lesson plan

Teach This Poem: "Unpacking a Globe" by Arthur Sze

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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

Bear Glacier

Bear Glacier

Photo credit: Jim Pfeiffenberger, National Park Service.

Classroom Activities
  1. Project the image of Bear Glacier so all your students can see it. Give them several minutes to look at it, and then ask them to imagine what they might see in this environment. Have them write these down. What other things do they associate or imagine when they look at this photograph? Ask them to let their imaginations roam free. They should not limit themselves to what might really be in this environment. Make sure they write down these associations and imaginings.
  2. Project the poem “Unpacking a Globe” by Arthur Sze from Poets.org. Ask your students to read it silently and write down the words, images, and phrases that jump out at them. Ask ten students to read the poem out loud, each student reading one of the couplets in the poem. Ask the listening students to write down what they hear that is new to them. Repeat this process with ten new students reading the couplets.
  3. Have your students get in small groups and ask them to share the words, images, and phrases that they wrote down. Where do they see Arthur Sze’s imagination working?
  4. Whole-class discussion: What do your students think the poet means by the last two lines in the poem? Based on the discussions your students had in their small groups, how does this poem illustrate what the last lines say?
  5. Ask your students to write a poem (or paragraph) that uses the images they imagined, both free and/or appropriate to the Bear Glacier environment, to make a point that is important to them.