- Develop skills of noticing (seeing, hearing, and feeling) to learn about the manatee from a photo, from informational text, and from audio
- Make connections between what they notice and prior knowledge
- Ask their own questions
- Computer and projector or laptops and iPads for group instruction
Note: Depending on the technology capabilities in your classroom, students can work individually, in pairs, or in small groups (on a laptop or iPad), or as a large group with an image projected at the front of the room.
- Access to the National Geographic website photograph of a manatee
- Student writing notebooks
- Whiteboard or chart paper
- Markers for whiteboard or chart paper
Warm Up Whip Around: Go around the room asking your students what associations they have to the word "manatee."
Step 1: Tell your students they will be studying an excerpt from the poem "Manatee/Humanity" by Anne Waldman, in both performance and written form, as a prelude to writing and performing their own poems.
Step 2: Go to the National Geographic website photograph of a manatee.
Step 3: Ask your students to look at the photograph carefully and write down what they notice about the manatee. What do they see? Can they make any connections to other things they have seen or about which they have read? What questions do they have?
Step 4: Ask students to read the short description of manatees that is under the photograph. As they read, they should jot down important words that jump out at them, connections they have to prior knowledge, answers to some of their questions, and new questions that occur to them.
Step 5: Now ask your students to listen to the audio of the manatee on the page. The should jot down a description of what they hear. What connections can they make to these sounds? What new questions do they have?
Step 6: Conduct a large group discussion: What are their responses to what they have seen, read, and heard? What do they think/feel about the manatee now that they know these details?
Ask your students to keep a running list on the front board in your room of the words they have read and heard that they do not understand. You can either conduct a separate vocabulary lesson on these words where students try to figure out their meaning from context and connections, or go over vocabulary as you progress through the other activities.
- Did students engage with the photograph?
- Did students participate in group and class discussions?
Common Core State Standards/College and Career Anchor Standards
- Reading: Key Ideas and Details, 2; Craft and Structure, 4; Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, 7, 9
- Writing: Text Types and Purposes, 3; Production and Distribution of Writing, 5, 6
- Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration, 1, 2
- Language: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, 4, 5
- Interdisciplinary Connections: Science (Ecology, Environmental Issues)
Studying Other Poet Videos
You can adapt the above activities to viewing and reading any of the other poems in the Poet-to-Poet collection. Of course, you will have to change the poem-specific activities, such as the preparation photo, but the viewing and reading activities can be easily adapted.
Poets and Their Poems:
Juan Felipe Herrera, "Five Directions to My House"
Edward Hirsch, "Fast Break"
Jane Hirshfield, "My Skeleton"
Naomi Shihab Nye, "A Valentine for Ernest Mann"
Ron Padgett, "Nothing in that Drawer"
Arthur Sze, "The Owl"
Arthur Sze, "Here"