Following our fall 2015 workshop “Teaching and Understanding Poetry,” Humanities Texas has assembled a list of poetry-related online educational resources for K-12 classrooms. These websites include texts of poems as well as lesson plans, videos, and other interactive elements that will and enhance classroom instruction and generate student interest in poetry.
Poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets, features poems by a variety of contemporary and canonical poets and offers extensive resources for educators, including individual biographies, a YouTube channel, and weekly “Teach This Poem” units of study designed for K-12 students. Teachers may subscribe to the “Poem-A-Day” email or choose to implement the suggested programming for National Poetry Month, “the largest literary celebration in the world.”
Browse poems by author, topic, or form on the Poetry Foundation’s website and mobile app. In addition to texts and videos, teachers may find helpful the Poetry Foundation’s Learning Lab, which features articles by and about classic and contemporary poets. Other highlights include the children’s “Poem of the Day,” podcasts, programming by the Young People’s Poet Laureate, and a glossary of poetic terms.
The Library of Congress has a guide to the poetry-specific resources of their exhibitions and digital collections as well as other online features, including Abraham Lincoln and poetry, poetry written by U.S. presidents, Walt Whitman archival materials, and poetry written in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
The Library of Congress Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature contains recordings of the world’s most celebrated poets reading from their work, including Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, Robert Frost, and Alice Walker.
The “Poetry of America” initiative follows two tracks: “Poetry of American Identity” and “Poetry of American History.” The selected essays, interviews, field recordings, and commentary show how poetry can help students think about such essential aspects of the American experience as immigration and migration, work and industry, social change, and peace and war.
The Library of Congress’s U.S. Poet Laureate Consultants encourage greater national interest in the reading and writing of poetry, with several of their recent projects featured online. Student writers may contribute to current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s project La Casa de Colores. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins’s Poetry 180 features poems specifically chosen for high school students, one for each day of school year.
PBS offers several online, poetry-specific features that complement its renowned public television programming. The NewsHour website, including the segment “Where Poetry Lives,” consistently showcases both established and up-and-coming poets whose work speaks to milestones in American history as well as political and cultural issues of the moment. “Poetry Everywhere” hosts numerous videos of acclaimed poets reading from their work as well as student-developed, creative animated videos of classic and contemporary poems.
The immensely popular Poetry Out Loud program promotes student engagement with poetry through memorization and recitation. Every year, participating students compete at the classroom, school-wide, regional, and national levels. Resources for educators include a teaching guide, lesson plans, an online anthology, and videos of student performances.
The NEH-directed website EDSITEment includes lesson plans and multimedia resources to facilitate the teaching of poetry. “Incredible Bridges” emphasizes the diversity of contemporary American communities while other pages provide additional strategies and resources for teaching American as well as international poetry. The site also includes a glossary of literary terms.