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

Look closely at images of hooghans.

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 skills so they understand 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: Listen to the song “Let it Be” by The Beatles. What words or phrases stand out? Why? 
  2. Before Reading the Poem: Look closely at images of hooghans. What stands out about these images? Why? 

  3. Reading the Poem: Silently read “Let There Be" by Manny Loley. 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 and listen as the poem is read aloud twice, and write down any additional words and phrases that stand out to you. Or, you can opt to listen to the poet read the poem

  5. Small Group Discussion: Share what you noticed about the poem with a small group. How does the song and the images from the beginning of class connect to the poem? What is your favorite image in the poem? Why? 

  6. Whole Class Discussion: What do you think of the repetition in the poem: “let there be” and “a good poem is..”? In your mind, what is a good poem? Why? Read more about ars poetica. Is this poem an ars poetica? Why or why? If you were to write an ars poetica poem, what might you write about? 

  7. Extension for Grades 7-8: In honor of Native American Heritage month, read more poems by Native American poets. Choose a poet to read and explore. Create a visual presentation that celebrates your chosen poet and their work with your classmates.  

  8. Extension for Grades 9-12: In honor of Native American Heritage Month, choose a classic and a contemporary Native American poet to read. Write a short piece comparing and contrasting these two poems. Share your writing with a classmate.

More Context for Teachers

In his article about Diné [Di-Nay] traditions, “Diné Way of Life,” Ray Baldwin Lewis writes, “The Hogan is a sacred dwelling. It is the shelter of the people, a protection, a home, and a refuge. Because of the harmony in which the Hogan is built, the family can be together to endure hardships and grow as part of the harmony between the sacred mountains, under the care of ‘Mother Earth’ and ‘Father Sky.’”

Poetry Glossary

Ars Poetica: a poem about poetry, examining the role of poets, poets’ relationships to the poem, and the act of writing. Read more.