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

Classroom Activities

Resources: photos of special places in your students’ lives.

  1. Homework: Ask your students to take a photo of a favorite place using their cell phones (if they are allowed to bring them to school) or to bring in a printed photo of a place they like. This photo will be used as preparation for reading Richard Blanco’s poem.
  2. In class, ask your students to look carefully at their photographs and write down what they notice. Ask them to describe objects in detail, including colors, shapes, positions, etc. Then ask them to recall and write down what they hear (or imagine they hear) in that space, what they might taste, and how objects feel (or might feel).
  3. Project the poem “El Florida Room” 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, phrases, and structural aspects they might think important. Repeat this process with a second student reading aloud.
  4. Place your students in small groups and ask them to share what they noticed in the poem. What sensory details does Richard Blanco use in this poem? What structural details are there?
  5. Whole-class discussion: How does the speaker in the poem feel about El Florida? How do you know? How does the repetition of the word not help you think about the poem?
  6. As an extension, you can ask your students to write a poem about their favorite place using descriptive sensory language, and, if they’d like, some form of repetition.

Note: This Teach This Poem was adapted from a lesson plan by Richard Blanco.