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.

Featured Poem

Related Resource

Create a gallery walk of the images and any captions and accompanying information in the article, “Filipino Food Finds a Place in the American Mainstream.”

Classroom Activities

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.

  1. Warm-up: (Teachers, before this class, ask students to bring in a recipe that is meaningful to them. This might be a family recipe, or a recipe on the back of a box.) Join with a small group of students and share your recipe. What made you select this recipe and why is it important to you? 
  2. Before Reading the Poem: (Teachers, we suggest creating a gallery walk of the images and any captions and accompanying information in this article.) Look at the images of Filipino food around the room. Stop and look closely at each image. What do you notice about the food? Read the captions and additional information for each. 
  3. Reading the Poem: Read the poem “On How to Use this Book” by Sarah Gambito. What do you notice about the poem? Note 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. 
  5. Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in 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 the poem compare to the images you viewed at the beginning of class and the recipes from your classmates? Can a poem be a recipe? If so, is this poem a recipe?
  6. Whole-class Discussion: What do you make of the title “On How to Use this Book?” How does the lyric portion of the poem compare to the prose portion? (Teachers, your students may need context on lyric poetry and prose poetry.) How do they work together? 
  7. Extension for Grades 7-8: Read more poems about food. Choose to write a poem that expresses the importance of food, is a recipe and a poem, or create an illustrated version of one of the recipes from the beginning of class. 
  8. Extension for Grades 9-12: Learn more about Filipino food and culture by reading the full article, “Filipino Food Finds a Place in the American Mainstream” by Ligaya Mishan. Write a personal essay that explores how a particular food is meaningful to you. Feel free to use your recipe from the beginning of class and incorporate more details.

More Context for Teachers

Summer Camp is a newsletter series distributed during the summer to continue to engage the students and young people with meaningful activities, resources and, of course, poetry. Summer Camp will be sent to Teach This Poem subscribers beginning in July. Until then, celebrate food’s role in poetry and culture with a Summer Camp dedicated to food

Poetry Glossary

This week’s glossary term is form, referring to the structure of a poem, including its line lengths, line breaks, meter, stanza lengths, and rhyme scheme. Read more