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.
Seated Arabs. Artist: John Singer Sargent (American 1856–1925). Date: 1905–6. Medium: Graphite on off-white wove paper. Dimensions: 8 5/8 x 11 1/2 inches. Credit: Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950. www.metmuseum.org.
- Ask your students to get into pairs and share with one another what it feels like to live in a country or state that is very different from where they have spent another part of their lives. If they have not, personally, had this experience, ask them to imagine what it would be like.
- Show your students the drawing Seated Arabs by John Singer Sargent. Ask them: What kinds of clothes are the men wearing? For what weather might it be appropriate? How are they sitting? Make sure they provide evidence from the drawing to support their answers.
- Ask your students to read “Arabs in Finland” silently, circling the words, phrases, and images that jump out at them. Ask one of your students to read the poem aloud to the class with the listeners circling additional words, phrases, and images that jump out at them.
- Have them listen to the audio recording of Naomi Shihab Nye reading her poem (click on the audio icon above the poem). What more did they learn by listening to this recording?
- What questions do they have about the poem? Ask them to discuss these in small groups and to help each other come up with the answers.
- What is the poem saying to them?