Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Art of Poetry by Classic Academic Press : A TOS Crew Review


Photobucket The Art of Poetry by Classical Academic Press

From their website:

"If you have ever felt mystified by, or unable to enjoy the significance of poetry, this book will lead you step by step to understanding and love of this branch of literature, guided by a gifted poet and teacher. The Art of Poetry is an excellent middle school or high school curriculum; it will teach the practice of reading a poem slowly and carefully, introduce students to the elements of poetry (such as imagery and metaphor) and the many forms that can make a poem, from sonnet to open verse. In the belief that practice is the best way to learn, this book is rich with explications, exercises, and activities."

Take a peek inside:  The Art of Poetry (PDF)   & The Art of Poetry Teacher's Edition (PDF)
Free Resources:Art of Poetry Audio Files (MP3)
(Please note, the zipped file is over 200MB! and may take a long time to download, depending on your connection speed.)
The Art of Poetry Suggested Weekly Schedules (PDF)
The Art of Poetry Blog
 Check out Christine Perrin's The Art of Poetry blog!
Want to know more about author blogs? Click here to see an overview.

Cost -
The Art of Poetry Bundle - $124.95  New Price effective April 1, 2013 - $99.95
The Art of Poetry Student Book - $24.95
Teacher Edition - $29.95
DVD Set - $89.95  New Price effective April 1, 2013 - $69.95
(check out a sample video)

The Bentz Test Laboratory was SO excited to see The Art of Poetry!  I can't believe I just typed that...the transformation is complete - we are homeschoolers!

Seriously,  the Bentz Test Laboratory is filled with avid readers.  Understanding & appreciating poetry is one of the highest forms of reading, but - how on earth does your average mom delve deep into that topic, and make it interesting?  Classic Academic Press to the rescue (again...I love their products!)

The Art of Poetry is designed for your middle to high school student.  I just happened to have one of each! 

This course walks them through each step, carefully explaining the terminology and elements of poetry while teaching them to read carefully and discuss socratically.  Biographies of each poet are included as well.

My testers were open-minded to trying The Art of Poetry.  We jumped right in with Chapter one - Images.  I splurged and purchased the full DVD set (I know it's going to be well worth it from all my past experiences with products from Classic Academic Press)  The DVD sets the tone for the chapter, and models what discussing a poem looks like, plus you get a top-notch, passionate teacher!

It was nice to have both testers working on this together.  We broke it down to one piece of poetry a day, reading, discussing, and answering the questions.  This is much more than a "fill-in-the-blank" type of exercise,  it requires higher level thinking skills!  I already see the benefit to this careful exercise in other areas of study.   

The 16 chapters of the Student book guide them through:  The Elements of Poetry (images, metaphor, symbols, words, sound, rhythm, shape & tone), The Formal History of Poetry (history of form, movements, genres, Emily Dickinson & Walt Whitman case studies, and narrative poems),  & Application (starting a poetry group,  a favorite poem notebook, keeping a writer's journal, poetry slams and more.)  At the end of each chapter is a list of activities to complete to reinforce the lesson and practice what they have learned. 

We had fun with the activities in Chapter One - Images. One activity suggested was to take five minutes and freewrite about images from one of the four seasons.

One tester chose "summer images".  His included: baseball, lemonade, late sunsets, birthdays, board games, ribs & hamburgers cooked on the grill, Bible Bee.

The other tester chose "winter images". Including: sledding, hockey, snow football, winter gear, snow days, playing Christmas music on the piano, choosing Christmas trees, playing On to Bethlehem (check out this game), New Years Eve & our dog playing in the snow.

This was a wonderful peek into their minds and memories - definitely encouraging to this homeschool mom that I haven't "scarred" them too badly! 

The Teacher's Edition is a must-have.  It includes the full text of the Student Edition, plus answer key.  Not being a poetry whiz myself, it was extremely helpful to have the expert answer handy.  Quizzes are included - but, we opted to skip them.  I don't want to dampen their enthusiasm for this form of expression with a quiz...that's just my opinion.

We plan to continue the course - taking a long, scenic route over the next couple of years, savoring a bite at a time...

"There has never been a civilization without poetry. From the beginning of time, people have sought to turn their thoughts, feelings, and stories into memorable speech to share with others. Using language, the poet preserves something precious in the world by allowing us to live next to her, to see what she sees, to enter the experience she has built for us with her words and attention to the moment. Poetry acknowledges something deep within our nature – an urge to name, say, sing, grieve, praise, out of our solitariness, to another person. It makes words into a material thing, hard and solid as a table, dense with significance."
-from the Introduction

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

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