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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Classical Academic Press Poetry

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From the website, "Classical Academic Press produces superlative educational materials to advance the revival of classical education. We specialize in subjects such as Latin and logic, presented clearly and creatively, to equip and engage both students and teachers. These programs are the continuing, collaborative effort of distinguished scholars, teachers, and designers."

I LOVE Classical Academic Press!  We have been so blessed to have reviewed a wide variety of the products they offer in the past: Latin, Bible, and Logic.  I had seen the Art of Poetry on the CAP website and thought it would be perfect for my 16 year old daughter.  We were very excited when we were given the opportunity to use and review The Art of Poetry.

The Art of Poetry is designed to help Middle or High School students understand and appreciate poetry.  Students will learn how to read a poem slowly and carefully, learn about different elements used in poetry, and the many different forms of poetry.  The book is full of exercises, activities, and explications to guide students through a deeper understanding of poetry.  A biography of each poet in included in the book and CAP has provided many of the poems being read in mp3 format free on their website  Art of Poetry Audio Files.

There are three components to the Art of Poetry:
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Student Text-  $24.94  The Student Text is a paper back book that is 268 pages long.  It contains 16 chapters in 3 different sections: The Elements of Poetry (Images, Metaphor, Symbols, Words, Sound and More Sound, Rhythm, Shape: Stanza and Line, Tone: Putting it All Together), The Formal History of Poetry (History of Form , Movements, Genres, Verse Forms, Shaping Forms, Emily Dickinson: A Case Study in Form, Open Verse, Walt Whitman: A Case Study in Open Verse, Narrative Poems: An Anthology), and Application.  Appendix A contains a biography of each of the poets, Appendix B talks about using The Art of Poetry online, and Appendix C has information about poetry in the classroom or at home.  There also is an introduction, a section on using the book in the front of the book and a glossary of terms in the back of the book.

You can view a sample chapter by clicking here.

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Teacher's Edition- $29.95 The Teacher's Edition is a paperback book that is 312 pages long.  It contains the entire Student Text plus: explications of all the poems in the text, answer key to all of the questions, a poetry timeline, chapter quizzes and answers, cumulative quiz and answers, and tips and suggestions for teaching poetry.  The Teacher's Edition does not contain a suggested schedule, but you can find schedule suggestions for one year, half year, four year, or semester long co-ops by clicking here.

To see a sample click here.

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DVD's- $89.95 ($69.95 starting April 1st) The DVD set is more than 15 hours long and features Christine Perrin (the author) taking 4 eighth grade students through the book chapter by chapter discussing the concepts that are presented in the text.  Each chapter is 45-1 hour long and after the chapter session is completed there is a short session focusing on a few of the activities at the end of the chapter.  The DVD's are not required in order to complete the course.

A video sample can be found on this page.

The Art of Poetry can also be purchased as a bundle which includes the Student Text, Teacher's Edition, and DvD's for $124.95 ($99.95 starting April 1st.)

My oldest (16) has been working through The Art of Poetry.  Since we don't have a class or co-op for her to discuss it with, and there is a big age gap between her and the next oldest child, she has been working through it mostly on her own focusing on one poem daily and answering the questions that follow and choosing one or two activities to complete at the end of the chapter.  After completing the chapter's questions, she went back and viewed the DVD for that session before completing her activities (for our review we only received Chapters 1 and 2 on DVD.)

The first chapter is on images and the first poem is entitled Storm Ending by Jean Toomer.

Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
Rumbling in the wind,
Stretching clappers to strike our ears.
Full-lipped flowers
Bitten by the sun
Bleeding rain
Dripping rain like golden honey-
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.

 Here are the questions and Chelsea's answers.

1.  Notice how Toomer's poem takes you to a distinct place, a specific experience constructed by image layered upon image.  Make a list of all the verbs in the poem, then nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
blossoms, rumbling, stretching, strike, bleeding, dripping, flying
thunder, heads, flowers, wind, clappers, ears, sun, rain, honey, earth, thunder
great, hollow, bell-like, full-lipped, golden, sweet
gorgeously

2.  We expect images in poetry to always be nouns but in this poem the primary image is a verb, can you name it?
thunder

3.  How would you describe the atmosphere created in this poem?  Is the overall feeling negative or positive? Dark or light?  Fearful or comforting?  What specific evidence can you point to to defend your answers?
The atmosphere is somewhat negative.  The poem is somewhat dark.  Evidence: "full lipped flowers bitten by the bleeding rain."


At the end of the chapter on images there are several activities for the student to choose from and complete such as: freewriting about images from one of the four seasons, describing to someone an image that is important to you, describing the past school year through four images, figure out which of the four senses is most important to you, cut out a series of images from a magazine that describes a relationship that is important to you and make a collage, write your own version of the Ezra Pound poem, play an association game, write a poem like The Panther  but use a different animal, write your own version of Dust of Snow.

A Five minute freewrite on summer:

Hot.  Dry.  The ground needs water.  Daytime starts early in the morning before it is too hot to stay outside.  Evening is the best time to enjoy summer.  Swimming, camping, relaxing with a book in the oppressive heat of the day.  BBQ picnics.  Flipflops and shorts.  4 H camp and VBS.  Fieldtrips and competitions.  Sleeping in.  Afternoon movies.  No schoolwork.  Vacations.  Going to the lake.  Cold fried chicken and potato salad.

What I love about the Art of Poetry is that there is no wrong way to use it.  You can go in depth and cover it in a short period of time, or you can simply read and enjoy the poems and stretch the book out for as long as you wish.  You don not have to be any kind of expert in poetry to use this product in your homeschool.  In fact you can have little or no experience reading and analyzing poems and still be able to teach this course to your middle schoolers, or allow your high schoolers to work through it on their own (I know this from personal experience ; )  The text contains some beautiful poems for your students to read throug and learn from.  They can even listen to many of them read aloud for free at the link I listed above.  The exercises help them to think deeper and develop an appreciation for poetry as well as help them to develop their own skill at poetry if they choose.  The Teacher's Edition gives detailed explications and answers to the questions making it very easy for anyone of any background to teach this course.

The DVDs are not required for the course, but by using them it is as though you are bringing the instructor right into your home to teach the course.  Each chapter is covered in detail on the DVDs through the discussions between Christine Perrin and her four students.  I loved the images that were used during the reading of the introductions to the chapters.  I enjoyed listening to the discussions between the teacher and the students.  I thought her method of teaching them to memorize the poems using hand motions was very effective.  I was so glad to see the section after the chapter showing Christine completing a few of the activities to give me a better idea of how to use those effectively.  I thought the DVDs were a high quality resource that greatly enhanced the lessons.

Although you can work through it on your own, many of the activities are designed to be completed and discussed in a group.  I think the Art of Poetry would make a great course for a homeschool co-op.

To see what other Crew Mates had to say, click on the banner below.

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