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

Classroom Activities

  1. Play the audio recording of Lucille Clifton reading “sisters” twice. The first time, ask your students to listen. The second time, ask them to write down the words and phrases that jump out at them. What words and phrases does Clifton emphasize? How does she emphasize them? Why do they think she emphasize these words in that way?
  2. Project the poem “sisters” in the front of the classroom for your students to read. Ask one student to read the poem out loud to the class, followed by a second student. Have the listening students write down additional words and phrases, if any, that jump out at them.
  3. Ask your students to get in small groups and to talk about the following: Why do they think Clifton does not use capital letters? Why does she use the type of language she does? What poetic techniques does she use, e.g. repetition, rhyme, etc.?
  4. In a whole-class discussion, ask your students what they think Clifton is saying on the surface of the poem. What is the message underlying it?