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Resources: The Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation is a great place to start when looking for ideas, inspiration and resources for a home-ed poetry module.

The website is useful for lesson planning in a number of ways:

  • You can search through poems by topic, form, time and region.

The ability to search through time periods and regional poetry is a great tool that could be utilised in so many homeschool lessons exploring geography, culture, history.

(Eg. Spend March 21st, Unesco’s World Poetry Day, reading poems from global poets combined with treats a la Poetry Teatime; or choose a country a week to explore global poetry over the homeschool year.)

  • The Learn section has lots of content to use in home-ed lessons. Again, the section has a great search function to narrow down content according to the age range being taught.
Poetry Foundation: Learn

  • There are fantastic teaching articles on the website, from tips to teaching poetry in the classroom (which applies to any classroom; home or school) to articles that generate ideas for you as an educator.
  • The website has ‘Learning Prompts’ that, with a small amount of prep, double as homeschool lesson plans articles aimed at students that examine poetic form in-depth, like this article on sonnets which could be assigned as a complete lesson in itself – (E.g. 1)Read the article, 2)explain what a sonnet is, 3)find a sonnet you like, 4)write a sonnet).
  • One of the most useful functions of the site as a home-ed resource is the comprehensive glossary of poetic terms that is useful for independent learners to learn poetic terms from (and for home educators to refer to).

The foundation curates a poetry podcast and there are audio poems to discover which inspire homeschoolers to practice recitation skills. (This content is aimed at adults so not all poems will be suitable and you might want to pre-listen to episodes/audio poems before your homeschoolers do.)

My favourite way to use the Poetry Foundation’s website to generate lessons, is to assign an article as a reading assignment. There are some absolute gems.

This by Lemony Snicket created a lesson that had Mr 10 and Mr 11 laughing throughout. It’s a piece that introduces a children’s poetry portfolio compiled by Snicket and shared at the end of the piece. The article is written in the familiar voice of the ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ author:

It’s a fun, yet complex piece of prose to work through with homeschoolers and the poems in the anthology are a delightful mix from a variety of poets.

Snicket explains vocabulary in the anthology’s poems that young readers might not know,

and gives his opinions in in typical humorous fashion.

Use ‘All Good Slides are Slippery’ as a lesson

All Good Slides Are Slippery, Lemony Snicket
  • Read through the article
  • Write down vocabulary that is unfamiliar (and later use for spelling tests)
  • Choose one poem from the portfolio:
    • to memorise and recite
    • to illustrate
    • to write a review for.

Our homeschoolers both chose the poem ‘My Hat’ to illustrate:

This website really is an incredible resource for home educators teaching poetry in their classroom. Spend some time browsing the Educators section to look at poem guides and poetry teaching tips; and let home learners explore the Children / Teen sections to read poems and discover new poets.