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

Man, Woman, and Boy by Fireplace

Fogarty, Thomas, Artist. Man, Woman, and Boy by Fireplace. , None. [Between 1890 and 1938] Photograph.
Fogarty, Thomas, Artist. Man, Woman, and Boy by Fireplace. , None. [Between 1890 and 1938] Photograph.


Classroom Activities

The following activities and questions are designed to help your students use their noticing skills to move through the poem and develop their thinking about its meaning with confidence, using what they’ve noticed as evidence for their interpretations. Read more about the framework upon which these activities are based.

  1. Warm-up (whip-around): Read the title “Those Winter Sundays.” What does this title make you think? Why? What might a typical winter Sunday look like? 

  2. Before Reading the Poem (noticing and pair share): Look closely at the image of the drawing “Man, woman and boy by fireplace.” What do you notice first? Look again. What else do you notice? What might be going on in this image? 

  3. Reading the Poem: Read the poem “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden silently. What do you notice about the poem? Annotate for any words or phrases that stand out to you or any questions you might have.

  4. Listening to the Poem (enlist two volunteers to read the poem aloud): Listen as the poem is read aloud twice, and write down any additional words and phrases that stand out to you. Call back the lines that you like by saying these lines aloud with a partner.

  5. Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in the poem with your partner and another pair of students. How might the image from the beginning of class relate to the poem?Compare and contrast the speaker and the father. 

  6. Whole-class Discussion: What is the tone in the poem? Why? What is the speaker’s attitude toward the father? Does that change or shift throughout the poem? 

  7. Extension for Grades 7-8: Write a poem to the speaker in “Those Winter Sundays” from the perspective of the father. What might the father say to the speaker? Why? Read your poem in front of the class. 

  8. Extension for Grades 9-12: Write a dialogue between the father and the speaker. Your dialogue may be from the speaker’s childhood or an imagined timeframe. Perform your dialogue with a classmate.