Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Write in the Middle
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Workshop 3: Teaching Poetry

In Workshop 3, we see two master teachers—Vivian Johnson, who teaches eighth grade in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and Jack Wilde, a fifth-grade teacher from Hanover, New Hampshire—help their students develop as readers and writers of poetry.

The workshop begins midway through Vivian Johnson's five-week poetry unit as she introduces a lesson on line breaks to her students. After the class analyzes several models that exemplify the power of line breaks, the students apply what they have learned to their own writing and share their work with each other.

Like Vivian, Jack Wilde is using a published poem to teach his fifth-grade students about writing poetry. After the students read and analyze the poem, Jack gives them a topic and has them practice writing stanzas modeled on the exemplar to combine into a class poem. The children share their writing, and then Jack leads them in a discussion of how they might apply what they have learned from this exercise to writing their own poetry.

In addition to classroom segments, the workshop features excerpts from a conversation between Jack and Vivian and from an interview with Tom Romano, author of Clearing the Way: Working With Teenage Writers.

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