All posts in chicago public schools

Blackout Poetry:  A blackout poem is created when a poet takes a marker (usually black marker) to already established text–like that from a newspaper–and starts redacting words until a poem is formed or an […]

Sayre 7th graders recalled the key terms: imagery and line. Looking to Parneshia Jones’ “For The Basement Parties at the YMCA” they sought out rich images, striking sounds, and astute line breaks. Then, they […]

Students wrote Acrostic Poems, in which certain letters in each line form a word or words. The theme was ‘Heroes,’ both real and imagined, or Supervillains. Lesson Note: “You don’t need permission to make […]

Students wrote epistolary poems in the form of letters, fashioned after basketball player Kobe Bryant’s poem, “Dear Basketball.” Lesson Note: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what […]

Our Sayre students’ read the poem, “The Gift” by Ocean Vuong and considered the intertwining of narrative and imagery. We were especially struck by “the b bursting its belly/ as dark dust blows/ through […]

Students used magazines and created cut-up poems! They used ‘found language’ and images to create new meaning. Lesson Note: Creative Artist guru Julia Cameron says the part of us that creates art is about […]

The class asked, what does it feel like to compose a single poem for two different voices, rather than for one? How does harmonizing and speaking in unison feel? How does clashing feel? What […]

Students imagined life as a party and wrote poems using that metaphor based on Jason Shinder’s poem, ‘The Party.’ Lesson Note: “Find some humility, or it will find you.”― Jason Shinder, poet Mrs. McClain, […]

Students wrote memory list poems based on Joy Harjo’s poem, ‘Remember’. Lesson Note: Harjo’s work is often autobiographical, informed by the natural world, and above all preoccupied with survival and the limitations of language. […]

At this session the Sayre students brightened my day with their inquisitive capacities. We asked “What are questions like? What are they not like? How does it feel to ask a question? How does […]


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“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.