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.

Featured Poem



Edith Hanson, Mixed Media Collage, http://www.hyamplutzikpoetry.com/exhibition-ur.

Classroom Activities
  1. Warm-up (pair share): What do you think or hope your legacy will be? Why? 

  2. Before Reading the Poem (noticing and pair share): Look closely at the image of the collage. What do you notice first? Why? Look again. What words or phrases jump out? Why?

  3. Reading the Poem: Read the poem “On Hearing That My Poems Were Being Studied in a Distant Place” by Hyam Plutzik silently. What do you notice about the poem? Annotate for any words or phrases that stand out to you or any questions you might have.

  4. 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. Call back the lines that you like by saying these lines aloud with your partner.

  5. Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in the poem with your partner and another pair of students. What images stand out to you most? Why? 

  6. Whole-class Discussion: What do you think the significance of the title is? Why? What might the poem’s last two lines mean?

  7. Extension for Grades 7-8: Make a collage illustrating your own reactions to this poem. Or, read poems featured in the Dear Poet Project. Choose a poet to explore and write a letter to this poet. What do you need to say to this poet?  

  8. Extension for Grades 9-12: What legacy do you want remembered and honored? Why? Write a poem answering these questions. Or, watch this year’s Dear Poet videos and choose a poet to write a letter to. 

More Context for Teachers

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture. Learn more about how to celebrate in the classroom all month (and year) long.