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.
- To help your students explore the central image of both the resource and the poem, place them in groups of no more than four. Ask them to come up with a group movement that shows something opening slowly and then closing. They should rehearse this movement briefly, then each group should present their movement to the rest of the class. While each group is presenting, the rest of the class should watch and write down what they notice. Repeat this process until every group has presented.
- Project the timelapse image of the blooming rose so all your students can see it. As your students look at the image, ask them to write down what they notice about how the rose opens.
- Ask your students to gather in pairs and discuss how the opening of the rose is similar to, or different from, the characteristics they noticed from their groups’ opening and closing. What words would they use to describe the opening of the rose?
- Project the poem “somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond” so all your students can see it. Ask them to read it silently and write down all the things about the poem that jump out at them. Ask your students to gather in pairs again to discuss how the poem makes them feel. What in the poem fosters this feeling?
- Whole-class discussion: Ask your students, How does E. E. Cummings use the image of opening and closing to express love? What did you notice about E. E. Cummings’s use of punctuation? Why do you think he wrote this way? Make sure your students give specific examples from the poem.