Featured Poem

Related Resource

“It’s Okay to Cry” by SOPHIE

Listen to the song “It’s Okay to Cry” by SOPHIE.

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 skills so they understand 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: Listen to the song “It’s Okay to Cry” by SOPHIE. Which words or phrases stand out to you in the song? Why?  

  2. Before Reading the Poem: Watch the animation of a star becoming a supernova. What stands out to you in the video? Why? What, if anything, surprises you, or what questions do you have? (Teachers, find more information about the life cycle of stars.

  3. Reading the Poem: Silently read the poem “Time-Lapse Video of Trans Woman Collapsing Inward Like a Dying Star” by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza. What do you notice about the poem? Note any words or phrases that stand out to you or any questions you might have.

  4. Listening to the Poem: Enlist two volunteers and listen as the poem is read aloud twice. Write down any additional words and phrases that stand out to you. Or you can opt to listen to the poet read the poem

  5. Small Group Discussion: Share what you noticed about the poem with a small group of students. How does the poem compare to the resources from the beginning of class? What do you think of the title “Time-Lapse Video of Trans Woman Collapsing Inward Like a Dying Star”? In what ways is the poem a time lapse? 

  6. Whole Class Discussion: How would you describe the speaker in the poem? Why? What does this poem say about who you are and who you want to be? What does it say about love? 

  7. Extension for Grades 7-8: For LGBTQ+ Pride Month, read more poems. Create an anthology of LGBTQ+ poems. During June, read and celebrate poems from your anthology.

  8. Extension for Grades 9-12: During LGBTQ+ Pride month, read more poems about queer liberation. Research one of the poets you read and create a presentation. Share your presentation with the class.

Teach This Poem was developed for in-person classrooms, but it can be easily adapted for remote learning and hybrid learning models. Please see our list of suggestions for how to adapt this lesson for remote or blended learning. 

More Context for Teachers

“Despite the political attacks, it is important to recognize that LGBTQ+ students have legal rights that no school is allowed to impinge upon. Foremost among these when it comes to GSAs [Gender and Sexuality Alliance] is the Equal Access Act of 1984, which protects public secondary school students who want to form a noncurricular club, including GSAs.” Read the article, “A Refuge for LGBTQ+ Young People” from Learning for Justice.

Poetry Glossary

Incantation: a chant or formulaic use of words invoking or suggesting magic or ritual. Read more.