Thursday, April 18, 2013

Of poetry, empathy, and class discussions

To get my students thinking about how they are going to perform the poems they have chosen to memorize for the last day of National Poetry Month, we watched a few Def Jam poetry performances in class yesterday. One particular poem intrigued them so much that we had quite an extensive discussion about what the poem means and they just seemed genuinely concerned for the poet. They wanted to know more about him and the story behind the poem. Both of my literature classes felt equally drawn to this poem and each class initiated a discussion where everyone took their turn speaking, asked thoughtful questions, and gave equally thoughtful responses.

It was one of those moments you have as a teacher where you consciously stop and remind yourself, "This. This moment right here is why I stay."

The poem we watched and discussed was "Knock Knock" by Daniel Beaty.

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