers and students.
The site can also be used in teacher education courses in college.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
General education background. Some literary terms are used but are explained.
There are numerous resources and many available in audio or visual formats for various learning styles. The organization of various contemporary poems into themes and the commentary provided for interpreting the poetry provide excellent resources for teachers. Many students can also work their way individually through the materials. The themes addressed include important perspectives-- voices, war, women. The discussion forum and resources, including grant information, are great for teachers. Some of the lessons are very well detailed.
Some school boards may want additional poems included or some omitted. The material can be adapted to address this.
Some of the lessons might be difficult for some teachers to follow. Selected lessons rely heavily on discussion and are light on directives.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site offers general background information on poets and poetry as well as information and perspectives on particular poems and themes in Contemporary American poetry.
Teachers should be comfortable with the themes and chosen poems. They should adjust the reading for students based on their reading level.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This is a good example of a one-stop resource for teaching poetry. The background, the work, and teaching resources are available. Additionally, teachers can go further into the site to find out about grants for poets-in-residence and other enrichment opportunities. A support system--the discussion forum --is provided.
This section is tucked inside the Poets.org site. This could be confusing or distracting. Categories of lesson plan titles are vague.
Teachers should preview materials and use them based on their students' needs and abilities.
Other Issues and Comments:
The voices in the translation section provide a powerful addition to the resources.
This can be used as a lesson plan for individuals substituting at the last moment.
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