BY: LIZ KEIPER
I’m a big fan of Kwame Alexander’s book The Crossover.
I’ll admit—at first I was a bit skeptical. When we received word last school year that Berkeley County high schools were going to be reading The Crossover as a county One Book event, I was not immediately sold.
“So, it’s one of those poetry-novels. Teen angst and basketball…” I mean, I’ll try anything once, but I was not ready for how powerful that book was.
It’s about basketball… but it’s about so much more. The big ideas forming the story are incredible—family, sacrifice, love, acceptance, jealousy, revenge, (spoiler alert!) death. The poetry is rhetorically rich. There are motifs and symbolism galore, and also Biblical allusions… There are two brothers, one of whom is jealous of the other and wounds the other out of jealousy. (Cain and Abel, much?) Also, the two brothers happen to be named Joshua and Jordan, and at the end of the story, Joshua crosses over Jordan in a basketball move (eerily similar to Joshua crossing over the Jordan River into the Promised Land).
For many students, basketball was the hook or initial interest point, but there was so much more that they got from the text.
I remember telling a friend, “The Crossover isn’t just a popular poetry-novel; it’s LITERATURE!”
And Solo is no exception to that.
It is the newest book written co-written by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. The story is about a boy named Blade who is the son of a formerly famous, now drug addicted, rock star. Blade goes on a journey in search of his past, and ultimately himself. He is an avid classic rock fan, so rock songs and references to them are woven throughout.
But of course, it’s about far more than just classic rock. Solo is also rife with symbolism, themes, allusions, powerful rhetoric, interesting poetic structure, and just about every archetype under the sun. However, I’m not going to give away too much more before you read it. ☺
I think that several activities that I used in my classroom with The Crossover would also work well with Solo (or any other novel told through poetry) because of the structure of the text.
During reading with The Crossover, I had my students analyze poems of their choosing from the book. Below are my instructions and here's a copy of the document.
We analyzed the first poem “Dribbling” as a class, and the rest were their free choice.
For me, this helped me not go “overkill” on the book during reading. This held the students responsible for deep thinking but also let them enjoy the flow of the story as well.
The Crossover is also a phenomenal mentor text for poetry writing. During reading, I had students write a Found poem modeled after the newspaper-story-turned-poem “Article #1 in the Daily News (December 14),” a List poem modeled after “Five Reasons I Have Locks,” and a Definition poem modeled after “ca-lam-i-ty.”
For each of these types of poems, we read and analyzed a model poem from The Crossover as a class, I showed them an example that I had written based on the model, and then I gave them the remaining time in class to write their own. They then decorated their favorite poem that they had written for display.
As an after-reading activity, I identified three main motifs that I found significant in the book: Flight/Flying, Stars, and the word Crossover. I split the students into groups and assigned each group a motif. I gave each group six different instances of that motif in the story and had them look up all those instances. Then as a group, they had to decide what the recurring symbol seemed to represent and why. Here's the motifs handout that accompanied the task.
Along with meshing well with the above-mentioned techniques, the new book Solo is also a fabulous example of the classical quest and the concept of The Hero’s Journey. Here’s a cool tie-in video for your kids to explain The Hero’s Journey and why it’s important.
In Solo, (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it!) the main character Blade has a recurring dream in which he hears a call to “wake up and face the spider.” Throughout the story, he develops many theories as to who or what the “spider” is or what this means. He then proceeds to go on a quest in which he gains much more than he expected and deciphers the nature of the “spider.” All of this is part of his Hero’s Journey.
A few years ago, I taught English 12, and after reading Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I showed my students the above Hero’s Journey Ted Ed video, and they identified the elements of the journey for both Beowulf and Sir Gawain. Then, that gave us a chance to make text-to-self connections—what is your Grendel? What is your Green Knight?
Or, in the case of Solo, what is your Spider? What is a fear or obstacle that is keeping you from your goals—your destination?
One of the deepest powers of story is how it can impact and teach. And you can definitely get to that level with your students and Solo.
So, whether you just decide to read it as a last-hurrah of summer, whether this inspires you to try to write a grant to get a classroom set, or whether you pick up a copy for your classroom library and wait for that kid with the Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin t-shirt to walk into your classroom during the first month of school and you use it to hook them on a good book… I hope that you and your students get a taste of this book.
And may you wake up and face your Spider.
WVCTE is wondering…
1) Have you read or taught The Crossover? What other engaging activities do you suggest with the text?
2) With what other quest/Hero’s Journey stories would the Ted Ed video be useful?
Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!
If you’re unfamiliar with the poetry of our extraordinarily talented West Virginia Poet Laureate, you need to add his work to your summer reading list this year. Marc Harshman is a West Virginia state treasure. An accomplished children’s book author, Harshman has also published two collections of poetry, Green-Silver and Silent and Believe What You Can. His work spans a wide range of complexities, and can be used in any ELA classroom at any level. I have had the pleasure of hosting him in my classroom several times, and I have used his poetry in my Advanced Placement Language and Composition course and in my English 11 class.
Here he is with my students below:
Harshman’s poetry sounds and feels as if Robert Frost and Walt Whitman took a hike together through the Appalachians. His poetry often explores our spiritual connection to the natural world, is rife with Appalachian themes, and filled with images of place, plants, animals, and people, his love of West Virginia evident in every turn of phrase. Often, his poems read like small celebrations of nature and beauty, highlighting the best of our people, our state, and our culture.
Take this one for example:
THERE WILL BE DANCING
A fiddle tune bearing, rough-shod,
the memory of the village:
sunlight on stucco,
leaf-plastered paths in autumn,
in moonlight and bracken,
the lilt of the market tongue,
ancient beyond telling.
A fiddle tune bearing, sweet as fruit,
a memory of timelessness:
candles on narrow sills
marching each night through Advent,
a bowl of rose petals, peach
and orange and crimson,
garlic and lamb simmering
in a black pan,
kisses long enough for tasting.
All have returned, just here.
Listen. They come round again.
There will be dancing, too.
When I started working on this blog post, I was originally going to share a lesson I have used quite successfully that pairs Harshman’s A Song for West Virginia with Whitman’s Song of Myself. A Song for West Virginia was commissioned by the Wheeling National Heritage Area to celebrate the state's sesquicentennial.
See Harshman perform the poem below:
The poem provides a brilliant "highlight-reel" version of West Virginia history—perfect for an ELA or Social Studies class, and could be used in both middle and high school grade classrooms. My lesson explores how poetry can be used to celebrate identity and individuality.
**If you’d still like some details on that lesson, shoot me an email, and I’ll send them over.
(Also, here is a copy of some guided reading questions I came up with for A Song for West Virginia)
But I’m not going to focus this post on that lesson. Instead, I came up with something brand new. As I was re-reading Harshman’s collection, Green-Silver and Silent in preparation for this blog post, I was struck with inspiration. And like we all sometimes do in our classrooms, I switched gears.
You see, because my favorite Harshman poems are his prose style poems. They're these wonderfully intense shorts, that read like flash-fiction.
Take SAVED for example:
At Bible camp, climbing a steep bank, a boy, adventurous and confident, cries out to see a hornet’s nest and so draws them to him. White butterflies linger in the field, haphazard and intentional all at once and unmindful of the thick heat. The mud is cool down by the river where friends cake handfuls of it over the fiery welts that burn across his face, down his neck and snake along his spine. It was a wet spring and the river had cut a new path, deeper. It’s hard to believe anyone was every baptized here, but buried perhaps, yes. The boy’s whimpers die away as he crosses the soybean field on the shortcut back to camp where his counselor will joke that he looks like a mud pie. A green heron stays frozen at its work in the backwash below pale willows. They would have swung on grape vines near here, great living ropes that would have soared twenty feet out over the sluggish, seductive, waters of the stream. All in all a lucky day.
It was when I re-read SAVED that this post went off the rails. I re-read it a few times, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how this piece would be excellent as a model in a mentor text activity. We have talked about using mentor texts a few times on this blog, and for more information about using mentor texts, click HERE.
Harshman gets quite a bit done in just a few lines—lines loaded with imagery and symbolism. He tells us a whole story, but still leaves us with questions, wondering.
These nine sentences manage to do all the things we want our students to do in really great writing.
Take a look at another example from Green-Silver and Silent:
IN TIME FOR SUPPER
He flinches at the sight of his mother’s bra and panties strung along the still clothesline. No wind to enliven this afternoon. A truck is grinding its’ gears up inside the green shade of the mountain. Where the lawn meets the road the grass is brown with dust. A small garden snake slithers out onto the hot asphalt. His mother sleeps in front of the TV where John Wayne charges downhill, bugles blaring, sabers slicing the heavy air into thin wafers of breeze. Ahead, white flags surrender both pride and virtue. A change in the weather? The truck will reach Cumberland in time for supper. As he digs a grave for the snake, the boy will wonder again what it takes to become a man.
Again, nine sentences that tell an incredible story. Dripping with imagery and symbolism, I clearly saw a new lesson here for my students.
I wanted to craft a mentor task activity.
So--the new plan:
I can’t wait to try this in my own classroom, but since it’s the last week of school it may have to wait until August. If you try this lesson, tweet us, Facebook us, or Email us and let us know how it goes! And share great examples of student work!
In the meantime, grab copies of Green-Silver and Silent and Believe What You Can and read some more incredible work by our very talented Poet Laureate. You can also find Harshman and many other West Virginia writers in the brand new anthology, Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods.
Happy reading, happy teaching, and happy (almost) Summer!
*All poems excerpted from Green, Silver, and Silent (2012) with the gracious permission of Marc Harshman, West Virginia Poet Laureate.
By Rachelle Green
For the month of February, I like to celebrate Black History Month. My English classes are full of presentations about African-American writers. With my creative writing class, I wanted to do something different. As the month approached, I thought about various activities I could do with the students. One day, the song “Blood on the Leaves” by Kanye West kept playing in my head. Kanye West included snippets of the song “Strange Fruit” in the song. As the day progressed, I could not get those snippets of the song out of my head. So, I went to Google. I looked up the lyrics to “Strange Fruit.” I was so moved by the words; at that moment, I knew that I had to do something with them. I then went to YouTube and listened to Billie Holiday and Nina Simone sing the song. Nina Simone sang it with so much passion. I knew then that I had to come up with an activity that utilized the words in poetry form, but also in song.
The next day, I found a site, History is a Weapon, that put the lyrics into poetic form. I then went to YouTube again and found a video of Nina Simone singing “Strange Fruit” but also explaining her thoughts and feelings about the lyrics. After watching the video, I considered the video to be very “raw,” due to the images of people hanging from the tree. But, I knew that images were important to the message, and I had to show it. The following day, I presented the activity to my creative writing students.
Before I jumped into the activity, I did warn students that this activity is 100% raw- REAL. I began with one of the students reading the poem aloud to the class. We then went on to analyze it and explain how the lines and phrases contribute to the overall meaning of the poem. I again warned the students that we were going to listen/watch a YouTube video that was 100% raw- REAL. I told them that it does show bodies hanging from a tree. I gave all students an out -- or an opportunity to look away or put their heads down and just listen.
After a listening/watching, we had a brief discussion about the video. I expected a moment of silence afterwards (which happened). It’s a deep topic to explore. I then gave the task after our class discussion.
I had students create a 3 stanza poem that highlights the struggles that Blacks face or faced in this country. They used the poem that we read as a mentor text. Because this is such powerful and moving activity, if they did not follow exactly how the poem was written, I was fine with that. Let me tell you, the students came up with some great pieces of writing. They talked about various topics ranging from slavery to Trayvon Martin to “White Privilege.” So much can come out of this single activity.
With all activities, there is always room for improvement. Some questions I've reflected on:
1) Could this activity work in a regular English class?
2) Does this activity only fit in the month of February?
3) Could this activity create the same results if I took out the video?
4) What ways can this activity improve?
Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!
Rachelle Green is an English teacher at Spring Mills High School in Martinsburg, WV. She currently teaches tenth grade English and Creative Writing. She is in her second year of teaching, she says she still has much to learn. :-)
Rachelle is a member of WVCTE and hopes to hear back from YOU!
It seems like some of my best lessons and most successful classroom activties strike at times when I'm less concerned about a perfect and tidy plan and more focused on student needs and engagement. It seems simple and obvious enough, but adjusting my "work barometer" is something I'm always trying to finetune.
Last week my AP Literature students worked hard at reading, interpreting, and analyzing poetry. It was the kind of week that felt like a great workout -- challenging and a little uncomfortable, but valuable and motivating because you're getting leaner and stronger.
Each day, we took on a new poem. To kick of the new year, we studied a beautiful poem called "At the New Year" by Kennth Patchen. We then went "down the vista of [our own] years" with D.H. Lawrence's "The Piano." And after several student requests for "animal poems" (they're cool kids, what can I say?) we took a look at the wonderful and Zen "Golden Retrievals" by Mark Doty and the fiercely self-aware hawk of "Hawk Roosting" by Ted Hughes.
By the end of the week, students' increasing confidence in poetry analysis was palpable. So on a welcome 2-hour delay Friday morning, I thought it best we hit the brakes and play for a day.
Here's what we did.
I asked students to create a structure or sculpture that extended, supported, or highlighted an INSIGHT they had about ONE of the poems they studied during the week.
The goal was for students to revisit, re-read, and deepen their understanding of one of the poems from class and to use manipulaitves and play as "a way in" to their insights, interpretations, and analysis.
After that, we broke out the hand sanitizer and a big bucket of toys and got to work.
Here are some highlights of student work:
After time was up and all students had completed the task, I asked students to complete a Quickwrite Journal explaining and unpacking their thinking and choices in creating their structures or sculptures. Some questions I asked:
Besides the excited and bubbling "This is so fun!" from students, the best part of this purposeful play: Students were invested in learning and discovering more about the texts -- I heard thoughtful conversations and read thoughtful commentary about the poetry we studied. So...
WVCTE is wondering...
What does purposeful play look like in your classrooms? Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!
Karla Hilliard teaches STEAM Academy Honors English 10 and AP Literature and Composition at Spring Mills High School in Martinsburg, WV. She's a contributing writer on www.movingwriters.org and a teaching fellow with Collaborative for Student Success. When Karla isn't teaching, you can find her hanging with her husband and two little girls.
Karla serves as Executive Vice President and Head of of Secondary Affairs for WVCTE. See what's happening in her classroom at www.hilliardsclass.com or connect with her on Twitter @karlahilliard.
By Jennifer Unger
Confucius stated, "Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without." Who am I to argue with this great philosopher? As a teacher of English, I have always used music when I teach poetry. I always start the unit by asking, "Who likes poetry?" There are always a few hands in the air (mostly girls who compose their own love poetry to their current crush). I then ask, "Who likes music?" Amazingly, almost all hands are voraciously waving and wanting to share their favorite artists and titles. Then I hit them with the realization that music is indeed poetry, so those who love music, love poetry. I go over the poetry devices and show them a slide show of examples in songs. As a first assignment, I ask them to bring in the lyrics to one of their favorite songs (school appropriate, of course). In pairs they are given a list of poetry terms and definitions. They are then to annotate the song identifying at least five devices in their pieces. We continue to use music as we work through the poetry unit. They will look at a narrative poem and a narrative song (such as Hazard by Richard Marx- I try to use songs from my heyday) in order to find voice and other commonalities. They also find a poem and a song that share the same theme (e.g. Finding strength from within) and create a digital project explaining how both works support the theme using text evidence and images.
Poetry lessons are perfect connections with music, but after spending most of my hall duty saying, "Take your headphones off, please," I recognized that students spend so much time listening to music, and I hate to quash the things they are passionate about, so I have been using it more and more in my other units. Some of the examples in which I have used music are:
These are just some of the ways I have taken their love of one form of art and connected it to another form. I have had such luck and love with these assignments. Students take great care in their work and the other students enjoy listening. It doesn't seem all that amazing that these lessons work. People from the beginning of time have turned to music as a way to celebrate, teach, relax, and praise.
"Where words fail, music speaks."- Hans Christian Anderson.
WVCTE is wondering...
Is music part of your class? What creative ways do you connect students' love of music with literature? Would these activities work with your classes? Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!
Jennifer C. Unger teaches English 10 inclusion, English 10 Honors, Speech and Broadcast Journalism at Spring Mills High School in Berkeley County, WV. This is her 17th year of teaching. She values being able to teach her students new ideas and introduce works of literature for them to dissect. Her favorite part of the job, though, is learning new things from her students. Her favorite parts of life are her daughters, Kylie and Katie. She is treasurer of the newly formed WVCTE.
Our students live in a world saturated with images. The modern era of television, film, commercials, YouTube, Instagram, and infographics have made it necessary to make visual literacy and visual rhetoric and integral part of our ELA classrooms. And why not? The skills needed to analyze a political cartoon or artwork translate very well language analysis. An artist creates mood with color; a writer creates mood with adjectives. Is there a single figure in the frame? Is there a single idea being expressed in the text? Connecting these skill sets not only prepares our students to enter into a world that will inundate them with visual media, but also makes them stronger readers and writers.
In my own classroom, I try to incorporate a visual component into every lesson, but my favorite visual literacy lesson combines poetry, argument, analysis, and two American treasures, Edward Hopper and Joyce Carol Oates.
This lesson usually happens well into the school year, after we have laid a foundation for writing and making and supporting claims. I start by asking my students if art “can make an argument.” Student responses here will vary. A lot of students generally say “no”, but a few will say “yes”, and may reference political cartoons, or if they’re really hip, graffiti artists like Banksy.
At this point I allow about 10-15 minutes of Socratic style discussion exploring ways that art can be “argument.” I try to lead my students into a conversation that connects author’s purpose to artist’s purpose. Then, I generally provide a few quick examples of photographers or artists who are making a clear claim about something. The iconic "Migrant Mother" photo below is a good example for this early discussion. Most students are familiar with both the photo and its context, and so it’s usually easy to make and then to identify the claims this photographer is making.
After this discussion, I display this painting by American painter, Edward Hopper.
I set a timer for 5 minutes, and the students are to write down as many observations and/or inferences about the painting as they can. When the timer dings, I then tell them that the name of the painting is Nighthawks and it was painted in 1942. I give them another minute or two here to add to or clarify any of their observations.
Students are then put in groups of 3 or 4. They have 15 minutes to share their observations and/or inferences, and decide as a group what claim(s) the artist is making. I usually leave the painting up during this time.
When time is up, each group must share what conclusions they came to about the painting’s claim(s), and support this with evidence from the “text” (the painting).
This introduction to the lesson usually 1-2 class days.
The next day, I pass out copies of the poem “Nighthawks, 1942” by Joyce Carol Oates. Below is the full text of the poem.
This poem is rich with imagery and figurative language. We read it together, and after we analyze the language effects, I ask the students if Oates has accurately analyzed the painting. Because essentially that is what her poem is—an analysis of Hopper’s artwork. Now, at this point most of our students have been trained to think about analytical writing as only essays and articles. The idea that analysis of a text or artwork can appear in the form of a poem, that you can make a claim about a work in poem form, appeals to them, especially the creative writers.
What comes next is the coolest part. I give them a handout of other Hopper paintings. (See the slideshow below.) I use Hopper, not only because of the pairing of Nighthawks with the Oates poem, but because many of Hopper’s paintings are these beautiful, captured moments of time in which Hopper is making a clear claim about humanity, relationships, or the America of the 1940s and 50s.
Students then have an exercise in imitation. They have to pick one of the Hopper paintings in the handout, and write a poem that analyzes the painting in the same way Oates analyzes Nighthawks. Their poem of analysis must be of comparable length to Oates’ poem, and they must imitate Joyce Carol Oates’ style, form, and language effects. I generally give them 2-3 “imitation goals” as well.
For example in her poem, Oates references the female figure’s “pouty lip-sticked mouth.” We would have identified and discussed the adjectivalization of the word “lip-stick,” and one of their tasks in their own poems would be to make a noun that is not normally an adjective, an adjective.
This poetry writing part of the lesson can be done in a day or in several days. I then have students share their poems in a Poetry Coffee House session. We have hot cocoa and cookies, I play music from the 40s and 50s, and as each student shares his or her poem, I project the painting the poem is analyzing on the board behind the student as he or she shares.
It is by far one of the students’ favorite lessons of the year. And it’s one of my favorites because I get to show my students the connections between so many important skills: visual literacy, making clear claims, analysis, poetry, and critical thinking.
This lesson is also the “kick-off” to their first research essay in which students pick a piece of art housed at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. that they think is presenting an argument, and write their first formal research essay. In their research essays, students must present the argument they think the artist is making in the painting or photograph, then support this “claim about claim” with research and their own analysis. This also provides my students with an opportunity to spend the day in the National Gallery of Art. (And who doesn’t like a field trip, right?)
So WVCTE is wondering…
What types of visual literacy lessons do you use in your classroom? How do you connect visual literacy and visual rhetoric to writing? And how can you use and adapt this lesson for your own classroom?
Jessica Salfia teaches AP English, English 11, Mythology, and Creative Writing at Spring Mills High School in Berkeley County, WV and also serves as an adjunct professor at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. Jessica is the President of WVCTE, an author, a poet, and was selected as the 2016 Berkeley County Teacher of the Year. When she's not teaching, writing, or rescuing shelter dogs, Jessica is probably with her three lovely children and husband at a baseball game. You can check out what Jessica is doing in her classroom by visiting www.salfiaenglishclass.weebly.com, or by following her on Twitter, @jessica_salfia.
by Dr. Louise McDonald
I teach middle school, which means I teach some students who are ready for college and others whose reading got stuck in fourth or fifth grade and who need a good reason to move forward. “Tricks and tips” then, from middle school teachers, have to be taken with a grain of salt—they work some of the time with some of the students. Anticipating what will work without experimenting is an inexact science.
Discussions of Common Core have often focused on non-fiction texts, but literary source material is also excellent for teaching many of the skills outlined in the core.
Poetry for middle school
I taught at a university for many years and used to have a great time teaching poetry, but when I reached middle school I hesitated to do more with poetry than basically treating it like any other complex text to decode.
One of the easiest ways for the students to access poetry is through lyrics. They know lyrics, learn lyrics, and value them already. I really like Paul Gallipeau’s lesson as an introduction to rap as poetry. It can be found here: http://www.paulcarl.com/teaching-poetry-through-rap/ . He brings literary language to rap music as tools that can then be carried on to use with more canonical work.
His lesson plan can be downloaded from the site above, but before you do, pause in the middle of Paul’s blog or watch below Alkala’s TED talk on rap and Shakespeare; which connects Shakespeare, which students often read as inaccessible, to hip hop, in convincing and joyful ways.
Once you convince students to read poetry as well as listen to it, they are ready to take some poems in as friends. I cast about for methods for putting together a whole essay using the literary language, until I found this video from Isabella Wallace somewhere in Australia.
The kids have a great time with Ms. Wallace’s accent and her wayward hairdo and they don’t seem to worry too much that her target audience is older than middle school. They are very intimidated by poetry and like a tangible technique. I have them bring in lyrics from their favorite songs to practice the method before we go on to literary canon.
Performance is another great way to approach poetry in middle school. I have the students pick among poems that I select in a variety of levels and perform for the class. It is useful to learn some poetry yourself to perform, and there are great poetry slams on youtube. One of my favorite performances is by the Canadian poet Shane Koyczan. It inspired a number of students to perform this poem themselves! This is even more remarkable when you see the poem: it has more than 100 lines!
Once the students have analyzed poetry and performed it, I ask them to write some. Of course, they are happier and more successful if they take another work as a model. Maya Angelou has a number of poems that make great models and I guide their writing by asking them to write poems about tangible things at first. The first poem I assign is about someone who is important to them, the second about something they like to do, and the third about the kind of person they want to be. Strangely, these were their favorite assignments of the whole year, when the time came to evaluate at the end. They liked finding out that they “had something to say.”
One of the most important aspects of converting skeptical middle school students to poetry is to bring a lot of enthusiasm. They may laugh at your verve, but it gives them permission to feel the electricity of a good poem themselves.
If you feel the need for some inspiration, try the Academy of American Poets selection: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/anthology/popular-poems-teach
Reading poetry is different than reading prose and I find students are not confident, so it is an unlikely equalizer—which all by itself, is valuable in not only a middle school classroom, but any classroom!
WVCTE is wondering...
How do you approach poetry with your students? What poems work? What activities make poetry click? Leave us a comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!
Louise received a BA in political Science and International Relation from Carleton College and her PhD in Enlish/Composition, Rhetoric and Literacy. She taught at various universities until 2009, when she started teaching ELA at a middle school in Jefferson County. She finds middle school to be the perfect laboratory for learning about literacy and teaches some stuff there too!
Louise serves as Secretary and as a member of the Executive Committee of WVCTE.