Teach This Poem is a weekly series featuring a poem from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help K-12 teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom.
Warm-up: Ask your students to work in small groups to list as many words as possible beginning with the letter b. When they have finished with b, ask them to do the same thing for p. (Remind them that their words must be appropriate for school.) Go around the room twice quickly and ask each student to say one of the words their group identified.
Project “From Blossoms” in front of the class. Ask your students to read it silently and write down the words, phrases, and structures that jump out at them. Divide them into small groups to share what they noticed.
Play the video of Li-Young Lee reading “From Blossoms.” Ask your students to listen carefully. Play the video a second time. Ask your students to write down the sounds, words, and phrases that jump out at them. Ask them to share what they heard with a partner.
Back in their small groups, your students should discuss the following: What are the feelings in this poem? What images and sounds evoke these feelings? Where in the poem does the feeling or tone change? What has the poet done to make this change occur?
Whole class discussion: What might it mean “to take what we love inside, / to carry within us an orchard”? What might that feel like? What is the joy in this poem? What is the sadness? Ask your students to give evidence for their answers from what they have already noticed in the poem.