Friday, March 22, 2013

Classic Academic Press The Art of Poetry {A Review}

Classic Academic Press, The Art of Poetry is a complete Poetry course for Middle School and High School students.

Photobucket The Art of Poetry

Essentially - What you need to know:
  • Publisher: Classic Academic Press - find out more at
  • The Art of Poetry
  • Grades 6-12
  • The bundle includes a softbound student text, a softbound teacher's edition, and a DVD set.
  • $99.95 for the complete bundle, 69.95 for the DVD {as of April 1, 2013}

The Art of PoetryThe student text is divided up into 3 parts, "Elements of Poetry", "Formal History of Poetry" and "Application".  "The Elements of Poetry" address such things as images, metaphor, words, rhythm and other technical parts that make up the poem.  "The Formal History of Poetry" goes over the different movements and forms of poetry as they appear in history.  The Third section, "Application", which is really just one chapter, is dedicated to fostering the interest of the student as they take poetry out of the classroom.  It outlines different ways that the student can continue to read and write poetry.  There are also three appendices at the end of the book.  Appendix A is a  nice collection of short biographies of Poets throughout history.  Appendix B is how to find the Art of Poetry online.  Appendix C is a plan for using this text in the classroom.  There is also a glossary, bibliography and index.

Each chapter is well organized.  It begins with a few pages dedicated to the topic of the chapter with vocabulary works in black.   Then there is a section on learning to read closely.  Close reading is an integral part of this course. In short, it is the discipline of paying attention to the poem.  Then there are several poems with questions to help the students understand the poems. Then there are a number of writing activities for the students to do, to cement the topic of the chapter.  Last there is a one-page mini-glossery with the vocabulary words defined.

The Teacher's edition is a softbound book that is the same size as the the student text.  The text is the same as the student text with explanations and answers to the poems at the end of each chapter. There is an introduction to the teacher at the beginning of book and a timeline and quizzes with answer key in the back of the book.

The DVD is a true companion to the book.  For each chapter there is a summery of the first section of each chapter with images to support the reading like a short movie.  Then it transitions to the author Christine Perrin and a group of students as they read, study and discuss the poems in the anthology section of the chapter.

How We Used The Art of Poetry

The Art of Poetry was Zippy's main reading and writing text for the duration of this review. This book can be used in several different ways and different time frames.  This is outlined in the introduction of the book as well as on the Classical Academic website under free resources.  It can be used as an intensive month long unit, or spread out over a whole year or several years.

We broke the chapter up a little differently than suggested.  We did one chapter per week, interspersing the activities from the end of the chapter throughout the week.  If we continue in this way we will finish in half a school year.  We did nearly everything orally, reading the text and poetry, discussing the questions at the end of the poems. Zippy wrote out the end of the chapter actives.

The Art of Poetry Review

What We Thought of it

I was very pleased with The Art of Poetry. It is a very flexible course with a ton of meat in it.  I thought it might  be a challenge for Zippy because she still struggles with reading. We decided to do it together, reading it aloud, mostly.  This proved to be a good decision for us.  It is written at a middle school/high school level and some words were difficult for her, but by tackling the information together she learned a lot.

I was especially delighted with the emphasis on close reading. This is the section where the author camps out on a poem, unpacking it bit by bit, practicing paying attention.  Attention is something that Zippy struggles with a lot.  By intentionally reading, looking at all the different aspects of the poem I think she is becoming a more attentive reader.

The teachers edition was easy to use.  I liked that it was essentially another copy of the student book, with explanations and answers at the end of each chapter on well marked pages.  Because I chose to tackle this orally, the teacher's edition provided a second copy for me to read/follow with Zippy. I also was thankful for those explanations.  I am a literal kind of person and sometimes reading deeply, figuring out what the poet was talking about, eludes me. Those explanations allowed me to teach with confidence.

I found the DVD to be less helpful than the book.  Zippy liked the beginning portion where the topic was explained, because there was pictures to illustrate.  I liked hearing the poems read by different people, because each person reads just a little differently, bringing out the nuances of the poem.  Listening to other people talk about the poem, without being able to participate, was a little dull for Zippy, however I can see how that would be beneficial for someone who is an auditory or visual learner.  


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  1. I sure wish my boys liked poetry more. Holding out hope for my daughter, she is 8!

  2. The possible values amounting to better understanding of the various objects and certainties which must be initiated by the students and surely by the time they would govern more of the values so. sop review


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