Educators Smithsonian Education
The Music in Poetry
Getting Started

The lessons in this issue introduce students to the rhythms of poetry. The focus in on two poetic forms that originated as forms of song: the BALLAD stanza, found throughout British and American literature, and the BLUES stanzas of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. The exercises take poetry off the page and put it into terms of movement, physical space, and, finally, music.

This is the first Smithsonian in Your Classroom with a soundtrack. At a special web page, Smithsonian Folkways - Soundscapes, students can listen to musical ballads and blues from the catalog of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Download the Lesson Plan

Student Examples

Some examples of classes that completed the exercises in this lesson plan are:

Blues Poems
by North Kansas City High School Sophomores
North Kansas City, Missouri

Blues Poems
by Milwee Middle School
Longwood, Florida

Blues Poems
by Hillside School Second Graders
Hillside, Illinois

We welcome student poems at We'll post as many as we can here at this site.
Required Materials

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Smithsonian in Your Classroom

Smithsonian in Your Classroom is produced by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies. Teachers may duplicate the materials for educational purposes.

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