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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Art of Poetry Review

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I have had my eye on The Art of Poetry from Classical Academic Press for awhile now. I've  just been waiting for my girls to get old enough to use it. When it came up for review on the TOS Crew I knew we wanted to try it, and it has exceeded my expectations by far.

We received the student edition, the teacher edition, and the DVD disc #1 covering chapters 1-2. I have been using this with my 6th & 7th grade daughters and I have been learning right along with them. I have never studied poetry and after flipping through the student book I was a little overwhelmed. There were questions for the poems that I didn't know & I wondered how I was going to get my girls to learn this. After looking through the teacher edition and seeing that every answer is explained in detail I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

This curriculum is recommended for grades 6 and up and covers:

  • The Elements of Poetry
    • Chapter One ~ Images
    • Chapter Two ~ Metaphor
    • Chapter Three ~ Symbols
    • Chapter Four ~ Words
    • Chapter Five ~ Sound and More Sound
    • Chapter Six ~ Rhythm
    • Chapter Seven ~ Shape: Stanza and Line
    • Chapter Eight ~ Tone: Putting It All Together
  • The Formal History of Poetry
    • Chapter Nine ~ History of Form, Movements, Genres
    • Chapter Ten ~ Verse Form
    • Chapter Eleven ~ Shaping Forms
    • Chapter Twelve ~ Emily Dickinson: A Case Study in Form
    • Chapter Thirteen ~ Open Verse
    • Chapter Fourteen ~ Walt Whitman: A Case Study in Open Verse
    • Chapter Fifteen ~ Narrative Poems: An Anthology
  • Application
    • Chapter 16 ~ Growing Your Interest

The Art of Poetry Student Edition is a 268 paper bound book and can be purchased for $24.95. Each chapter starts with a very informative lesson on what is being looked for within the poems, and it can be read by the teacher or student. Right after the lesson portion is Learning To Read Closely. Here we are given a poem with a detailed explanation of what we are looking for within the poem. Next we are given a group of poems with a few questions to answer. A set of activities and vocabulary words are included at the end of each chapter. The appendix contains Short Biographies of Poets In the Book, A Simplified Plan: Poetry in the Classroom or at Home, Glossary of Terms, and an Index of Authors and Titles.

The Art of Poetry Teacher Edition contains 313 pages and can be purchased for $29.95. It includes everything from the student edition as well as an Introduction to the Teacher, Poetry Timeline, and Quizzes with answers. After each chapter there is the Explications and Answers for each poem.

The Art of Poetry DVD set is currently $89.99, but will be lowered to $69.95 as of April 1, 2013. It contains over fifteen hours of the author teaching the entire book to four eighth grade students, this is essentially a "teacher in a box". We get to see the author go over each chapter with the students and listen to their discussions. She also demonstrates the activities found at the end of each chapter.

We watched the DVD with the first two chapters, but starting with chapter 3 I read it to my girls. We actually enjoyed reading and discussing the information on our own. It gave us more opportunity to discuss things ourselves, but we were glad we had the first two chapters to kinda figure out how things should go. Christine Perrin is a wonderful teacher & her love of poetry really shows in the DVD classroom.

Delaney is my 6th grader & she really had an attitude about using this course when we first started. I told her she didn't have to work with us for the review, but could use it in a couple of years. After seeing how much Amber & I were enjoying this curriculum she changed her mind & joined us.

The teacher prep was very minimal & if you use the DVDs with an older student they could complete it on their own. Before our class I read through the lesson & the first poem with the explanation in the Learning To Read Closely section. Immediately before we read the poem together I would read it & the answers to the questions, so I could help my girls when needed. While we were working through this I found myself wishing the answers to the poems were included on the same page as the poem instead of the back of the lesson. The Teacher's Edition is a must for me, there is no way I could teach this class without it.

The student book is not a workbook, so each of my girls set up a notebook for the questions and activities. The amount of time we spent each day differed according to how much we ended up discussing, and a lot of the information for the poems never ended up in our notebook. I read the lesson portion of the chapter to the girls first & then we took turns reading the poems. Since we haven't studied poetry extensively before I also wanted to work on our oral poetry reading, so some of the poems we all three read or one person would read the same one a couple of times.

The Learning to Read Closely section does such a good job walking us through the first poem of the chapter that my girls knew what they were suppose to look for. If there was something that they couldn't find I would help them along. I was more concerned with my girls learning about poetry than if they had the correct answer every time or not. We really enjoyed the selection of poems used. We read some that made us feel happy, some sad, and some of them made us laugh. I've noticed my girls picking out metaphors & symbols in their other readings. I'm planning on finishing the Elements of Poetry this semester and completing the Formal History of Poetry in the fall.
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The Student book, Teacher's Edition, and the DVD can be purchased separately or after April 1, 2013 you can purchase the entire set for $99.00

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