Teach This Poem: "My Skeleton" by Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield's poem "My Skeleton" asks readers to pause and think about the amazing, often taken-for-granted structure that protects and gives form to human bodies. After observing the human skeleton's image, class members read the poem, paying careful attention to words and phrases that stand out to them. They watch Hirshfield's video reading her poem, retake notes, and then engage in a whole-class discussion using their notes and guided by the provided discussion questions.

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Instructional Ideas
  • To gain insight into the pedagogy used in the "Teach This Poem" series, instructors should read the teacher reference linked in the Included Materials section below
  • Check to see if the school has a skeleton you can borrow for the lesson
  • Invite a member of the science department to join the lesson
Classroom Considerations
  • The lesson is part of the Academy of American Poets "Teach This Poem" series
  • The resource includes step-by-step directions, a video of Hirshfield reading her poem, and discussion questions
  • Younger learners may need more scaffolding to recognize the metaphors in the poem