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 think about the many ways the word breaking, and its homophone braking, can be used. Ask them to turn and talk with a partner about the different uses and to create a list together.
- Show your students an excerpt (for no more than five minutes) of a video of breaking waves in the Pacific Ocean. As they watch, they should think about what breaking means in this context. Ask them to add new details, meanings, and synonyms to their lists.
- Project the poem “Breaking News” in front of the class. Ask your students to read it silently as they write down the words, phrases, and structural elements that jump out at them. Ask one student to read the poem aloud while the listening students add new words and phrases to their lists. Repeat the process with a second student reading aloud.
- Ask your students to gather in small groups to share what they noticed in the poem. Ask each group to create a tableau that illustrates the last stanza in the poem. Ask the groups to share their tableaux with the rest of the class. What emotions do the watching students see in the presentations?
- Whole-class discussion: How do your students think this poem, although published in 2009, is relevant today? In light of recent events in the news, what do they think the line “Breaking here means broken elsewhere” could mean in the present context?
- Ask your students to write a poem or a paragraph expressing how recent “breaking news” has affected them. Make a collection of these writings to share with other students in your school.