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

Beneath the Soil: Potato Tubers Timelapse

Classroom Activities

  1. Warm-up: Ask your students to jot down two or three things that they are most grateful for about home, however they define the term. Ask them to turn and talk with a partner about what they have written and why.
  2. Project the timelapse video in front of the class and play it twice. The first time, ask your students to simply watch the video. The second time, ask them to write down what they notice, focusing on the specific details of what they see rather than generalizations, such as “roots growing.” Ask your students to gather in small groups to share what they noticed in the video. What do they think the tubers are doing, and what action words would they use to describe this?
  3. Project the poem “Home” in front of the class. Ask your students to read it silently and write down what they notice. What words and phrases jump out at them? What do they notice in the poem’s structure? Ask one of your students to read the poem aloud to the class while the listening students write down details they did not notice before. Repeat this process with another student reading aloud.
  4. Ask your students to get back in their small groups to share what they noticed in the poem. How does the video of tubers growing relate to the poem? Why do they think Weigl chose to use that image?
  5. Whole-class discussion: Where is home for the speaker in the poem? How does he feel about it? What evidence in the poem supports their interpretations? What do they think might be “the exiled and unraveling strangeness,” and how do these lines make them feel?
  6. Possible writing assignment: Ask your students to expand their notes about what they are grateful for at home into a longer piece of poetry or prose.