Teach This Poem is a weekly series featuring a poem from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help K-12 teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom.


Featured Poem

Classroom Activities
  1. For homework, ask each student to find or take a photo of their mother or another person who has played a similar role in their life, keeping in mind that there are many different types of families.
  2. Warm-up: Go around the room and ask each student to shout out the name of the person in their photograph.
  3. Ask your students to look carefully at the photograph they brought for homework. Ask them to write down what they notice in the photo, e.g. What is the person wearing? What is their facial expression? From what they notice in the photo, how do they think this person is feeling? How do they feel about this person? Ask them to share what they have written with a partner.
  4. Project the poem “My Mother’s Name Lucha” in front of the class. Ask your students to read it silently and write down what words, phrases, and structures jump out at them. Ask one student to read the poem aloud to the rest of the class. Ask the listening students to write down anything new that jumps out at them when they hear the poem read. Repeat this process with a second student reading the poem aloud.
  5. Ask your students to gather in small groups to share what they have noticed. What, in particular, did they notice about the structure of the poem and how it influences the way the poem is read?
  6. Whole-class discussion: How does the spacing of words on a page in a poem influence how the poem is read? Why do your students think Juan Felipe Herrera chose to space words this way in the poem about a mother?
  7. Ask your students to use the details they noticed in their photographs to write a poem about the person featured. Ask them to carefully plan how they would space the words on the page to evoke the feeling or tone they want to convey.