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

Paul McCartney Sings "Blackbird"

Classroom Activities
  1. Warm up: Ask your students to think about a cold day at the beginning of spring and write down a quick sentence about how that day makes them feel.
  2. Play the video of Paul McCartney singing “Blackbird” twice for your students. The first time, ask your students to listen to it quietly. The second time, ask them to write down what jumps out at them from the lyrics. Ask them to turn and talk with a partner about what they have written from the song and how that relates to a cold day in spring.
  3. Project the poem “In cold spring air” by Reginald Gibbons so all your students can see it. Ask them to read it silently and write down the words, phrases, and structural aspects of the poem that jump out at them. Ask a student to read the poem aloud to the class, while the listening students write down new words and phrases they might think important. Repeat this process with a second student reading aloud.
  4. Place your students in small groups. Ask them to share what they noticed that seemed important or unusual in this poem.
  5. In a whole-class discussion, ask your students the following questions: What is the poem saying to them? What evidence do they have to support this? How is the poem structured? What do they think this structure adds to the poem, if anything?