When my package arrived, I have to admit, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. In fact, my first thought was one of a little intimidation. The books were thicker than what I expected. I read through the beginning pages and skimmed through the lessons, and realized two things: first, the curriculum is meaty and something to take our time with, and second, the set up is easy to follow. I lost the intimidation, and dove in with confidence.
The teacher’s book is 313 pages containing an introduction for the teacher which includes teaching suggestions, the complete student text plus answer keys, quizzes with answer keys, a poetry timeline, a glossary, and short biographies of the poets featured in the curriculum. Check out the sample PDF for the table of contents and a good sized chunk of what you will find in the teacher’s book.
The student text is 268 pages and contains suggestions for how to use it, lessons, short biographies of the poets featured, and a glossary. There are 100+ poems throughout the book for your students and you to dive into. There are three main parts of the book: The Elements of Poetry, The Formal History of Poetry, and Application.
The first two sections follow a similar layout:
Lesson: Covers the element or history being discussed
Learning to Read Closely: Christine Perrin shares a poem and then teaches you how to dig a little deeper with it by breaking down the stanzas. You’ll look at how the poet shaped the lines, used punctuation, hit the senses, etc.
Anthology: This includes a couple of poems with questions designed to help you dig deeper into the poem, and the poet’s possible intentions.
Activities: You’ll find a wide range of ideas from freewriting, word association games, writing, collages, observing the world around you, drawing, learning from other poets, journaling, memorizing, etc. You do not have to do all of these. We chose what appealed to us.
Vocabulary: This helps with terms you may not be familiar with, and could be memorized if desired.
The third section discusses followup ideas such as starting a poetry group, keeping a writer’s journal, building a favorite poem notebook, poetry slams, etc.
Again, there is a sample PDF to give you an idea of what the student text looks like.
The DVDs contain 15+ hours of teaching by Christine Perrin as she leads a discussion with four eighth-grade students. She also demonstrates some of the activities to help you get an idea of how to proceed.
We received the first DVD, watched it, and decided to not include it in our studies. I do think it adds to it, and I found some of the teacher and student insights interesting, but overall, it didn’t work for us.
The purpose of the entire course is to lead your middle and high students into becoming in-depth readers and inspired writers.
Chrystiana and I are both the students allowing the book to be our teacher. We read the lesson together, and then we both read the poems out loud, answer the questions, discuss our answers, read and discuss the answers in the answer key, and then choose the activities that appeal to us (or that I’d like her to challenge herself with).
Some activities we do together, and some are things you do alone. We share with each other when we’re done. We’ve also chosen to memorize our favorite ones, and plan to create a favorite poem notebook. We both already have notebooks we decorated and started with our own finished poems which we will continue to add to. I think we will also get ourselves some work in progress journals.
There is a suggested schedule PDF which gives you ideas on how to break the lessons up to cover the course in one year (32 weeks), a half year (16 weeks), four years, or in an elective/coop type situation. I, personally, think taking the time to get the most out of the course is the best way to go. We plan on going at our own pace and really enjoying the course.
We have both enjoyed the course so far. It’s a fun time spent together, being creative, and learning to dig deeper into poetry. I’m surprised at how I’m starting to read the poems a little differently. We both are finding that each time we read the poem through, something different stands out to us.
The first read through is usually for the discovery of the poem itself. Then each subsequent reading allows the different images, emotions, senses, symbolism, relational elements, etc. to engage with you on new levels. Plus, we are slowly learning how to read them out loud with pauses and voice inflection.
You have a few options with this course depending on how much you can or would like to put towards it:
Prices reflect the drop taking place on April 1st
The Art of Poetry Bundle – $99.95 – includes The Art of Poetry Teacher’s Edition, The Art of Poetry student text, and The Art of Poetry DVD set. If you want to dive into the entire course as created, this is the way to go.
The Art of Poetry Teacher’s Edition – $29.95 – If I didn’t have a lot of money to spend, I would get this and skip everything else. The complete student text is included, and the work is done on paper not in the textbook.
The Art of Poetry – $24.95 – This is nice to have so the student can follow along easier. We work through the lessons together, so it’s nice to have our own copy. However, sharing would be just fine if funds were limited.
The Art of Poetry DVD Set – $69.95 – the bundle has the best savings when purchasing all of it.
The entire curriculum is non-consumable which means you can recoup some of your money when you’ve completed the course.
On the Classical Academic Press website, you will find a free audio file download with readings for select poems from The Art of Poetry course, The Art of Poetry blog, and links to purchase the course text in Kindle or iBook format.
*Prices and information are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of this posting.