lesson plan

Teach This Poem: "We All Return to the Place Where We Were Born" by Oscar Gonzales

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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

Oscar Gonzales Reads "We All Return to the Place Where We Were Born"

Classroom Activities
  1. Whip-around:  Ask your students to share the country where they were born and one thing they remember about their life in that place.
  2. Play the audio recording of “We All Return to the Place Where We Were Born” in English and Spanish three times (click on the audio icon beside the poem on Poets.org). The first time, ask your students to write down the words and phrases that jump out at them in either language. The second time, ask them to listen to the sounds of the poem in English and write down what they hear. The third time, ask them to listen to the poem in Spanish and write down what they hear, even if they do not understand the words.
  3. Project the poem “We All Return to the Place Where We Were Born” in front of the class and have your students read the English version and write down additional words and phrases that jump out at them. Then ask those students who speak Spanish to write down the words and phrases in Spanish that jump out at them.
  4. Ask your students to get in pairs and discuss the following questions: What did you learn about how Oscar Gonzales feels about the place where he was born and his childhood there?  How about the place where he is now?
  5. Ask your students to gather in groups of four and discuss with one another what they learned from listening and reading the poem first in English and then in Spanish. Ask them about the sounds they heard in the Spanish version of the poem. What sounds are heard most in the first part of the poem? In the second? How do these sounds reinforce the meaning of the poem?