Curriculum & Resources: Poetry and Humane Education
VISIT WEBSITE: Poets.org
April is National Poetry Month! Poets.org is your go-to resource for celebrating poetry not just in April, but the entire year.
Poets.org is one of many programs supported by the Academy of American Poets. For teachers and their students—elementary, high school, and university—Poets.org offers a range of free online resources to instill a love and appreciation for poetry. These resources include discussion forums, innovative curriculum, essays, lesson plans, an extensive library of poetry, and more.
We’ve chosen to spotlight the teaching tools below, but there are plenty more to explore! When you visit the For Educators section of the website, refer to the left-hand panel for a menu of resources.
National Poetry Month
Where to start? Request a free poster, “Bright Objects Hypnotize the Mind”? Sign up for “Poem-A-Day” to get a daily dose of new poems? Or simply write a poem in chalk on the sidewalk? Celebrate National Poetry Month with these inspiring resources and an impressive list of things to do.
Click here for National Poetry Month resources.
Lesson Plans for Teachers
Secondary teachers from New York and Colorado developed and tested poetry lesson plans in their classrooms. Here is one from the collection:
Voice: Ever hear of rap? Editorials, graffiti, and essays are not the only way for writers to express their opinions. This lesson opens your students’ minds to the notion that poetry is another medium for authors to express commentary on the pressing social issues of the times.
Click here for the Voice lesson plan.
To see the entire set of lesson plans, click here.
Poetry Resources for Teens
Like reading Shakespeare, reading poetry well is part attitude and part technique. Your attitude and curiosity about poetry will help your students open their minds to poetry, especially if they have preconceived ideas about what poetry is or should be. Ah, youth! What better time to embrace poetry when you’re in that stage of life that swings from angst to euphoria.
Click here to find Poetry Resources for Teens.
Introduce your students to the most popular contemporary poets, such as former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins and Nikki Giovanni, or let them loose to explore the biographies of more than 500 poets and their poems.
Click here to explore the Poets database.
Poets.org is a program of the Academy of American Poets. Established in 1996, it is an award-winning website that houses thousands of poems, as well as poet biographies, essays, recordings, and lesson plans for teachers. It hosts the popular National Poetry Month,—the largest literary celebration in the world,—and annually honors the next generation of poets with its anthology, New Voices.
- Healing Power of Prison Poetry
Writers help teens in jail learn to express difficult truths by putting pencil to paper.
- Voices in Wartime
Poetry in Wartime, curriculum tools and resources from the Voices in Wartime Education Project.
VISIT WEBSITE: Teachkind.org
Humane education addresses contemporary issues with a critical eye, compassion, integrity, and solutions to build a more humane world. Simply put, humane education teaches students to be responsible individuals.
TeachKind, the humane education arm of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recognizes that most students have a natural affinity for animals, but not every classroom is ready to dive into humane education. TeachKind offers a range of free resources, from exploring humane education to helping your students start an animal rights club. There are lesson plans, classroom tools, and a menu of free books and other items to support your students’ exploration of animal rights.
Lessons and Activities
Online lessons are organized by subject i.e. science, philosophy, language arts, and include lessons, curricula, online videos, worksheets, and more.
Explore the collection of lessons and activities here.
Sample lesson plan: Choices Cards activity
Choices Cards aren't about telling students what is right or wrong. They're about showing students how the choices they make every day affect animals. This is a thinking activity and a terrific way to begin conversations on how society uses and regards animals. It is also an exercise that shows students that their personal choices can make a difference.
Learn more about the Choices Cards Lesson Plan here.
Issues Facing Teachers
It may not be obvious, but schools deal with a variety of issues involving animals. From science class dissections (did you know that 15 states have dissection-choice laws or policies?) to class pets, invite your students to take a look at how your classroom might be more animal friendly.
Curious about what those issues might be? Visit here.
TeachKind is the humane education division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It prides itself in being a resource for teachers, administrators, and librarians who want to help students become kinder, more compassionate individuals. Not just to animals, but also to people!
- Our Animal Selves
All around us are radiant species. What can the first peoples teach us about restoring our relationship with animals?
- How Happy Was Your Meal?
Temple Grandin on whether sustainable farming keeps cows happier.
The above resources accompany the April 2011 YES! Education Connection Newsletter
READ NEWSLETTER: Lessons for a compassionate co-existence with animals
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