Teaching Poetry: It's a Slam Dunk

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T.S. Eliot opens his poem The Waste Land by famously calling April the “cruellest month.” But for me, January has always offered up its own special form of cruelty. The holiday celebrations have come and gone, the days have frozen and withered into darkness, and the New Year is already starting to seem old.

One of the only bright spots in this otherwise dismal time of year is that January is a great month to be a sports fan. If you like football, you can enjoy the season-ending college bowl games, or you can follow the NFL playoffs that culminate in the Super Bowl. And as a college basketball fan, I can finally get excited as league play begins to ramp up after the rather tepid early season games. Even baseball fans can take heart—spring training is only two months away.

Curriculum Pathways can help bring some of this excitement to the study of poetry. Exploring Poetry about Sports helps students improve their poetry-reading skills by encouraging them to read and respond to three short poems about basketball, baseball, and football.

The interactive tool guides students through four steps as they study each poem.

  1. Students make predictions based on the poem’s title, the poet’s biography, and an image associated with the poem.
  2. They listen to a professional reading of the poem, check definitions of difficult terms, and respond to questions.
  3. They improve their reading skills by watching and evaluating a visual interpretation of the poem.
  4. They identify and make notes on key images, details, and themes.

Exploring Poetry about Sports

Exploring Poetry about Sports may be just what students need to make them realize that poetry can be as exciting as a game-ending touchdown, a home run, or a slam dunk. Even in January.

Check out the two other poetry titles in this series:

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About Author

Terry Hardison

Terry Hardison oversees the development of English language arts resources for Curriculum Pathways. Prior to joining SAS, Terry worked for 21 years as a teacher and as a district-level English language arts supervisor.

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