7th Grade
Language Arts and Literature
Multicultural Poetry
    During this part of the unit, you will be able to explore an area of poetry in a more in-depth fashion. You will be able to look into an area of poetry that is of interest to you as an individual, and therefore you will be working independently on this part of the unit.

I don't want the term "multicultural" to feel confining.  In fact, culture means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  A working definition of culture suggested by students in a class I took last summer was that culture is "a way of living" or "a system of shared beliefs, values, and actions among a common people".  Everyone has culture. You will explore an area of poetry that expresses the beliefs, values and actions among a common people.  Who these "common people" are is up to you.  You could study the poetry of 1800's England, poetry written in the last ten years by Native Americans, or poetry written during the Civil Rights movement by black Americans.  The possibilities are limitless.

There are three tasks you will be completing.
   1.  Selection of poetry

   2. Evaluating the poetry by answering a set of questions

   3.  Presenting a portion of what you learned to the class

Click here for evaluation criteria

Selection of Poetry
Eventually, you will be asked to focus in on a time period and culture.  But for right now, I would like you to just browse through some sites, and start to write down titles of poems and authors that you find interesting.  Of course, you can cut and paste these into a Word document if you wish.
 

Canadian Poets
http://www.library.utoronto.ca/canpoetry/index_poet.htm

Read poems written by contemporary (modern day) Canadians.

Our World of Poetry
http://www.poets.com/

A fabulous database for reading poetry from all over the world!
 

Poets from Cape Town and the Western Cape (South Africa)
http://www.uct.ac.za/projects/poetry/poetry.htm

Read poetry from South Africa.  (Scroll down and choose either A-K or L-Z).  Neat site!
(You might happen to click on a poet who doesn't write in English, just keep clicking and you will find many that do write in English!)

Giggle Poetry
http://www.gigglepoetry.com/
Yes, American kids do have culture!  It might be fun to try to figure out what system of shared beliefs, values and actions they have...

Indigenous Poetry
http://www.indians.org/welker/poetry1.htm

This is a large site, and it includes Aztec, Mayan, Navajo (Dine) poetry and much more.  It has some great links, as well as neat graphics.

African American Women Writers on the 19th Century
http://digilib.nypl.org/dynaweb/digs-p/@Generic__CollectionView;hf=0

This is a neat site! If you are confused how to navigate through it, PLEASE ASK.  It isn't hard, you just have to know what to click on!
 
A Time-Line of English Poetry 658-2000
http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/timeline.html

If you are interested in English culture, here is the site for you! All you have to do is click on different time periods in order to read English poetry from that time and culture!

Poetry From All Over   http://cmgm.stanford.edu/~ahmad/poetry.html (This link was included on editing page.)

This site has poetry from several different cultures/languages including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, and Greek.  (They have been translated into English.)  It also has the dates the poet was alive, so it can give you a historical perspective as well.

Of course, this is not an complete list of all culture groups!  If you have an idea of a culture group you would like to research that isn't represented above, you may explore beyond the sites above.  HOWEVER, YOU MUST TALK TO ME FIRST!

Once you have selected poems that particularly interest you, start your research on other poetry from that culture.  You are not limited to the poetry "listed" under the cultural group on one web site.  You may combine your findings from several different web sites.

Your goal will be to get eight-ten examples of poetry from one culture group.  Make sure to select poems by several different poets.  Try to pick poetry that says something to you.  Don't try to rush through this activity and cut and paste eight poems that you find meaningless.  You might want to read the list of questions below to get an idea of how you will be thinking about your poems.

Questions

After you have gathered your poems, I want you to answer the following questions about the group you have selected.

1.  What themes have you found in the poetry?  List them and then give a SPECIFIC explanation of why you feel it is a theme.

2.  Are there any beliefs or values that you have found that are consistent within the poems?  If yes, explain.  If no, describe what you feel are two beliefs or values that are in conflict with each other.  (Answer both if your answer is yes and no.)

3.  In what ways do you relate to the messages in the poems?  OR--Have you ever felt the same way as the poet?  Explain.

4.  What did you learn about the culture group from your readings?

Presenting
The final task for this part of the unit is to share your findings with the class.  You will be giving a short presentation of about 2-3 minutes.  In this presentation you should include:

  1.  The culture group and time period that your poetry comes from.

  2.  A reading of 2-3 poems.  Make sure you include the poet's name and title.

  3.  Explain how you could relate to the message in the poem(s).
OR what you learned about the culture group from your readings.

 

You will be evaluated based on the following:
 
 
Poor 
No attempt
Below Average
Slight Attempt
Satisfactory
 
Above Average 
Met All Criteria
Excellent
Exceeded Expectations
Did the student turn in 8-10 poems?
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Complete answer to question 1
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Complete answer to question 2
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Complete answer to question 3
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Did the student present to the class?
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Was the student prepared for the presentation?
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Did the student include all three parts in his/her presentation?
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Did the student observe good standards for public speaking. 
(didn't mumble, not monotone, etc.)
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 to Main Poetry Page