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Creating Found Poems Based on Current Events


Found in: Poetry, Language Arts and Literature, Current Events

Purpose and Audience: This formative task is suitable for students in 9th-11th grade and combines current cultural events (supporting standards Common Core Reading: Informational standards RI.9-10) with poetry that supports the Common Core’s Reading: Literature standards (RL Key Ideas and Details 9-10.1.-.2). This task introduces students to the National Writing Project’s literary technique of "found poetry" which takes exact words/phrases from other documents and showcases the words in another unique way, similar to an art collage made from a collection of photos or pictures. Students will create their own Found Poems while practicing Common Core-aligned informational reading for the purpose of recognizing deeper analysis using inference.

Time Commitment: 1-2 hours

Task: Create a unique Found Poem using words/phrases from current events articles

  1. Using online resources like Newsela.org, or print resources, such as the New York Times or local newspapers, ask students to find an article that is of interest to them, their lifestyle, or family.
  2. Students should read the article first, then go back and reread, using a highlighter to select meaningful words and phrases to use in their new poem.
  3. Using Microsoft Word or a Google Doc is the easiest and fastest way to move around the text and punctuation. As the teacher, you may want to assign a specific number of lines and/or stanzas for the new work.
  4. It's important to remind students that details from the article should be unique so that their audience will know specifics about the current event or cultural experience.
  5. Title the Found Poem with this example of attribution: Created by James Student w/ thanks to Chang-rae Lee’s Coming Home, Again.
  6. Now exchange the poems with art students to have the poems illustrated!
  7. Publish found poems and artwork in the school newspaper or create a classroom online literary page that can be updated monthly. Also, a classroom Gallery Walk is a great way to decorate the classroom.

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