Featured Poem

Winter Landscape with Frozen River

Winter Landscape with Frozen River

By Lodewijk Johannes Kleijn (Dutch, 1817–1897). Formerly attributed to Pieter Rudolph Kleyn. Date: 19th century. Medium: Watercolour and graphite. Dimensions: 7 11/16 x 10 9/16 in. Credit line: Purchase, Alain and Marie-Christine van den Broek d'Obrenan Gift, 2008. metmuseum.org.

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 (Teachers, if possible please bring a loaf of bread to share with the class): If your dietary restrictions allow it, eat a small piece of bread from the loaf your teacher has brought to share. What are your associations with eating bread? Share one or two of these out loud as your teacher goes around the room. If you need to pass, say so, and your teacher will come back to you.
  2. Before Reading the Poem (noticing and pair share): Look carefully at the image of the painting Winter Landscape with Frozen River from both near and far. What are the colors and brushstrokes in this painting? What specific objects or scenes do they create? How does the painting make you feel? Share your observations and interpretations with a partner.
  3. Small-group Discussion: With your partner an another pair of students, create a story about what you notice in the painting. Who might the people be? What season is it? What are the people doing? What do you think their lives are like?
  4. Reading the Poem: Read the poem “Like You / Como Tú” silently, then write down the words and phrases that jump out at you.
  5. Listening to the Poem (enlist two volunteers to read the poem aloud): Listen as the poem is read aloud twice. (Teachers: If someone in the class speaks Spanish, the poem should be read once in English and once in Spanish.) Write down any additional words and phrases that jump out at you.
  6. Small-group Discussion: Share what you noticed in the poem with your small group. What does the speaker in the poem believe is for everyone? What lines in the poem tell you this?
  7. Whole-class Discussion: Think of your observations of the painting and the words and phrases that jumped out at you in the poem. How might the two be related? Give evidence from your notes.
  8. Extension for Grades 7-8: Write a poem that is based on the story you created for the painting and on some of the words and phrases that you thought were important in the poem. Hold a “Poetry Café” in your classroom and share poems you have written this year.
  9. Extension for Grades 9-12: What do you think the speaker in the poem is saying in the last stanza of the poem? Why might “life, / love, / little things, / landscape and bread” be “the poetry of everyone”? What do you think the speaker is saying about how people are related to each other? Write an essay or short story that addresses these issues.

More Context for Teachers

In his iconic essay “How to Read a Poem,” Edward Hirsch writes, “The best way to discover and learn about a poem is through shared inquiry discussion. Although your first experience of the poem may be private and personal, talking about the poem is a natural and important next step.” Read more.