Home Sweet Home. Home is that chipped teacup in the china cabinet that belonged to your grandmother. Home is your artwork proudly displayed on the refrigerator. Home is that favorite place you prefer to sit when you watch television. Home is knowing where the best snacks in the house are kept. Home is the place that always welcomes you back.
But what if you don’t have a home? What if you are being evicted from your home because of a financial setback? Since the recent economic crisis, evictions and family homelessness are on the rise. From urban Los Angeles, California, to rural Paducah, Kentucky, it’s not uncommon for families with children in school to be homeless or on the verge of homelessness. Being sensitive to those who are less advantaged than ourselves is a quality we want to nurture in the children we teach.
Poetry allows us to express the gratitude we feel about home as well as empathize with those who are less secure about their living situation. Poetry invites us to use the sensitivity of language to express some of the emotions surrounding home and homelessness. In these classroom activities, elementary students will use poetry to discuss their feelings about their homes, and middle and high school students will ponder poetry that speaks about eviction and homeless families.
Teachers have used the power of poetry to teach about language, justice and equity for centuries. To find out how one educator used literature to help build awareness in her classroom, read Justice for Janitors: Making the Invisible Visible.
affidavit |afiˈdāvit |
(noun) a written declaration upon oath made before an authorized official
evict |iˈvikt |
(verb) to expel (a person, especially a tenant) from land, a building, etc., by legal process, as for nonpayment of rent
foreclosure |fôrˈklō zh ər |
(noun) the act of taking possession of a mortgage property or pledge
landlord |ˈlan(d)ˌlôrd |
(noun) a person or organization that owns and leases apartments to others
lease | lēs |
(noun) a contract renting land, buildings, etc., to another.
(noun) a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report
tenant |tenənt |
(noun) a person or group who rents and occupies land, a house, an office, from another for a period of time
EARLY GRADES (3-5)
MIDDLE GRADES (6-8)
HIGH SCHOOL (9-12)