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

World Map

World Map

Classroom Activities

  1. Project the map of the world so everyone in your class can see it. Let your students look at it for several minutes and then ask them to write down what they notice about the map itself—the colors, shapes, etc. Point out that you do not want them to say that they see “countries” or “mountains”; rather, you are asking them to write down what the mapmaker has used to depict these items. After your students have written down everything they notice, ask them to share what they have written with a partner. Ask them to clean up their lists to only include what they see, without any interpretations.
  2. Project the poem “Maps” so all your students can view it. Ask them to read the poem silently twice. The first time, they should simply read the poem all the way through. The second time, they should write down the things that jump out at them in the poem and the words and phrases that strike them in some way. They should also look at how the poem is structured and write down any questions they might have about what they notice.
  3. Ask your students to listen to the audio of Yesenia Montilla reading her poem twice. What new things do they notice after hearing her read her poem?
  4. In small groups, ask your students to share what they noticed from reading and listening to the poem. How does this relate to what they noticed earlier in the map of the world?
  5. Whole-class discussion: How do your students think the speaker in the poem feels about maps? What evidence do they have to support this answer, using the lists of what they have noticed in the poem? What might the structure of the poem have to do with how the speaker feels about maps? What does the speaker in the poem want to do about maps? Do your students agree or disagree with her perspective?