Our Favorite Videos for Teaching Poetry in Middle and High School

Help bring poetry to life for our older students!

Best Poetry Videos for Middle and High School Students - WeAreTeachers

In order to get older students even remotely interested in poetry, students must be able to hear and see poetry come alive. These poetry videos for middle and high school can help teachers do just that.

You can also check out our Teaching Poetry Playlist (for Older Students) and be sure to subscribe to WeAreTeachers YouTube channel while you’re at it.

Remember to check out these videos yourself before you show them to your students. Only you know what will work for the children in your classroom.

50 Classic Poems Read by 12 Celebrities

Check out this recording which is over an hour long and find the poems you’re teaching in class. Morgan Freeman reads Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool,” Lynn Redgrave reads Chaucer’s “Prologue,” and John Lithgow reads Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life.” 

Poetry in Voice 2016 Winner, Marie Foodchand

Students must have many opportunities to listen to poetry being read. This channel is full of poets reading their work, but in particular, this young woman’s reading is remarkable and will resonate with listeners.

Poetic Moment—”New Teachers” 

From All Def Poetry, this teacher poet shares a powerful exchange she had with other educators. It’s a little racy and loud, but students will see a whole other way to share poems.

Understanding Poetry: Dead Poets Society

Every single high school English teacher I know has dreamed of doing this in his or her own classroom. Instead of having your students tear up their books, use this as a discussion-starter about why this teacher had his students do it.

Poetry Introduction

Use this 2-minute 30 second video as a quickie introduction to the poetry unit. Basic poetic elements are explained as well as several examples of figurative language and different types of poems. 

Elements of Poetry

Everything your students need to know about poetry is explained in this five-minute video. Though it is not narrated, the definitions work, and this could be used in combination with a teacher-directed lesson. 

Poetic Form

The four elements of poetic form are explained via an overhead camera and teacher demonstration. She explains line, stanza, rhythm, and rhyme in poetry using “From Above” by Cale Young Rice.

The KEYS Method for Teaching Poetry

Need a quick way to explain to your students how to analyze poetry? This teacher goes into great detail about how she teaches her students the difficult art of poetry analysis.

How to Teach Students to Read & Write Poetry

Super short and sweet, a teacher shares a few unique ways that she uses to teach her students poetry. 

Why Shakespeare Loved Iambic Pentameter

The sometimes-difficult-to-understand iambic pentameter is explained in detail and celebrated in this five-minute video. Incredibly well-made and worth watching on repeat. 

Billy Collins on the Great Poets

Writer Billy Collins talks about his inspiration and what he thinks about some of the greatest poets of all time. It’s cool for students to hear poets talking about other masters in the field. 

What Makes a Poem a Poem? -Melissa Kovacs

Over half a million views on this TED-Ed video about poetry tells you that it’s worth watching. A captivating and interesting look at what makes a poem a poem. And? There’s a link to an awesome poetry lesson by Melissa Kovacs. 

Teaching Poetry: Helen Vendler at Harvard University

Give your advanced students a look at what a lecture might look like at Harvard University. Vendler’s 40-minute lesson on poetry is a dream for some but hard to swallow for others. 

Classroom-Friendly Poems from Button Poetry

Students adore Phil Kaye’s “Repetition”, and they’ll also love just about all of the poets in this playlist

Check out this playlist of 30 poems everyone should know. It is totally worth sharing with students!

You may want to check out the Youth Speaks Poetry videos—but do so with caution—knowing that some of these young poets speak on difficult and controversial issues. Students may really enjoy seeing their peers use poetry this way.

We’d love to hear—what are your poetry videos for middle and high school? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Be sure to check out our other favorite teaching videos on YouTube: 

Our Favorite Videos for Teaching Poetry in Middle and High School

Posted by amy mascott

Amy Mascott is Senior Digital Editor and Creative Manager for WeAreTeachers.

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