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

Vegetable Garden



Borneo River Toad


Borneo River Toad

Credit: California Academy of Sciences

Classroom Activities
  1. Ask your students to look at the image of the garden for several minutes and to write down all the words that would help someone imagine the garden in their “mind’s eye.”
  2. Similarly, ask your students to look at the image of the Borneo River toad and write down all the details they can about what a toad really looks like.
  3. Using the details you collected in activities 1 and 2, have your students place their toad in the garden and write four lines that would make us imagine that there is a real toad in their imaginary garden.
  4. Project “Poetry” by Marianne Moore so that all your students can see it. Ask them to read it silently and write down the words, phrases, and images that jump out at them. What do they notice about the structure of the poem?
  5. Ask two students to read the poem aloud, one after the other, paying attention to the line breaks as they read. What do the listening students hear that they did not notice before as they were silently reading?
  6. Conduct a whole-class discussion: What does Marianne Moore really think about poetry? What does she mean by “imaginary gardens with real toads in them?” What role does Marianne Moore think poetry plays in life? Make sure your students use evidence from their writing and reading of the poem to support their answers.