Teach This Poem: "Everyday We Get More Illegal" by Juan Felipe Herrera
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.
Arlo Guthrie performs “Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)," a song written by his father, Woody Guthrie, in 1948, at the Farm Aid concert in Bristow, Virginia, on September 17, 2000.
- Have your students listen to Arlo Guthrie singing his father’s song “Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos).” Next, have them read the lyrics. Ask them to consider all or some of the following questions: Who is Woody Guthrie writing about? How do they know? What jumps out at them when they hear this song? What do they notice about the refrain? Do they think the song has relevance today? Why or why not?
- Ask at least two students to read “Everyday We Get More Illegal” aloud, then ask them to consider the following questions: How can someone get “more illegal”? What are the feelings of the people in the poem? How does the poem relate to the song? What relevance does the poem have today? Is it the same or different from the relevance of Guthrie’s song?