Teach This Poem: "1905" by Marilyn Nelson
Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is written by our Educator in Residence, Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, and is available for free via email.
Credit Line: Circa 1910; photographer unknown. This photograph is in the public domain.
- Show your students the photograph of George Washington Carver, but conceal his name. Ask them to write down all the things they notice about the person in the photograph. Then ask them if they know who the person is. If no one knows, tell them. Then ask your students if they have ever heard of George Washington Carver, and if so, what they know about him.
- Project the poem “1905” by Marilyn Nelson in the front of the classroom. Have your students write down what jumps out at them in the poem, including words they might not understand.
- Ask one student to read the poem aloud while the listeners write down new things that “jump out.” Repeat this process with another student reading out loud.
- Ask your students to get into small groups and help one another figure out the words they might not understand, as well as share what they noticed in the poem.
- Hold a whole-class discussion: What did your students learn from the poem about George Washington Carver? What surprised them? How does Marilyn Nelson get us to feel about Carver? What poetic techniques does she use?