lesson plan

Teach This Poem: "Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry" by Howard Nemerov

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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.

Featured Poem

“Birds in Snow” by Chris Burke

Classroom Activities
  1. Show your students the video “Birds in Snow” twice. The first time ask them to watch the video straight through. The second time, ask them to write down what they see in as much detail as possible.
  2. Ask your students to polish their lists into a paragraph that is a vivid description of what they saw in the video.
  3. Project the poem “Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry” by Howard Nemerov so all your students can read it. Ask your students to read it silently, writing down all the words and phrases that jump out at them.
  4. Ask one of your students to read the poem aloud to the class. The listening students should write down new words and phrases they hear that they think are important. Follow this process with a second student reading aloud.
  5. Ask one of your students to read the poem aloud to the class. The listening students should write down new words and phrases they hear that they think are important. Follow this process with a second student reading aloud.
  6. Conduct a whole-class discussion based on the notes they have just taken:  What might be the line (or difference) between prose and poetry that Nemerov refers to in his title? Make sure your students cite evidence from the poem to support their interpretations.