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Poetry with Marjory Wentworth

Whether it’s writing poems from passages in a science textbook or using social studies lessons to inspire student poems, Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth believes that everything belongs in a poem and that writing poems is the best way to get students excited about language. Coauthor of the Coretta Scott King Award-winning book, Out of Wonder, Poems Praising Poets she has numerous exercises using Common Core Connections.

Arts for Literacy

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets: Use this book to introduce students to the idea of creating original art or poetry in honor, celebration, or appreciation of another artist or writer.

“I believe that by reading other poets, we can discover our own wonder.” Children will enjoy hearing these poems read aloud, and they will enjoy reading them independently. As each reader grows in their ability to understand with more complexity and sophistication, and as readers experience a greater exposure to poetry, delight will increase as they discover the influences of the celebrated poets’ work on the poets and poems in this book.




World Wars and Poetry

Sample Lesson at Angel Oak: Creative Writing unit based on Social Studies lessons on World War I and World War II?

Interpret devices of figurative language (including simile, metaphor, personification and hyperbole) and sound devices (including onomatopoeia and alliteration) understand the characteristics of poetry (including stanza, rhyme, scheme, repetition and refrain).

Dramatizing literature (non-fiction and fiction) students develop an understanding of characters, settings and conflicts within a text. Students will explore their voices through the use of monologues and storytelling presentations.

• Determine a theme of a story, drama or poem from details in the text…summarize
• Determine meaning of words and phrases including figurative language
• Explain how a series of chapters, scenes or stanzas fit to provide structure of a story, drama or poem


Poetry of Place

Students utilize various poetic devices including lists, line breaks, syllabics, imagery, specific image detail, voice, and the 5 senses to create poems related to the physical landforms and natural environment of South Carolina,  and students’ own experience as a resident of the state of South Carolina. Students will incorporate their knowledge of South Carolina’s unique natural environments such as rivers, lakes, forests, swamps, and mountains.  They will include their own personal experience as a resident of South Carolina by expressing what makes South Carolina a special place to them.




Persona Poems

Marjory Wentworth wrote a true story called Shackles that shows the history of Sullivan’s Island as one of the slave centers in the Charleston region.  The themes of the Civil War, slavery, discrimination and prejudice are evident in this book.  Marjory Wentworth designed five poetry lessons that are infused with social studies and visual arts.


Writing a Persona Poem: Persona means mask. A persona is a speaker created by a writer to speak in a poem. If you were a person from a different time or place, what would you see, hear, taste, smell, or touch around you? Brainstorm a list of what is going on around you and what is in your thoughts. Use strong verbs and distinct nouns for your details. Read through your list aloud. How does it sound? Does the character that you created have a strong, authentic voice? Work through your words to create your poem.

Sample Student poem:

I hear screaming

And taste the pain.

I smell the clouds

And touch the rain,

But all I could see

Was freedom.

Randi Davis, Mary Ford Elementary School, North Charleston