Standard Lesson

Latino Poetry Blog: Blogging as a Forum for Open Discussion

8 - 12
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Six 45-minute sessions
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In what way do culture, personal experiences, and history influence a poet's work? Students will answer this question as they read and discuss in an online blog a work by a Latino poet. In this multisession lesson, students choose a Latino poet and poem to analyze. Students use Internet resources to gather background information about the poet and integrate that research into an analysis of the poem's meaning, literary devices, and themes. After posting their analysis to a class blog, students then refine their writing skills as they respond meaningfully to their peers' poetry analyses. The act of blogging encourages students to think carefully about their responses and to use good writing techniques.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Technology is changing how young people read and write with words and images.

  • Today's online technologies have young people reading and writing far more than they were 20 years or even a decade ago.

  • As a consequence, students are gaining literacy experiences in issues of identity and audience that are far more complex than previous generations.


  • Teenagers are still reading and writing but many are doing so online.

  • Technology combined with literacy instruction is changing how literacy is taught; these skills will be necessary for our students in the 21st century.

  • A collaborative community was created through the use of technology-blogging in this case-which extended to families and soldiers overseas.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 9. Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access and print capabilities

  • Digital storage (blank CDs or a USB drive)




1. Create a blog by following the instructions at the Edublogs website. The class blog will need a name that does not have any identifying information about the school or its location (e.g., state, mascot). It should include a separate page for each student (use students' first names or aliases, initials, or numbers, but do not use students' full names); a page for the instructor (use your first name or an alias, initials, or a number, but do not use your full name); and a feedback page for students to post their comments about the project. Decide on a template you like. Please note: do not use photos of your students or any photos that identify the school.

2. Review the instructions on Edublogs on how to manage the blog once it is created. This includes how to release and delete posts. Create a password that will give you blog administrator privileges and set up the blog so that all posts will be sent to your e-mail. Each post will need to be released by you in order for students to see the posts. This allows you to screen for inappropriate posts or those coming from unwanted sources.

3. Bookmark the new class blog and the websites listed in the Web resources on your classroom computer or lab computers. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve time in your school's computer lab for Sessions 3, 4, and 5.

4. Obtain and review three to four of the Latino poetry books listed on the Recommended Booklist.

5. Complete a poetry analysis for a short poem that you have chosen for use during Sessions 2 and 5.

6. Post the Poetry Signup Sheet in a visible spot in the classroom.

7. Make one copy for each student of the following handouts: Blogging Information Sheet, Poetry Analysis Sheet, Research Tips, Blogging Instructions, Peer Analysis Sheet, Checklist with Comments Log, and Rubric for Latino Poetry Blog.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Learn how to appreciate and think critically about poetry by completing a poetry analysis

  • Increase exposure to Latino poetry by reading about and researching Latino poets

  • Practice research skills and increase their familiarity with databases and reference materials by researching biographical and cultural information on the poet of their choice

  • Refine writing skills through the act of writing their analyses, as well as by making thoughtful comments to peers' analyses and responding to comments made to their individual analysis

  • Understand the public nature of Internet communications by practicing proper blogging etiquette and safety

  • Use online blogging to extend their discussions beyond the physical school in order to communicate with a larger community

Session 1

1. Explain that the objective of this lesson is to generate an exchange of ideas about poetry between peers by using blogging as a medium. Explain to students that they will read and analyze a poem written by a Latino poet, research the poet's background to better understand the poem, and post the poem, along with their analysis, to a blog for discussion with other students.

2. Hand out the Blogging Information Sheet. For students who may be unfamiliar with blogs, discuss what they are and how they function. You might want to give examples of popular blogs to students (e.g., online newspapers, celebrity gossip, political, special interest). As an example, show students this CNN Business 360 blog. The emphasis of this portion of the session is to get students interested in blogging and make them aware of the advantages of using technology for communication.

3. Pass around the poetry books you have been able to obtain from the Recommended Booklist. Students should choose a poem and record their author and poem next to their name on the Poetry Signup Sheet to avoid duplication. More than one student can use the same poet but they should not use the same poem. For the remaining class time, they will begin to read the poems. If more than one student chooses a poem from the same book, they should copy their poem on a separate sheet of paper. At the end of the session, collect the books and store them for the next session.

Session 2

1. Explain to students that they will complete a poetry analysis. Discuss poetry as a genre, using a model poem as a basis for discussion. Use the following questions to generate class discussion
  • How do you think culture, history, and environment influence a poet's writings?

  • If writers represent their culture through the poetry, how do Latino poets express the Latino culture and the Latino perspective through their poetry? (Consider the use of language, especially the use of Spanish words, references to Latin/ Hispanic traditions.)

  • Are there universal themes in poetry that transcend culture, race, and age-such as love, death, families, duty, gender roles?

  • How will Latino poets represent these universal themes and will it be similar to or different from your own personal understanding of these themes?
2. Hand out the Poetry Analysis Sheet and review the worksheet (line by line if necessary). Emphasize to students that they may not be able to fill in each line of the Poetry Analysis Sheet (not all poems use the same devices) but that they should concentrate particularly on understanding the poem and its message. Explain to students that completing a poetry analysis will deepen their understanding of their poems. Use your own analysis as a model.

3. As students begin writing their analyses, circulate around the room to answer questions and assess students' progress. The emphasis of this portion of the lesson is for students to read poetry on a deeper level and to instruct them to look for certain elements.

Session 3

1. Take students to the class computer or your school computer lab and visit the bookmarked websites. Explain to students that they will begin to research their poet.

2. Hand out the Research Tips and use the handout to guide your discussion on how students should use information found on the Internet. Discuss with students the following five criteria used to evaluate a website
  • Authority

  • Accuracy

  • Objectivity

  • Currency

  • Coverage
Stress to students that they cannot assume information on the Internet is always true or free, and that original created works are the intellectual property of the person who created it. Even though many people make their information available for free on the Internet, they still need to be given credit as the creator of that work. Caution students to avoid plagiarism.

3. Encourage students to think about what they want to know about their poet. To guide students in their information gathering, use the following topics as a basis of discussion
  • Geography (living in a hot climate by the sea will create different experiences then living in a cold mountainous place)

  • Current events (growing up during a war, fighting in a war, political unrest)

  • Family structure (eldest who cares for siblings, living with relatives, poverty)

  • State of the economy (growing up during the depression, living in a poor country)
Explain to students that since poetry is a reflection of the poets' understanding or interpretation of an experience, their environment will influence their writing. For example, the poet Gary Soto grew up in Fresno, CA, and worked as a laborer. He's known for poems that describe the grim life of laborers in California's Central Valley.

4. As students begin their research and take notes on their poet to integrate into their poetry analyses, circulate around the room and answer questions.

Session 4

1. Use the first 20 minutes of this session for students to finish their analyses.

2. After they have completed their analyses, students should type their analyses and the poems on the classroom computers or lab computers. Emphasize that good language arts and technical skills (efficient typing, using production software such as Microsoft Word, incorporating spell check) are critical to successful public communication. Students should make sure to check their work for spelling and grammar. The analyses should be no more than a page.

3. Students should save their work on a CD or a USB drive so it can be uploaded later to the blog. Students should also print a hard copy of the analysis to hand in.

Session 5

1. Have students navigate to the bookmarked class blog and explore briefly. If the computer lab has an overhead projector, you can also use it to demonstrate the class blog. Review with students how they will log on, where they will post their analysis, and how they will comment on each other's posts. Post your sample analysis and create some comments as a model for students.

2. Hand out the Blogging Instructions to students and review it line by line if necessary. Emphasize the Internet safety and etiquette tips, especially the following
  • Do not share personal information

  • Be careful with whom you correspond

  • Use caution in what you say¡Xthe web is public
3. Have students navigate to the bookmarked class blog, log on, and post their analyses and poems. Circulate and answer questions as students work. At your workstation, log in to the blog as the administrator to monitor and release the posts.

4. When students have posted their analyses, encourage them to invite someone outside of the class to participate. Students can e-mail the blog's URL to parents or other family members. Make sure that when students invite participants from outside the school (parents, grandparents, other teachers), they include a note asking the participant not to share the blog's URL with anyone else. Alternately, you can send an email to other teachers and administrators in the school inviting them to participate.

Use this session to emphasize blogging as a means of communication that transcends location. Point out that people can participate regardless of where they are-such as enlisted parents overseas or grandparents in other states. Make the connection that technology has expanded our resources and reach and now we have access to information from almost anywhere and anyone.

Session 6

1. Hand out the Peer Analysis Sheet. Explain to students that they should comment on the posts of two other students that are listed below their name on the blog's main page. This is the minimum requirement. Students may communicate with anyone else invited to join the blog. Students must respond to all comments made to their post. Comments need to be meaningful. Comments such as "good job" or "I liked what you said" will not be accepted.

2. Explain to students that they should use the blog to "talk" to their peers about their own and others' analyses. Have students use the tips on the Peer Analysis Sheet to guide their posts. Ideally, intense discussions should develop from these poems and analyses.

During this portion of the session, remind students of the following basic etiquette rules of commenting
  • Respond to all comments made to your post; do not ignore any comments.

  • Be polite, choose your words carefully, and remember: no profanity, insults, or slurs.

  • Agree to disagree. Discuss why you disagree and respect that the other person sees things differently from you. There is no right or wrong interpretation, just different interpretations open to discussion.

  • Spelling, grammar and vocabulary count. Put your best work out there.

  • Make thoughtful comments that show that you have read and thought about the poem and analysis.
3. At your workstation, log in to the blog as the administrator to monitor and release the posts (from students and the public). Continue to monitor your administrator e-mail and review all posts before releasing them.

4. At the end of the session, ask students to give feedback on the "'Latino Poetry Blog - Blogging as a Forum for Open Discussion" project by leaving a comment on the feedback page you created. Students should also fill out the Checklist with Comments Log during this session. Students should print a hard copy of the analysis and the checklist and hand it in.


  • Invite the Spanish class to collaborate with your class. Have students choose a partner in the Spanish class and read the same poem chosen for this lesson in Spanish (if available). The partners can collaborate on one poetry analysis or comment on each other's analysis to discover if the poem has a different impact when read in the original language.

  • Team up with a specific class or send out an open invitation to another school or school district, such as the English or Spanish department at the local college, inviting students and teachers to exchange ideas on the poetry through the blog. The invitation can be local, national, or international.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Observe students as they post to the blog to note whether students adhere to the safety and etiquette guidelines when posting.

  • Use the Checklist with Comments Log that each student handed in to make sure students have thoughtfully commented on at least two or more posts.

  • Collect the analyses and review them to assess whether students include the following components: a reasonable interpretation about the symbolic or metaphorical meaning of the chosen poem; research on the author’s biography, culture, and country; and thoughtful writing and proper grammar.

  • Complete the Rubric for Latino Poetry Blog for each student.