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

“Orion on Film”

 “Orion on Film”

“Orion on Film” by Matthew Spinelli. NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day Collection. 7 February 2003. apod.nasa.gov.

Classroom Activities

  1. Project the image of Orion as large as you possibly can for students to experience. Ask them to gaze at it for a few minutes. Then ask them to write down what they see and how it makes them feel. What is it about the image that makes them feel this way?
  2. Ask your students to turn and talk with a partner about what they wrote down.
  3. Project the poem “Wonder and Joy” by Robinson Jeffers so all your students can see it. Ask them to read it silently to themselves twice. The first time they should just read it through. The second time, ask them to write down the things about the poem that seem special.
  4. Ask one student to read the poem aloud to the class. The listening students should write down new things they notice that seem special in the poem. Ask another student to read the poem aloud, with the listeners once again writing down what they notice.
  5. Whole-class discussion: What kinds of things does Jeffers think “one grows tired of”? What do your students grow tired of in their lives? What does Jeffers think makes a person fortunate? Do your students agree?
  6. If you and your students are interested in rhyme and form, you might want to plot out the rhyme scheme in this poem and have a discussion about the sonnet form.