Connect with us

Learning

25 Of The Best Poetry Books For Teens

Published

on

by TeachThought Staff

It can be difficult to get the majority of teenagers to show a natural interest in or appreciation for poetry.

And actually, as soon as I wrote that I realized that the same could most likely be said for most of the population, unfortunately. Poetry has so much potential for expression though, from allowing the opportunity to be curious and playful with rhythm, meaning, and metaphor to articulating complicated emotions and perspectives, making it the ideal medium for the angsty and adventure-filled life of most young adults. The challenge lies in making the introduction to prose in a way that sticks.

The key to getting teens excited about poetry — or anything, really — is to make it about them. Developmentally, this is a time in their lives where they are exploring who they are and their place in the world more consciously than ever before and they gravitate towards that which resonates with their own experiences and allows them to explore and express that in new and interesting ways.

Incorporating music and lyrics into lessons about prose is an excellent method to pique the interest of students since they’re already familiar with and appreciative of popular culture. Akala’s TED Talk includes a game called ‘Hip-hop or Shakespeare’ that involves guessing whether a line was written by a rapper or Shakespeare, which is more challenging than you might think and a great way to engage teens.

So, in line with our ‘Happy Books To Read,’ here are 25 of the best poetry books for teens.

25 Of The Best Poetry Books For Teens

It’s also important to choose poetry that relates to where students are in life or what they care about. The following is a list of poetry books appreciated by young adult audiences.

The following links are affiliate links. You can read more about affiliate programs here.

1. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot: Eliot’s famous collection of nonsense verse about cats–the inspiration for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. This edition features pen-and-ink drolleries by Edward Gorey throughout.

2. Paint Me Like I Am from WritersCorp: Paint Me Like I Am is a collection of poems by teens who have taken part in writing programs run by a national nonprofit organization called WritersCorps. To read the words of these young people is to hear the diverse voices of teenagers everywhere.

3. Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits: A 15-year-old girl named Jessie voices typical—and not so typical—teenage concerns in this unique, hilarious collection of poems. Her musings about trying out new makeup and hairstyles, playing volleyball and cello, and dealing with her annoying younger brother are never boring or predictable.

Who else do you know who designs her own clothes and writes poetry to her cat? Jessie’s a girl with strong opinions, and she isn’t shy about sharing them. Her funny, sarcastic take on high school life is revealed through concrete poetry: words, ideas, type, and design that combine to make pictures and patterns.

4. How to Eat a Poem by American Poetry & Literacy Project: Focusing on popular verse from the nineteenth century through today, this anthology invites young readers to sample a taste of irresistible poems that will nourish their minds and spirits.

Selected for both popularity and literary quality, seventy charming poems cover a wide range of subjects: poetry, books, words, and imagination; the beauty of the natural world; travel, adventure, sports, and play; love, friendship, sadness, hope, and other emotions.

5. Bilbo’s Last Song by J.R.R. Tolkien: Bilbo’s Last Song is considered by many to be Tolkien’s epilogue to his classic work The Lord of the Rings. As Bilbo Baggins takes his final voyage to the Undying Lands, he must say goodbye to Middle-earth. Poignant and lyrical, the song is both a longing to set forth on his ultimate journey and a tender farewell to friends left behind.

6. Bull by David Elliott: Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, the New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers reevaluating one of mythology’s most infamous monsters.

7. Poetry Speaks Who I Am by Elise Paschen and Dominique Raccah: Poetry Speaks Who I Am is filled with more than 100 remarkable poems about you, who you are, and who you are becoming. Dive in-find the poem you love, the one that makes you angry, the one that makes you laugh, the one that knocks the wind out of you, and become a part of Poetry Speaks Who I Am by adding your own inside the book.

8. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle: In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

9. Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes: Using the structure of a poetry slam, Nikki Grimes’ award-winning novel is a powerful exploration of self, an homage to spoken-word poetry, and an intriguing look into the life of eighteen urban teens.

10. Seeing The Blue Between by Paul Janeczko: How do you write poetry? It’s a question with as many answers as there are poets. Now, in this unprecedented volume, thirty-two internationally renowned poets provide words of wisdom and inspiring examples of their own work for new poets everywhere.

11. Laughing Out Loud, I Fly by Juan Felipe Herrera: From U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, here are stirring poems that read like music. Awarded the Pura Belpré Honor for this book, Herrera writes in both Spanish and English about the joy and laughter and sometimes the confusion of growing up in an upside-down, jumbled-up world—between two cultures, two homes.

12. The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur: This collection of deeply personal poetry is a mirror into the legendary artist’s enigmatic world and its many contradictions. Written in his own hand from the time he was nineteen, these seventy-two poems embrace his spirit, his energy — and his ultimate message of hope.

13. Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside A Cereal Box by Juan Felipe Herrera: From U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera comes the story of one teen’s emotional journey in the days after 9/11, and a personal look at the culture of Loisaida, the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This emotional and stirring novel won the Américas Award and is written in a unique and arresting style.

14. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle: Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty.

15. I Just Hope It’s Lethal: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy by Liz Rosenberg: The teenage years are a time filled with sadness, madness, joy, and all the messy stuff in between. But between moments of despair and confusion often come times of great clarity and insight, when you might think, like the poet Rumi, “Whoever’s calm and sensible is insane!”

It is moments like these that have inspired the touching, honest, and gripping poems found in I Just Hope It’s Lethal: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy. This collection includes poems by Charles Bukowski, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, T. S. Eliot, Edgar Allen Poe, W. B. Yeats, Dorothy Parker, Jane Kenyon, and many more, including teenage writers and up-and-coming poets.

16. Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25 by Naomi Shihab Nye: This lively collection by young contemporary writers is rooted in the strong, emotional particulars of family, friendship, childhood memories, school, dislocation, war, and more; interestingly, there is almost no talk of sex or romance. The spare lines are passionate, wry, irreverent, and eloquent about meaning found in daily-life scenarios.

17. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world.

18. Honeybee: Short Prose & Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye: In eighty-two poems and paragraphs, Naomi Shihab Nye alights on the essentials of our time—our loved ones, our dense air, our wars, our memories, our planet—and leaves us feeling curiously sweeter and profoundly soothed.

19. Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook: Structured like an old-school mix-tape, Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is Alicia Cook’s lyric message to anyone who has dealt with addiction. “Side A” touches on all aspects of the human condition: life, death, love, trauma, and growth. “Side B” contains haunting black-out remixes of those poems.

20. Poems From Homeroom by Kathi Appelt: Experienced poet and teacher Kathi Appelt has written a wonderful collection of poems for young adult readers, accompanied by fascinating accounts of how and why the poems came to be, along with writing exercises to inspire readers to create their own poetry.

21. The Realm Of Possibility by David Levithan: This collection of linked poems from David Levithan will introduce you to a world of unforgettable and emotionally resonant voices. Enter The Realm of Possibility and meet a boy whose girlfriend is in love with Holden Caulfield; a girl who loves the boy who wears all black; a boy with the perfect body; and a girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have.

22. Out Of The Dust by Karen Hesse: This gripping story, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, is the compelling tale of Billie Jo’s struggle to survive during the dust bowl years of the Depression.

23. The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle: Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula.

In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice.

24. My Own True Name by Pat Mora: Interlaced with Mexican phrases and cultural symbols, these powerful selections, representing more than 15 years of work, address bicultural life and the meaning of family. Mora speaks very much from an adult perspective, but her poems are about universal experiences–the pleasures of eating pizza and mango, and the cultural significance of both; the wrenching experience of witnessing poverty. Mixed in are personal poems that ask the vital question, “Where am I from?” more directly.

25. The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices From The Titanic by Allan Wolf: Millionaire John Jacob Astor hopes to bring home his pregnant teen bride with a minimum of media scandal. A beautiful Lebanese refugee, on her way to family in Florida, discovers the first stirrings of love. And an ancient iceberg glides south, anticipating its fateful encounter.

The voices in this remarkable re-creation of the Titanic disaster span classes and stations, from Margaret (“the unsinkable Molly”) Brown to the captain who went down with his ship; from the lookout and wireless men to a young boy in search of dragons and a gambler in search of marks. Slipping in telegraphs, undertaker’s reports, and other records, poet Allan Wolf offers a breathtaking, intimate glimpse at the lives behind the tragedy, told with clear-eyed compassion and astounding emotional power.

External links on our website may be affiliate links that could result in us receiving compensation (payment) when you traverse the link. For example, we may receive pay per click revenue or commission on sales of products. Regardless of affiliate links, we never share products or services that we don’t believe you’ll find valuable in some way, shape, or form. You can always ensure that all profit goes to retailers and services providers by searching retailers directly for apps, products, and other services we recommend rather than using the links we’ve provided. You can read more about affiliate programs here.

25 Of The Best Poetry Books For Teens

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learning

Four Stages Of A Self-Directed Learning Model

Published

on

self-directed learning stagesFour Stages Of A Self-Directed Learning Model

by TeachThought Staff

Self-Directed Learning is not new–but is perhaps misunderstood.

In the linked post above, Terry Heick wondered about the relationship between self-directed learning and the purpose of education:

The goal of the model isn’t content knowledge (though it should produce that), but rather something closer to wisdom–learning how to learn, understanding what’s worth understanding, and perhaps most importantly, analyzing the purpose of learning (e.g., personal and social change). It also encourages the student to examine the relationship between study and work–an authentic ‘need to know’ with important abstractions like citizenship and legacy.

Studied in terms of adult education and vocation for years, self-directed learning is increasing in popularity for a variety of reasons, including growing dissatisfaction with public schooling, and the rich formal and informal learning materials available online. This is the ‘age of information’ after all.

Self-directed learning is one response, something slideshare user Barbara Stokes captures in this chart, based on the model by Gerald Grow. The four stages–very similar to the gradual release of responsibility model–appear below.

The Four Stages Of The Self-Directed Learning Model

Learner                            Teacher

Stage 1   Dependent        Authority, Coach

Examples: Coaching with immediate feedback. Drill. Informational lecture. Overcoming deficiencies and resistance.

Stage 2:  Interested          Motivator, Guide

Examples: Inspiring lecture plus guided discussion. Goal-seting and learning strategies.

Stage 3:  Involved             Facilitator

Examples: Discussion faciliated by teacher who participates as equal. Seminar. Group projects.

Stage 4:  Self-Directed     Consultant, Delegator

Examples: Internship, dissertation, individual work or self-directed study group.

Theories of Teaching and Learning: The Staged Self-Directed Learning Model, G.Grow. from Barbara Stokes; Four Stages Of A  Self-Directed Learning Model

Continue Reading

Learning

The Benefits Of Competency-Based Assessment

Published

on

The Benefits Of Competency-Based Assessment

contributed by David Garrick, Dean of Graduate School of Education, UCDS College for School Culture

The general idea behind a competency-based assessment is that it provides students and families with specific feedback about student performance that can lead to a clearer understanding of progress and skills gained over time.

As Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the UCDS College for School Culture, I’ve gained a unique perspective on the possibilities that competency-based assessment can provide. Students who attend University Child Development School (UCDS) in Seattle don’t earn A’s, B’s, or F’s. Instead, student assessments are communicated through our own set of competency-based continua for various subjects.

These continua, paired with narrative communication with students and families, make up the school’s framework for assessment, based on skill progressions. I’ve seen the benefits first-hand in Pre-K through elementary classrooms, and also in training at the graduate level.  

By providing specific information about the academic and social skills students exhibit, schools provide detailed and actionable information. This empowers students in their learning and educators in their teaching practices. Here’s a general overview of the benefits of competency-based assessment.

Building Competency-Based Assessments: The Benefits

1. Improved clarity & transparency

Greater clarity allows teachers and families to identify areas of strength and areas where students may need additional support. In all cases, these assessments provide teachers with detailed knowledge about student progress that can be used to build individualized goals and educational plans.

In addition to evaluating proficiency in these domains, teachers should regularly share comprehensive feedback individual student accomplishments and struggles. For example, UCDS teachers provide narrative commentary to families where they focus on how a student engages within each domain, as well as notable accomplishments and struggles.

Focusing on comprehensive feedback brings clarity to the learner, and clarity to the family about what’s happening in the classroom. Letter grades don’t show the full picture (suggesting alternatives to letter grades), and a competency-based model is better equipped to provide students, families and future schools with clear information about each student’s social and academic progress.

Advertisement

2. More seamless personalization of learning

Through Competency-Based Learning, educators have a better chance to provide a deeper view into each student’s learning attitudes and strategies and can provide resources that best support individual needs. This type of information is key to understanding the unique modes, strategies, and coaching to which each student responds best. This is the foundation of personalized learning.

3. It helps shift towards a culture of assessment

To successfully adopt competency-based strategies, teachers and administrators must first reevaluate assessment. While traditional forms of assessment (i.e., exams and quizzes) are valuable when placing students on a general scale of progress, they don’t show the whole picture. Making changes to assessment can be daunting for some educators, especially those who have been using traditional assessment practices throughout their career. It can also be a shift for parents to evaluate their student’s performance without a grade.

It’s important that teachers pursue resources and professional development that introduce different methods of assessing student progress, and why they hold value. As every teacher knows, the learning never stops – and by staying on top of current trends, curriculum can be adapted to meet every students’ needs.

4. Students better understand their own learning profile

Through comprehensive, competency-based assessment methods, teachers can help students to reach college and career readiness with greater self-knowledge about their learning approaches and needs. Working from a continuum of skills ensures that every student is being challenged in a way that is appropriate to what they want and need to learn and that educators can give individualized support as needed to help them move forward.

Removing the stress of being placed on a tiered grading scale shifts the focus back to learning, while building the confidence to make mistakes. Students take ownership of their learning. They feel empowered when mastering a skill and learn to identify what’s next.

Conclusion

For teachers, competency-based assessment brings depth and value to curriculum. With the focus shifted away from letters and percentages, students become more involved in long-term progress and are more apt to become engaged and take risks while learning.

Ranking students based on undefined competencies and then using that rank to determine their future prospects and contributions is a practice best left to past eras. Competency-based assessment provides more detailed information that promotes better-targeted teaching and learning for all parties involved.  

Continue Reading

Learning

5 Learning Strategies That Make Students Curious

Published

on

Causing curiosity in students boils down to knowing that student.

5 Learning Strategies That Make Students Curious

by Terry Heick

Understanding where curiosity comes from is the holy grail of education.

Education, of course, is different than learning but both depend on curiosity.

Education implies a formal, systematic, and strategic intent to cause learning. In this case, content to be learned is identified, learning experiences are planned, learning results are assessed, and data from said assessments play some role in the planning of new learning experiences. Learning strategies are applied, and snapshots of understanding are taken as frequently as possible.

This approach is clinical and more than a smidgeon scientific. It arrests emotion and spontaneity in pursuit of planning and precision, a logical trade in the eyes of science.

Of course, very little about learning is scientific. While data, goals, assessment, and planning should all play a role in any system that purports to actually accomplish anything, learning and education are fundamentally different. The former is messy and personal, painful and fantastic. The latter attempts to assimilate the former—or at least streamline it as much as possible in the name of efficiency.

An analogy might help. (I love teaching with analogies.)

learning : education :: true love : dating service

True love may very well come from a dating service, and dating services do all they can to make it happen, but in the end—well, there’s a fair bit of hocus pocus at work behind it all.

Hubris & Education

Education is simultaneously the most noble and hubristic of all endeavors. There are two minds to every educator. This may all reek of sensationalism, but watch anyone at play, honing a craft, lost in a book, or engaged in a digital simulation and you’ll see a completely different person—one there physically, but far removed in spirit.

In a better place.

Causing this in a classroom is possible, but is as often the result of good fortune than good planning. The best substitutes that can masquerade as curiosity are dutiful compliance and engagement. Neither of these are curiosity, which has among its sources a strong sense of volition, accountability, and curiosity.

Here, let me try.

I want to show you what I can do.

I want to know.

And that last one—a sign of curiosity–is a bugger, one we’ve talked about before. Like the caffeine in coffee, the chords on a guitar, or the wet in water, genuine curiosity is not a thing, it’s the thing.

Not temporarily wanting to know, or being vaguely interested in an answer, but being able to put together past experience and knowledge like the millions of fibers on a network–only to be maddeningly stopped from branching further without understanding or knowing this one bit.

Like stopping an incredible movie right at the climax—that awful, crazy feeling inside would be unfulfilled curiosity—and it’d just kill you not to know. But where does it come from?

And can you consistently cause it in a learner?

If formal learning environments driven by outcomes-based systems have taught us nothing else, it’s that while we often can “cause” something to happen in learner, it is only by considerable effort, resources, and angst.

Advertisement

But we certainly can create ideal conditions where natural curiosity can begin to grow. What we do when it happens—and disrupts our planned lessons and tidy little units—is another story altogether.

5 Things That Make Students Curious

1. Revisit Old Questions

The simplest curiosities arise from old questions that were never fully answered, or that no attempt to answer was made.

Of course, any question worth its salt is never ‘fully answered’ any more than a good conversation is ever finished, but as we learn and reflect and grow, old answers can look positively awkward, as they are bound by old knowledge.

Strategy to actuate: Revisit old questions—through a journal prompt, Socrative discussion, QFT (Question Formulation Technique), or even a fishbowl discussion. And also revisit the thinking from the first go-round to see what has changed.

2. Model & Promote Ambition

Ambition precedes curiosity. Without wanting to advance in position, thinking, or design, curiosity is simply a biological and neurological reaction to stimulus. But ambition is what makes us human, and its fraternal twin is curiosity.

Strategy to actuate: Well thought-out mentoring, peer-to-peer modeling, Project-Based Learning and a genuine ‘need to know.’

3. Play

A learner at play is a signal that there is a comfortable mind focused on a fully-internalized goal.

It may or may not be the same goal as those given externally, but play is hypnotic and more efficient than the most well-planned instructional sequence. A learner playing and learning through play, nearly by definition, is curious about something, or otherwise they’re simply manipulating bits and pieces mindlessly.

Strategy to actuate: Game-Based Learning and learning games and simulations like Armadillo Run, Civilization VI, Bridge Constructor, and Age of Empires all empower the learner to play. Same with Challenge-Based learning and other forms of learning.

4. The Right Collaboration At The Right Time

Seeing what is possible modeled by peers is powerful stuff for learners. Some may not be initially curious about content, but seeing what peers accomplish can be a powerful actuator for curiosity. How did they do this? How might I do what they did in my own way? Which of these ideas I’m seeing are valuable to me—right here, right now–and which are not?

Strategy to actuate: Grouping is not necessarily collaboration. To actuate collaboration, and thus curiosity, students must have a genuine need for another resource, idea, perspective, or something else otherwise not immediately available to them. Cause them to need something, not simply to finish an assignment, but to achieve the goal they set for themselves.

5. Use Diverse & Unpredictable Content

Diverse content is likely the most accessible pathway to at least a modicum of curiosity from learners. New projects, new games, new novels, new poets, new things to think about.

Strategy to actuate: Invite the learners to understand the need for a resource or bit of content and have them source it. Instant diversity class-wide, and likely divergence from where you were going with it all. At worst you’ve got engaged learners, and a real shot at curiosity.

5 Learning Strategies That Make Students Curious

Continue Reading

Trending