4 projects and 26 poems for Year 10 students

I spent about three hours on twitter today annoying people into sharing their favourite poems and poems for teenagers. Why? Well, I’ve put my hand up to write a unit of work for Year 10 on poetry. I’m happy to do it because for the last three years I’ve had great success with a poetry project that was originally based on the ideas of Dean Groom. It was my first ever proper time using project-learning with my classes … you can read about it here. The Cyborg Poetry project morphed into the very popular Emo Project. You can read about that project here.

For this unit of work I’ll be combining both projects. The Cyborg mini-project goes for 2 weeks and will be like an extended hook for the longer project to follow. I’ve modified the longer project to allow for greater teacher/student choice. Why? Because the unit of work needs to be ‘taught’ by five different teachers. Everyone has their own strengths and interests, so I figure I’ll make it as open as possible. I’ve come up with four potential driving questions which have slightly different content connected to them. I have also given a bit of freedom when it comes to the product and the presentation. Let’s face it, some teachers are going to feel more confident just getting their students to write an essay to be submitted to the teacher. That’s fine. I’m not into forcing adult humans into doing something they don’t want to do. On the other hand, I want to give them the option to try something new if they feel confident to take a risk. So here’s the project outlines that I’ve created for the FOUR options. I’ll be doing the ‘PUNKs and EMOs’ option.

I’ve also compiled a list of 26 poems suitable for the students to engage with as part of these projects – thanks to my Twitter mates for their suggestions! The poems are basically those that can be loosely classified under the categories of ‘emo poetry’ (focusing on things like loss, love and the human condition) or ‘punk poetry’ (focusing on things like injustice, prejudice and a dissatisfaction with society). I’ll let you decide which poems fit in which category, haha, enjoy!

Robert Frost:

-      Mending Wall

-      Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

-      Fire and Ice

John Foulcher:

-      For the Fire

-      Land’s End

Sylvia Plath:

-      Kindness

-      I am Vertical

W.H. Auden:

-      Unknown Citizen

William Shakespeare:

-      My Mistress Eyes

Philip Larkin:

-      This Be The Verse

-      Aubade

Charles Bukowski:

-      Alone With Everyone

-      A Smile to Remember

Taylor Mali:

-      Totally Like Whatever, You Know?

-       How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog

Sarah Kay:

-      Poppy

-      Witness

Mark Grist:

-      Lump

-      Head of Progress

Maya Angelou:

-      Alone

-      Still I Rise

-      I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Carol Ann Duffy:

-      Education for Leisure

Dylan Thomas:

-      Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

W.B. Yeats

-      Sailing to Byzantium

T.S. Eliot:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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2 thoughts on “4 projects and 26 poems for Year 10 students

  1. I was going to say that I would have liked more contemporary stuff. And I was going to say that I’ve taken to buying Robert Adamson’s ‘The Best Australian Poems’ anthologies and finding interesting stuff in there. But I hadn’t looked at all the poems, had I? I think Sarah Kay’s Poppy in particular is fabulous.

    It’s an issue, of course. I enjoy teaching ‘Kelly the Murderer’ (it’s in Yellow Wood), Slessor’s ‘Vesper Song of the Rev Samuel Marsden’ and Dawe’s ‘Weapons Training.’ Mostly because they’re all big shouty poems and I get to use my big shouty voice. But also because they are complex rhetorically driven artefacts. I’m also glad that there’s teachers much younger than me out there teaching poems written in the last twenty years. I mean even John Foulcher published in 1985. (Oh, add ‘Summer Rain’ to the list – beautiful, anti-romantic, provocative)

    One interesting approach I’ve been trying is looking for choral settings of poems. Stephen Leek has a very evocative setting of Charles Harpur’s ‘Midsummer Noon’ that reinvigorates this old chestnut.

    I’m not one of those people who appreciates Eminem. But when people whose opinion I respect call him a poet laureate… And suggest I listen to some skip hop… Great unit, of course, because it provides a framework to hang all of this interesting stuff on!

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