Poetry for the Common Good
We find poetry everywhere: lyrics to songs, commercials, and picture books. Poems express strong emotions and observations of relationships with each other and the world. Sharing their poems to communicate care can be an act of generosity.
The learner will:
- recognize poetry in different settings.
- define “philanthropy” as giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good.
- copies of the handout Forms for Poetic Reflection
- age-appropriate examples of poetry
Share a favorite verse of poetry by reading it aloud and talking about what it means. Discuss the rhymes and playful language. "Change Sings" by Amanda Gorman is a great example.
Define poetry as "a piece of writing that has a rhythm in the verse and sometimes rhyming. It often uses words that are very specific, descriptive, and vivid."
Many children's picture books have poetic text. Poetry can be found in poetry books (Mother Goose, Shel Silverstein), songs (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star), and television jingles.
Share several examples of different kinds of poetry and talk about the word play - rhyme and alliteration. Tell them that poetry makes pictures with words.
Sometimes people write or give gifts of poetry to communicate feelings. The gifts may be to loved ones or to a community. Define or review the definition of philanthropy (sharing of one’s time, talent, and treasure and taking action for the common good).
Talk about when poetry may be an act of philanthropy. A poet at a ceremony gives wisdom to the gathering. For example, the U.S. Presidential Inauguration has a poet laureate. A poem can have the subject of "giving" or "philanthropy" and teach readers about the importance of giving. A poem about something beautiful in nature can teach other people to care for the Earth.
Allow thinking time for children to think about who or what they would like to write a poem for. Discuss some of their ideas.
The handout below demonstrates some poetic forms, which may help children get started writing. Another way to start is by brainstorming words related to the topic. If they are writing about a person, they can list words that describe the person, their actions, and how they feel about the person and their impact.
Allow writing time. They may work in small groups and get help from older students to dictate their ideas.
Pair up children to read and get feedback on their poems.
Children write and illustrate final drafts of their poem. They give their poems to someone or "publish them" to communicate their message with a larger community.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.