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.
- Project the poem “The Hand” by Mary Ruefle in front of the classroom. Ask your students to read the poem silently and write down the words, phrases, and images that jump out at them.
- Ask two students to read the poem aloud, one after the other. Make sure your students add what they noticed from the oral reading to their notes from their silent reading.
- Next, ask your students if anyone in the class knows who Edgar Degas was. If so, ask them to share what they know with the rest of the class. If no one knows, tell your students who he was and emphasize that he was an artist.
- Play the audio recording of Philip Levine reading “M. Degas Teaches Art & Science at Durfee Intermediate School, Detroit 1942” twice. The first time, let your students simply listen. The second time, ask them to write down the words, phrases, and images that jump out at them.
- Whole-class discussion: What are the similarities and differences between the speakers in the two poems? Make sure your students cite evidence in the poems to support their answers.