Writing New Types of Poetry in the Classroom: Exploring The letter poem
By: Yazmin Méndez
Maya West Writing Project
Myname is Yazmin Méndez. I have a BA in
Teaching English as a Second Language in the
Secondary Level with Multimedia Technology
Currently I am studying my MAEE in UPR-
I have been a teacher of English in the secondary
level for two years.
My first year I started teaching English in a private
Accepted a position as “Maestra de Apoyo” at Manuel
García Pérez High School in Rincón. Here I assisted
low proficient students from grades 10th, 11th and
In November, I accepted a position as 7th grade
teacher in the Jorge Seda Crespo Junior High School,
but after a situation I ended up team teaching 8th
grade with one of the teachers that has influenced
me the most. This experience was really enriching for
me because I got to learn from an experienced
teacher, how I could engage my students to learn
using whatever was at hand.
•S.U. Epifanio Estrada School
•September- April 15, 2009.
The first semester I did not
have a classroom which was
very difficult for me. The
second semester I took a little
Here I was happy, I had no one
around me and I could do many
activities. It was great!
This school is located in the rural
area of Aguada (Jagüey chiquito)
Peaceful community with support
and participation of the parents
and a good administration.
The teachers in the school were
all very competent teachers and
committed to their work.
The students were very
competent and most of them
responsible as well.
My teaching is grounded in the following theories:
Pragmatism, Existentialism, Marxism and Reconstructionism.
“The teacher is no longer one who teaches but one who is
himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn
while being taught also teach.” (Freire)
In my classroom, students are the center of education,
that is to say, a space is facilitated for them, in which
they have the opportunity to reflect on what they know,
believe and think, and are an active part of the teaching-
learning process. As a result, the relationship between
teacher and students is a horizontal one in which they
explore knowledge together and in which the act of
learning is reciprocal.
“The school must be a model in miniature of society.” “Students
cannot be taught what they need to know, but they can be
My vision is that my students improve their writing skills so hopefully
they can use writing as a powerful tool of communication and as a
way of acting upon what happens in our society.
“Authentic liberation-the process of humanization-is not another
deposit to be made in men. Liberation is praxis: the action and
reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform
My mission is to let my students know that writing is a vehicle to
communicate what we feel, to inform what happens in our
communities and countries and to try to contribute in transforming
and changing the world around us. I am a teacher who socializes
students into the world, make them view that writing gives power in
our own communities and abroad, and that writing can offer
possibilities for change.
“Men need to transcend the world, and the world needs to
be transcended and utilized by men.”(Heidegger)
“Men creates himself by the creative act of his
Also, make them realize that writing liberates us from
ignorance and helps us to be aware of the situations that
happen around the world. In addition, writing helps us to
create bonds, remember events and experiences and
advice other people. Moreover, it is an excellent way of
expressing our thoughts, emotions, feelings and liberating
ourselves from angers, deceptions problems.
“For the dialogical, problem-posing teacher-student, the
program content of education is neither a gift nor an
imposition—bits of information to be deposited in the
students—but rather the organized, systematized, and
developed “re-presentation” to individuals of the things
about which they want to know more.” (Freire)
I believe that as a teacher it is my responsibility to exploit
the creative potential of my students and that through
writing about what they know and want to write about and
other mediums I can accomplish it.
“Cognitive experiences have their origins in social
relationships and are immersed in a sociocultural
learning Individual work
Art and Crafts Reading-Writing
Guided reading Connection
Reading Buddies Reader´s Response
Solving Problems Thematic units
types of genres
In an ordinary day in my class, the first ten minutes
are dedicated to reflect by using a “Thought of the
Day” or engaging in a dialogue about something that
happened the previous day.
Guided by the teacher the students summarize the
previous class and are introduced to the new
concepts or skills of the day.
The students read or work on practices exercises to
apply what they have learned and assess their
strengths and weaknesses.
The teacher and students discuss the exercises or
share their work. The students express their final
thoughts about what has been studied and also the
doubts or concerns that they may still have about it.
The use of writing poetry in the classroom can change
student’s confidence and way of thinking. (Linaberger,
I Have discovered especially in recent years that my
students are genuinly intrigued by the ideas as well as the
forms of poetry even if they have had limited experience
with reading poems. ( Carol Clark)
The value of presenting poetry with a range of poems is
self-evident. Because moving from reading and recognition
of ideas to expressing one’s own thoughts is a natural
process, reading poetry can enrich a student’s particular
cultural experience. (Carol Clark, Educators Publishing
Teacher: Yazmin Méndez
The students will explore the genre of poetry
Topic: The Letter Poem and of the letter by writing five
Standards: Writing characteristics or ideas of poems and five of
8.4: The Student uses poetry elements and
imagery to develop and write different Development:
styles of poetry. The teacher will define what is a poem and
Objectives (S): After exploring the concept of its characteristics.
poetry and letter and discussing the The teacher and the students will explore
concept and format of a letter poem the what is a letter poem and what are its
students will: qualities and characteristics.
Use a step by step handout to write their
The teacher will read and example of a
own letter poem. letter poem and will share her own letter
Use the elements of poetry and imagery to poem.
develop their letter poem. The students will write their own letter
Draw pictures related to the poem around poem by using a step by step guide provided
it. by the teacher.
Materials: The students will draw pictures related to
their poem around it.
Volunteer students will share their letter poems.
Color pencils or crayons
A poem is a very personal form of writing in
which you share a specific thought, feeling, or
experience in a special way.
Poems are written in lines and stanzas.
Poets create word pictures using sensory details
or comparing different things.
Also they arrange words to stand out certain
sounds by repeating certain consonant and vowel
sounds to help make their poems pleasing to the
Other times poems use free verse which does not
follow a specific form and does not have to
A Letter Poem is like a letter but shaped into
a poem. Like letters themselves they start
with a greeting and end with a signing.
The main qualities of the letter poems come
from who the letter is addressed to and who
signs it. Also the relationship between the
writer and the receiver.
In a letter poem you are not writing to make
plans, or to exchange news or ask something.
You are writing to say something interesting
and to say it in a not-prose way.
Dear Polluted Lake,
I see you struggle each day
Trying to push filth away;
Pushing bloated fish towards shore
Not wanting garbage dumped anymore!
Boats travel with empty brains at their wheel
As they toss cans and papers for your meal.
My dear friend, I miss our silent talks
Or those calming meditated walks.
I miss just sitting at your side
Soaking my feet while I confide
About all my worries and hopes and now
I have to wonder…
Is there any hope left for you?
Your worried friend
Dear Idealized Island, listening to “bombas” “danzas” and “plenas”
I want to feel “la nostalgia”
I have heard many good stories that the abuelas feel when
from the abuelas they think of you
about the enchantments and your gente
that you possess. When they think of the Christmas celebration
That your sun is bright with “Parrandas” accompanied with guiros and
That the breeze in your lands maracas, and the get-togethers “en familia”
caresses our skin like any other. I wonder if you desire to see me
That the sea “ruge” as hard as I desire to see you
As the “jíbaro” worked. I wonder if you recognize me
I wonder if those stories As your son
Are not mystified dreams of the abuelas As I recognize you
And if I will ever get to listen As “Mi Madre Patria.”
To the melody that “el canto del coqui” With my heart and soul
produces , or rest “en una hamaca” A so called,