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

Diagram of the Human Skeleton

Diagram of the Human Skeleton

Jane Hirshfield Reads Her Poem “My Skeleton”

Classroom Activities

  1. Show your students the labeled image of the human skeleton. Ask them to write down what they see in the skeleton.
  2. Project the poem “My Skeleton” by Jane Hirshfield in front of the class. Ask your students to read it through silently and circle all the words and phrases that jump out at them.
  3. Ask one student to read the poem aloud paying attention to the structure of the poem on the page, followed by a second student reading the poem aloud with the same instruction. Have the students who are listening add anything else that jumps out at them to their notes.
  4. Show your students the video of Jane Hirshfield reading her poem and talking about what inspired her to write it.
  5. Ask your students to turn and talk with a partner about what they noticed in Hirshfield’s poem after the first four activities.
  6. Ask your students to look at the image of the human skeleton again. Hold a whole-class discussion: Do they notice anything differently about the way they look at the skeleton after experiencing the poem? If so, what is different.