On Inauguration Day, our nation’s youngest inaugural poet stepped up and captivated viewers around the world. Amanda Gorman’s rousing words energized and inspired our hearts and served as a reminder that, despite our struggles, our country “isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.” We all felt this call to action, a reminder that there is still work to be done — by us and for us.
Great writing can awaken and motivate the masses, including our own budding student poets. In Amanda Gorman, they see the possibilities, as well as the power of the written and spoken word. Let’s support them in lighting their own fires within. In celebration of National Poetry Month, here are four great resources for teaching Gorman’s incredible poetry in the classroom.
Watch Amanda Gorman Talk About the Power of Poetry
What role does poetry play in our lives? How does it help us understand the world around us? How does poetry connect us in the classroom and beyond? Watch this moving video of Amanda Gorman talking about the power of poetry and spark a discussion in your classroom.
Encourage your students to explore these important questions while reflecting on poetry as an empowering vessel for self-expression.
Study “The Hill We Climb”
At President Biden’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman captivated and instilled hope in viewers around the world. Her unforgettable poem, “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country,” celebrates the promise of this country and is an incredible example of the undeniable power of poetry.
Use this free discussion guide (PDF) to bring the energy of that remarkable moment of American history into your classroom. Explore the profound words of this new voice in American poetry, and guide students towards sharing their own.
Read and Celebrate Other Poets
One of the most amazing things about poetry is its diversity in style, topic, and authors. No two poets are alike, and part of the adventure is finding the ones who resonate most with each of us. Help students embark on this journey by introducing them to a wide variety of poets.
Here’s a free PDF sharing some of our favorite Poetry Month picks for all grade levels. As you read, encourage students to reflect on Gorman’s advice for young writers: “Read everything three times: for pleasure, to learn from the writer’s style, and to think how you could write it better.”
Write Your Own Poems
Now that your students have been analyzing poetry, it’s time for them to create their own! Poetry lessons can inspire them to tackle challenging topics and share their perspectives in a unique, empowering way.
Even the most enthusiastic writer might struggle with knowing where to begin. This free PDF shares wonderful tips for writing poetry from Amanda Gorman and can help students build confidence.
We’d love to hear your ideas for celebrating Poetry Month with Amanda Gorman and other poets! Please share in the comments.