Cullman Middle School gets creative in the English classroom with ‘March Poetry Madness’

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Poetry board from English teacher Lindsey Hill's classroom (Photo from Twitter)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Middle School kicked off “March Poetry Madness” with a reading of Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” as a way to get students interested in poetry. English teacher Lindsey Hill said, “A lot of times, when they think of poems, they think of something written hundreds of years ago and its not relevant, and that was a way to show them that anybody can write poetry.” This is the second year Hill has taught poetry with her “March Poetry Madness” theme. “It’s about the only way I can get kids excited about poetry,” she adds.  

The students usually read two poems a day. They go through the analytical process together, and they discuss the poems amongst themselves. They discuss the possible different themes as a class and vote individually on the poem they identify with the most. Hill said, “We get it down to two and they can kind of rally for the one they think is the best.”

Hill discussed a couple different reasons why it is important for students to learn poetry, saying, “Sometimes it is a nice break for kids especially who don’t like reading. Poetry is easier in the sense that it’s smaller and more manageable, but we have to dig so much deeper when we’re reading poems than when we read like short stories or a novel, and I feel like it’s a good way to release some responsibility to them – let them think about themes and what the poet or speaker is trying to teach us. I think it’s more of a life lesson, something that can apply to their own lives and that doesn’t always apply to novels or short stories.

They really have to think so much more about a poem than they do other pieces of literature so it’s a good way to check all of the boxes.”

The class will read 16 poems over the course of about two weeks until they decide on a winning poet.

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