By Lois E. Huffman, Ph.D.

No, that’s not a typo in the title. A “POWM” is a short poem that packs a punch! One example is “Helen Keller” by Langston Hughes.

Helen Keller

She,
In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.

She,
Within herself,
Found loveliness,

Through the soul’s own mastery.

And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power. 

                Langston Hughes

Hughes “pow”erfully reminds us that, like Helen Keller, we have the capacity to persevere amidst less-than-ideal life circumstances. In pushing onward despite our fears, we inspire others to do the same.

Do you or your students have a favorite POWM? Why does the poem impact you so? How do you share your POWMs with others?

April is National Poetry Month―an opportune time for promoting the beauty and power of poetry. Here are some articles and resources on poetry that may be useful:

PreK-Grade 2

Playing With Poetry in the Primary Grades

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/jennifer-solis-and-jennifer-boatwright/playing-poetry-primary-grades/

Grades 3-5

Poetry Lesson: How to Notice (Words, Structures, and Conventions)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opcwi6H3r5Q&list=PLWczxHIlAwrsi_S-9ZY-TF

Grades 6-8

Making Room for Poetry in the Common Core Era

https://www.middleweb.com/11694/making-room-poetry-common-core-era/

Taking Poetry Writing Into Digital Spaces

https://www.middleweb.com/22690/how-we-took-poetry-writing-into-digital-spaces/

Grades 9-12

Poetry Across the Curriculum (Poetry Pairings)

https://www.edutopia.org/article/poetry-across-curriculum-brett-vogelsinger

The Cure for Senioritis? Poetry!

https://www.choiceliteracy.com/articles-detail-view.php?id=1623  (RIP, Maya Angelou.)

All Grades

Five Poetry Tips

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/poetry-teaching-tips-new-teachers-lisa-dabbs

More sites and ideas are in Karyn Gloden’s 2015 NCRA Reading Corps post “April―National Poetry Month.”

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/chalkboard-games-clue-blackboard-718594/

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