The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress Celebrates its 75th Anniversary this month!

“Give up sitting dutifully at your desk. 


     Leave your house or apartment. 


          Go out into the world.”


               ~Ron Koertge

This is just one of the many poets who are currently featured at the Library of Congress.  

Poetry is a form of communication that is written to strengthen communal ties, to liberate people from sufferings, and to bind the human race.  If used properly, poetry has a very strong power to build up or tear down a person. 

 One way to interpret poetry is to view it as writing that uses beats to be inspiring and motivational to many through musical lyrics.  It will appeal to both sound and sight, beyond just the words.

Poetry can tell a story, describe an object, narrate an event, or simply express one’s feelings.  Poetry is characterized by linguistic elements that allow the poet to go beyond standard sentence structures, which is why some people find poetry difficult to understand.

If you love poetry or just want to know more about it, we recommend that you visit the Poetry and Literature Center in the Thomas Jefferson Building (in Washington, D.C.).

Interested on taking your class on a virtual tour of the Center or listening to Poets?  For more information visit: www.loc.gov/poetry/



Below are a few lesson plans found on our TPS-GSU website on the topic of Poetry:

Early America– This lesson conveys different aspects of the Colonial period using learning stations and primary source documents which contain pictures, music, poetry, and video.

Pulitzer Prize Winners in African American Literature– An in-depth critical exploration of selected Pulitzer Prize winning works in African American drama, poetry, and fiction.

Presidential Poets, Then & Now– Student will be exposed to poetry that was influenced or inspired by Presidents of the past and present. 


APRIL FEATURE TEACHER INTERVIEW:  Gayle Greenwald and Pamela Peters

Gayle Greenwald - Pamela Peters

Gayle Greenwald (on the right)
Pamela Peters (on the left)

This month, we focus on two educators whose talent and love for collaborative teaching really stands out:

  1. When did you take the graduate course, Digital Primary Sources, at GSU, and what lesson plan did you design?GAYLE:  I took the Grad Course in the Fall of 2012.  The lesson plan I designed is:
    Primary Sources Through the Eyes of a Mockingbird.  Eighth grade lesson that incorporates primary sources as a pre-reading activity for “To Kill a Mockingbird” (book).  I also completed Level I & II Workshops, Digital Storytelling, and certification in the TPS-GSU Coaches Academy.  PAM:  I participated in Level I Workshop, and completed Level II and Digital Storytelling Workshops. (Lesson plans described in question #2)
  2. Please tell us how you implemented these lesson plans in your classroom. GAYLE & PAM:  The lesson plans that we designed collaboratively from these workshops include (a) Farewell to Manzaner (using Level I Training) which gives students a clear and comprehensive image of what they are about to read, so they can experience the book coming alive.  Also, by providing the students prior knowledge, they can better develop empathy for the characters in the Japanese/American internment camp;  (b) Digital Storytelling: The Holocaust (for 8th graders). The book Night, by Elie Wiesel, provided students an annotated bibliography.  The students located music and told the story based on one of the characters perspective.  This is being presented to the School Board this month (April 9th) – see below in question #6 for more details on that achievement; and (c) Sounds Poems: Veterans Day, which required 7th or 8th grade students to write a poem, and honors students to write a sonnet.  The students researched the Library of Congress website for interviews of Veterans from World War I, World War II, the Korean, Vietnam or Iraq wars.  When something struck a chord for the student, they wrote phrases to create a “sound poem” based on the instructions given by the Library of Congress.  They also selected primary sources to illustrate their poem, which then was expanded into a Digital Storytelling project combining the various mediums.
  3. What has brought you the most value from TPS-GSU Professional Development Programs? GAYLE: My goal was to learn to navigate the Library of Congress site and be able to use it myself better and share it with other teachers (as a resource teacher), and I’ve done things with 4th grade students.  I’m pretty pleased with that ;-) PAM:  I’ve benefited by being able to understand and know that there is this wealth – plethora of resources – offered by the Library of Congress, and achieving that goal was great!  It’s made me a better teacher, and I always like the opportunity to improve my craft.  This program is not only meaningful, but also empowering.  I remember a lesson on Captain, My Captain (presented by Carol Meyer, TPS-GSU Trainer) that moved me to tears!  I just loved how she taught me to use poetry as a primary source.  It was empowering and made me a better teacher.  When you have these opportunities to learn and improve, as educators we need to take advantage of the program at TPS-GSU.  GAYLE & PAM:  We want to add how much we appreciate Doc Brown and all the trainers in the TPS-GSU Team!
  4. What inspired you to want to become an educator?  GAYLE:  Love of learning, working with people, and being part of teams … I really love collaborative teaching!  PAM:  To make a difference in someone’s life is really the bottom line for me.  To know that, as an educator, I have the ability to help someone learn how to write … that is so powerful and I hope I help  students so they don’t have to struggle like I did.  I can prepare them to have a great future if I can help them do well in school, so they can choose their own career rather than a job “choosing them.”
  5. What do you enjoy most about being a teacher now? GAYLE:  The collaborative atmosphere where learning new ideas is encouraged and possible.  We learn from students as much as they learn from us.  I like seeing the look on a student’s face when they have an epiphany, and I love building on each others ideas.  They turn our light bulb on, too!  PAM:  For me, teaching gives my life meaning.  I have a lot of good friends who I work with here at school, and I love using them for a sounding board.  We love reading and writing, and it’s nice to talk about teaching and other parts of our lives … so, I love teaching because of the people I work with.
  6. Are there any recent achievements you would like to tell us about?  GAYLE & PAM:  The Board meeting this week with the Holocaust Project (Lesson plan described in question #2).  We will present this as a collaborative team on April 8th, utilizing two classroom teachers, a music teacher, a tech director, and a gifted resource and special ed teacher. It was really fun branching out with all the teachers in the Junior High.  They were really engaged and thrilled to be able to do something in a new way that they’ve been doing for years.  It was quite powerful.
  7. Please tell me about yourself and your family.  GAYLE:  I have a great husband, four fabulous children, one terrific dog, one wonderful grand-dog, and three frisky grand-cats.  My undergrad degree is from Roosevelt University in Chicago.  My first Masters, Special Education -Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities, is from Northeastern University.  My second Masters is from Governors State University as a Reading Specialist.  I also have 36 hours in Gifted Education from Aurora University.  PAM:  I have a wonderful son who is a sophomore in college, and two Jack Russell Terriers.  I have a Masters in English from Olivet-Nazarene University, and my undergrad is from there as well.  I am also Gifted Verified.


LEVEL I:  Teaching with Primary Sources - April 5 (9:00am to 3:30pm)

LEVEL II:  Teaching with Primary Sources - April 26 & May 3 (9:00am to 3:30pm)

New Summer Dates for our Graduate Course

EDUC 7212:  June 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24 & 25 (9:00am to 4:00pm)

COACHES ACADEMY! Intro Meeting: May 27th  (evening)

Coaches Training Dates: July 14, 15, 16 & 17 (9:00am to 4:00 pm)


QUESTIONS? CALL US  (708-235-7577)

OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE:  http://tps.govst.edu/

COMING SOON … Online Training … Fall 2014!