By Sam Leach: Assistant Head Teacher at Park Street Education
About Park Street:
Park Street offers an affordable, experience-based education to help students learn, socialize and develop while earning a reputable education. We offer a structured remote-learning environment with curriculum that has been designed to engage students while also allowing them to experience the world they want to live in. For parents, it provides the educational certainty and confidence that comes from an integrated learning environment that allows their children to reach their full potential. Visit parkstreetedu.com to find out more.
I've lost count of the minutes I’ve spent sat in front of my laptop trying to convey, with authenticity, my complete adoration of Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ for the purpose of this article. 22-year-old Amanda Gorman made history as the country’s youngest inaugural poet and it is very clear that she is not going anywhere; she will continue to be a figure that will punctuate the world’s future tapestry. After staying up late on January 20th 2021 to put together a resource for the students at Park Street and teaching it multiple times to multiple age groups since then, I am still thinking about the impact of this poem and the ways in which it can be used in a classroom setting, discussed over the dinner table at home and even be used in the context of a workplace to inspire meaningful discussion.
Yes, the poem is linked, inextricably, to America, but the poem’s themes transcend geographical boundaries. The poem is about the struggle towards triumph over adversity, the weight of history, the power of unity and collective effort – the list is endless. Consequently, I believe that it will be incorporated into curricula all over the globe and it is exciting that today’s children will be the first of generations to hear, read and study this poem. As well as including a full lesson on this poem which you are more than welcome to download and use. You can find it here.
When reading this poem, here are some suggestions as to how you can discuss it at home with your children:
1. Write ‘The Hill We Climb’ in the middle of a piece of paper. Ask your child what they think this means. Explain that it is a metaphor. Ask them to think of any hills that they have to climb.
2. Print off a copy of the poem.
3. Ask your child to read the poem without listening to it and highlight words and phrases that stand out to them. Then, play the recording of Amanda Gorman’s delivery. Did anything different stand out to them this time? Zoom in on one or two phrases they have selected. Ask them why the poet chose these lines. Have your child to select their favourite part of the poem and create a piece of artwork that either incorporates the language of the poem or the ideas behind their chosen quotation.
Kimothy Joy (an incredible artist on Instagram: @kimothy.joy) illustrated the poem's lines....
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
for there is always light
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
Park Street would also like to extend an invite for you and your child to join a complimentary live-virtual lesson on this poem. Please contact Giuliana at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.