Teach This Poem: "maggie and milly and molly and may" by E. E. Cummings

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

South Miami Beach

South Miami Beach

This photograph is in the public domain.

Classroom Activities

  1. Project the photograph of the beach so all your students can see it.
  2. Ask your students to gaze at the picture and imagine they were standing or sitting just in front of the waves. What would they see? Hear? Smell? Have them write down what they imagine.
  3. What associations do they make with sitting at the beach? Ask your students to write these down, as well.
  4. Project the poem “maggie and milly and molly and may” by E. E. Cummings so all your students can see it. Ask your students to read the poem silently and circle all the words, phrases, and images that jump out at them.
  5. Ask your students to get into groups of no more than four people. Have two students in each group read the poem aloud to the other two students. Ask the listening students to write down anything new that they hear. Reverse the process so that the listening students get a chance to read, and the reading students get a chance to listen and write.
  6. Whole-class discussion: Ask your students if they agree with the last two lines of the poem. Make sure they cite ideas from their own writings, as well as evidence from the poem to back up their ideas.