Teach This Poem, though developed with a classroom in mind, can be easily adapted for remote-learning, hybrid-learning models, or in-person classes. Please see our suggestions for how to adapt this lesson for remote or blended learning. We have also noted suggestions when applicable and will continue to add to these suggestions online.
Please note, this poem and lesson plan offer a level of content and perspective that is intentionally inclusive. Please look through this poem and lesson plan to determine if this Teach This Poem is appropriate for your students.
Read through the interactive climate change map.
The following activities and questions are designed to help your students use their noticing skills to move through the poem and develop their thinking about its meaning with confidence, using what they’ve noticed as evidence for their interpretations. Read more about the framework upon which these activities are based.
- Warm-up: Look closely at the image of the Texas sign taken during Winter Storm Uri. What do you notice? What does this make you think? Why?
- Before Reading the Poem: Join with a partner or small group to read through the interactive climate change map. What did you notice about the map? What does it make you think? How might climate change impact where you live and how people in your area will live?
- Reading the Poem: Silently read the poem “Good Grief” by KB Brookins. What do you notice about the poem? Note any words or phrases that stand out to you or any questions you might have.
- Listening to the Poem: (Enlist two volunteers to read the poem aloud) Listen as the poem is read aloud twice, and write down any additional words and phrases that stand out to you. Or, opt to listen to the poet read the poem.
- Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed about the poem with a small group of students. Based on the details you just shared with your small group and the resources from the beginning of class, how does this poem connect to climate change and storms? (Teachers, this brief article about the connection between winter storms and climate change might be helpful.)
- Whole-class Discussion: What do you think of the title, “Good Grief”? What is the connection between grief and survival? What do you make of the line “America is the worst group project”? (Teachers, this resource from Facing History about climate change and grief might be helpful. You can also find more resources from the EPA.)
- Extension for Grades 7-8: Read more poems from the Treehouse Climate Action Prize. “The Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize is given to honor exceptional poems that help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present.” Using the prompt from the prize, write your own poem. Or, write a poem inspired by weather in your own community.
- Extension for Grades 9-12: Design your own research project in which you learn more about an area of climate change that is meaningful to you. Share your research with your classmates.
“Here’s a look at how warming winters are affecting the major U.S. regions, except for tropical Hawaii, where seasonal changes function differently than in the other 49 states. These summaries are drawn from the 2018 National Climate Assessment, a sweeping scientific report produced by an interagency government task force.” Read about how climate change is affecting your region with this article from Yale Climate Connections.