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.
Four to five groups of the following materials:
• three boxes of different shapes and sizes
• cardboard roll from paper towel or gift wrap
• one roll of packing tape
- The week before you study the poem with your students, ask for volunteers to bring in a total of four to five paper-towel or gift-wrap rolls, and fifteen medium-sized boxes (no more than 12 by 18 inches).
- Divide your class into small groups of no more than five students each. Give each group a set of the materials listed above in the Resources section.
- Tell the groups they will have twenty minutes to collaborate in building a birdhouse using the materials they have. They must make it as sturdy and long-lasting as they can.
- When they’ve finished, ask one person from each group to present the birdhouse to the class, with a description of the collaborative process they used and how the group felt about it.
- Project the poem “The Tree Sparrows” by Joseph O. Legaspi from Poets.org so that all your students can see it. Ask your students to read it silently and write down the words and phrases that jump out at them. Ask one student to read the poem aloud. The listening students should add new words and phrases that they notice to their lists. Ask a second student to read aloud, with the others follow the same process.
- Whole-class discussion: How did your students feel as they were trying to build sturdy birdhouses? What is Joseph O. Legaspi saying is necessary to make a home sturdy? Remind your students to cite evidence from the poem for their answers.