All posts by Lisa Fink

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About Lisa Fink

Lisa Storm Fink is the Project Manager for ReadWriteThink at NCTE. After teaching grades K-4 for almost 9 years, she brought her varied experiences (multi-age classrooms, looping, cooperating teacher for preservice teachers, plus a specialization in Remedial Reading) fulltime to the ReadWriteThink site. Lisa feels lucky to have worked on all parts of the ReadWriteThink site as a writer and reviewer, curriculum developer, and now as Project Manager. She enjoys sharing the site with others during professional development opportunities as well as with her preservice students at the University of Illinois.

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Poetry and Research in the Teaching of English

During National Poetry Month, we will be posting poems that originally ran in one of the ten journals published by NCTE. This poem “Tango” by Clara, a student working with Angela Rounsaville comes from Research in the Teaching of English:

tango

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Today, We Celebrate Shakespeare!

Portrait of English playwright, William Shakespeare
Portrait of English playwright, William Shakespeare

In 1564, William Shakespeare was born on this day. In his life, Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays and over 150 short and long poems. Shakespeare’s plays can be divided into three main categories: the comedies, the histories, and the tragedies. The following from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org provide more resources on Shakespeare’s plays.

Comedies

Histories

Tragedies

As author Ben Jonson wrote of him, Shakespeare is “not of an age, but for all time.”

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Poetry and Teaching English in the Two-Year College

During National Poetry Month, we will be posting poems that originally ran in one of the ten journals published by NCTE. This poem “OF ESSAYS AND EIGHT BALL” by Rick Kempa comes from Teaching English in the Two-Year College:

OF ESSAYS AND EIGHT BALL

She chalks her cue and swaggers towards me.
“Look hard,” she says. “Do you remember me?”
“Yeah, sure, you were in my class, when was it,
eight, ten years ago?” “Nineteen ninety nine.”
“Forgive me,” I say, “You’ll have to help me
with your name.”

Leona, of course! How good
it must feel to kick my butt, killing me slowly
the way I did you when I kept your essays too long,
trying to justify a C-minus, or groping for words
to dull the anvil blow of a D. (Funny how,
when all else fades, a grade persists like
a bad tattoo.)

She hunkers down, nails a combo,
takes a swig, and, grinning, sidles up to me.
“So what did you think of my last paper?”
“Well, I, uh . . . ” “Wasn’t that a kick-ass title page?”
Ah yes, now I remember, how the words arced
in 3-D script above a perfectly-centered
red syringe.

“I am telling you, that was the
best damn title page I have ever seen and
believe me I’ve seen a lot,” I say, and we
touch bottles in honor of the sentence fragment
and the scratch shot, the cue ball that soars into
a knot of drunks and the prose that falls flat,
the eight ball that threads the needle,
kisses the cushion, and topples safely home,
and title pages that stand the test of time.

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Poetry and English Leadership Quarterly

During National Poetry Month, we will be posting poems that originally ran in one of the ten journals published by NCTE. This poem “For the students” by Emilie Lygren comes from English Leadership Quarterly:

For the students

Sometimes we sit in circles with these questions-
What are you afraid of?
Who are your heroes and why?
What do you do in your free time that really makes you free?
My students answer-

I have no free time. It is all full of work, then I take care of my little sister.
My hero is my brother because when there are guns he pushes me to the ground.
Sometimes I am afraid my mother will work so hard she will die.

They are ten, maybe eleven.

I cannot follow them home
and ask their fathers
to stop leaving,
take their books and burdens
for an hour a day
so they can go be children again.

I can listen when they speak.
I can turn their heads towards the sunrise,
then to the dragonflies hatching by the creek.
I can hold their packs while they run shouting
towards an ocean they have never seen.
I can dump the watering can on their heads
on the hottest day of the year.
I can honor their courage, and their joy.

I cannot change the world they are living into,
but I can change the world they live in
for the tremor of a moment,
the same way we all can for each other with a
small smile or knowing sigh
and the fierce act of living in the world with an
open heart.

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National Poetry Month – Dramatic Poetry

dramaticAfter looking at narrative poetry and lyric poetry, let’s look at dramatic poetry! Dramatic poetry can be thought of as any drama written in verse which is meant to be spoken, usually to tell a story or portray a situation. This type of poetry appears in varying, sometimes related forms in many cultures. Here are some resources on dramatic poetry from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org

Arguing that analysis of the musical qualities of poetry is often avoided, the author of “Learning to Listen, Listening to Learn: Teaching Poetry as a Sensory Medium” presents strategies teachers can use to help students understand how these elements contribute to constructing meaning. He relates the musical qualities of poetry to similar features of popular music. A poem from Ben Jonson is used as an example. “Finding Poetry in Prose: Reading and Writing Love Poems” from ReadWriteThink.org also highlight’s a Jonson poem.

In “Masters as Mentors: The Role of Reading Poetry in Writing Poetry” the author shares how to present well-known poems andsuggests ways students can pen their own poetic responses to them. “This technique is a wonderful way to prompt student creativity, as it gives children specific guidelines without limiting their
spontaneity.” A piece from dramatic poet Christopher Marlowe is used as one of the examples in the article.

A classic example of dramatic poetry is “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “Reimagining Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ through Visual and Performing Arts Projects” invites students ti incorporate film, painting, performance, and other arts in their imaginative and innovative responses to a classic work.

How does dramatic poetry play out in your classroom?