“Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower, but only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf, so Eden sank to grief. So dawn goes down to day, nothing gold can stay.”
That is the only bit of poetry I have ever been able to memorize. It is a poem by Robert Frost titled “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” and I read it when I was in eighth grade in Mrs. Milton’s English class. Why have I remembered it all of these years? I really couldn’t say. It might be because I read it as a passage in the book, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and I found it fitting and descriptive of the story at the time. Plus, we spent weeks memorizing it and reciting those short eight lines of verse in class. April is National Poetry and National Humor Month. Today, let’s take a look at what poetry and laughter have to offer in educational settings.
Reading poetry is simple enough, but trying to understand the meaning
behind the rhymes and carefully counted syllables is another task
entirely. Fortunately our partners at Thinkfinity.org have numerous
resources on poetry and humorous poetry teaching methods in the
classroom. Below, I highlight some of these resources and add my own
ideas for how geography can be incorporated into studying poetry and
One of the teaching resources Thinkfinity provides relates to different
types and styles of poems. You could use this resource to integrate
geography into a poetry lesson by having students write a diamante or
other type of poem to compare two places such as the United States and
Turkey or to describe one central location such as the Rocky Mountains.
Students would have to use specific forms of speech such as nouns,
adjectives, and gerunds to write the poem in the correct format.
I am not sure that you can specifically attribute laughter or humor to
geography, but you could certainly study humorous pieces of work and
analyze them from a geographic perspective. For example, when studying
Mark Twain’s poem “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” ask
students to research if there really was a Calaveras County and if the
way Twain described it in the poem is true to how that location was in
May the month of April bring smiles, laughter, and learning to your classroom!
Becky for My Wonderful World
Photos courtesy of My Shot Your Shot:
First photo: Jelena Imshenetsky
Second photo: Julius Koivistoinen