poem index

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Lesson Plans for Hispanic Heritage Month

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October—and all year long—browse this selection of teaching resources featuring poems by Richard Blanco, Juan Felipe Herrera, Pablo Neruda, and many more.

lesson plan

Poetry in Translation

Poetry in Translation, a unit created by Queens teacher Carol McCarthy, draws on the unique abilities of her multicultural classroom. In her introductory lesson plan, Carol calls upon her students to investigate poetry through the lens of their individual cultural backgrounds. Students translate the work of poets from their native country or ethnic heritage, then write and translate their own poems. Students probe poetry in translation in other lessons as well, including "Translating Poets of the Holocaust Era," "Haiku," "Women in Poetry," and a comparative lesson focusing on two translations of Beowulf. Against this backdrop, Carol employs a series of classroom learning activities and Internet research that helps each student to find their place in a poetic tradition.

Unit Length: 8 Class Periods


lesson plan

Incredible Bridges: “Translation for Mamá” by Richard Blanco

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
This lesson plan is part of the series “Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community," a project developed by the Academy of American Poets in partnership with EDSITEment, the educational website of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), during the NEH’s 50th anniversary year-long celebration.

Funded by the NEH, “Incredible Bridges” responds to the NEH’s initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role of the humanities in public life.


lesson plan

Incredible Bridges: “Every Day We Get More Illegal” by Juan Felipe Herrera

National Endowment for the Humanities logo
This lesson plan is part of the series "Incredible Bridges: Poets Creating Community," a project developed by the Academy of American Poets in partnership with EDSITEment, the educational website of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), during the NEH’s 50th anniversary year-long celebration.

Funded by the NEH, “Incredible Bridges” responds to the NEH's initiative The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role of the humanities in public life.

lesson plan

Thanksgiving with Richard Blanco's "América"

Thanksgiving may seem like the most American of holidays, but with changes in demographics and the diversity of cultures that accompanies them, Thanksgiving may no longer look the same to everyone. In his poem "América," Richard Blanco brings us into the experience of Thanksgiving celebrated by an extended Cuban American family, making us think about the many ways to be an American today. When your students add the experience of Thanksgiving in their families, the conversation around the poem becomes even more complex.

This lesson plan provides a series of activities you can use with your students before, during, and after reading "América." Feel free, of course, to adapt them to the needs and interests of your students. The methodology used here tries to “level the playing field” for diverse students to experience poetry, and may also help set the stage for reading more complex texts as you address the Common Core State Standards. We hope you agree!