To celebrate National Poetry Month, we offer resources to encourage engagement with diverse voices through poetry. We also offer a range of resources allowing you and your students to access these materials: digital, print, audio, and video! Check out these diverse ways to include all learners in celebrating poetry.
Read, Write & Listen: In celebration of 25 years on National Poetry Month, The Telling Room has created an anthology of poetry by Maine students. A New Land celebrates life in Maine while offering diverse perspectives of youth from a variety of countries. Last year, every Maine high school library received a free copy of this anthology, and the Telling Room has created a toolkit for teachers to bring these poems and writers into the classroom. The Telling Room site provides a PDF of the poems and links to Check out these resources and let MCELA and let colleagues know how you used this anthology and the resources.
Write: Wondering how to bring the writing of poetry into your classroom? Try this resource - Poetry in Schools. This guide for teachers allows you to create your own unit of poetry and to learn about new ways to inspire students to hone their craft. Check it out!
View & Listen: Check out this spoken word performance from Abdul Ali, where he reads his piece “System is a ‘Chess Game’”. From Maine Kids VOICE: “Abdulkadir Ali is an Ethiopian-American social activist, who brings his voice and experience to advocate for racial and criminal justice here in Maine. From human rights to community leadership, Ali is working to address issues that continuously occur in silenced communities caused by systematic oppression.”
View & Listen: ICYMI - Check out the Maine Poetry Out Loud Finals from April of 2021. Watch and listen to Maine students bring alive familiar and newer poetry. If you are a high school teacher, consider how you might participate in future POL competitions. Of course, any teacher can host their own celebration of the spoken word!
Looking for more? Check out the NCTE Position Statement on “Resolution on the Need for Diverse Children’s and Young Adult Books.” And NCTE Verse.
The IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) Collective focuses on an important goal: Support Maine educators as they explore ways to develop materials and practices for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. In particular, MCELA invites educators to think about, discuss, and take steps to address issues related to racism, income disparity, gender identity, environmental justice, equity, genocide, and indigenous sovereignty.Each month, the IDEA Collective of MCELA will share a resource for educators to explore and consider using in their practice and with their students.
In honor of Women’s History Month, IDEA offers a link to the National Women’s History Alliance, where you can find more information about the 2022 Women’s History Month theme “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope” as well as classroom resources. We also offer the poem “Responsibility” by Grace Paley, a poem that asks us to consider the value of looking at the world through the eyes of women, and we invite you to share this with your students and let us know what happens.
Responsibility by Grace Paley
It is the responsibility of society to let the poet be a poet
It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman
It is the responsibility of the poet to stand on street corners
giving out poems and beautifully written leaflets
also leaflets you can hardly bear to look at
because of the screaming rhetoric
Looking for more? Check out the NCTE Guidelines for Affirming Gender Diversity through ELA Curriculum and Pedagogy
Introducing the IDEA Collective
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access for Teachers of English Language Arts
Members of the MCELA Executive Board created this working group to focus on an important goal: Support Maine educators as they explore ways to develop materials and practices for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. In particular, MCELA invites educators to think about, discuss, and take steps to address issues related to racism, income disparity, gender identity, environmental justice, equity, genocide, and indigenous sovereignty.
Each month, the IDEA Collective of MCELA will share a resource for educators to explore and consider using in their practice and with their students. This month, we invite teachers to explore the Samantha Smith Challenge, a program based on Maine artist Robert Shetterly’s work in Americans Who Tell the Truth. Not ready to take on a project with students? Consider exploring the materials and resources at Americans Who Tell the Truth as a way to introduce to students the people from history and in the world today who raise their voices about issues related to justice and equity.