The theme for 2019 is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.”
What an opportune time to feature the writing of females and to encourage students who are doing research projects to choose women as their subjects. Consider making this an international project and invite students to look at the contributions of women in all fields of endeavor from all around the globe. How about recommending research projects on women in the career fields the students are considering, especially those in careers the students are considering for themselves. Or, a woman of the same ethnic heritage as the student. Add photos and post your own gallery of women. Okay to have students write about female family members, too.
Consider projecting this image and ask students to write their choice of poem described here on this post.
One of my favorite ways to challenge students to explore and expand their poetry repertoire is to assign them to pattern a published poem or use a traditional structure like the sonnet, limerick, haiku, or pantoum.
After doing their research, your students could weave what they’ve learned into an ode or epic, a lyrical poem, or one of those biographical poems or “I Am From” poems they probably experimented with in elementary school, BUT, in the persona of the woman the students have learned about in their research. Okay to write in pairs, triads or small groups. The goal is to learn and share.
If your students are ready or it fits your curriculum to teach journalistic writing, you could have them write newspaper columns about these women, or persuasive essays pleading the case for their featured women who may not yet have been inducted into the Hall of Fame!
Of course, each of these assignments can be designed to be multi-genre and small group projects give students an opportunity to practice the range of skills your teaching this school year.
What may be fun for some students is to use what they learn about a phenomenal woman and write three different kinds about poems about her: a limerick, a pantoum, and a ballad, or a combination of their choice. It would interesting to see what personality traits, incidents or memories about the women the students choose for each poetic structure.