From "Girls That Never Die"
by Safia Elhillo
Photo by Aris Theotokatos
Workshop Title: Never Die
Ask your students to read the closing/conclusion of a poem on the next slide. Then discuss what you think about the lines in terms of meaning, message, structure, etc.
Read “Girls That Never Die” by Safia Elhillo. When you’re done, briefly discuss the poem and how it sheds light on “the shame and violence that often comes with being a woman.”
Say, “What other challenges do women face in society today? Elhillo takes aim at a particular issue, but are there other areas that this poem does not touch upon?”
Have your students compose a poem similar in sentiment to “Girls That Never Die” that brings attention to an issue – or a set of issues – that women, in any area, demographic, etc. still face today.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Various
This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.
Start by splitting your class into groups of three or four. Each of the teams, in a few moments, will be responsible for creating their own original piece that mimics the themes and style of today’s poem of focus, “Girls That Never Die” by Safia Elhillo.
Before starting, make sure your students have access to the following document. They won’t need to – and should not -open it at the moment, but they will need to open it as soon as you’re done going over the instructions. This is the document where they’ll be composing their work. If you’d prefer for your students to work on posterboard or newsprint, you have that option, as well.
Walk your students through the following introduction/overview of the assignment.
*Before you start the timer (on the last slide of the introductory presentation), make sure your students are aware that they will be presenting their poem to the judge (you) and that they will need to be able to justify their artistic/stylistic choices from their text.
Start the timer. Your students have thirty minutes to create their project.
When the timer has elapsed, ask each group to present their assignment to you and the rest of the class. For each group, you should ask:
- How is your poem similar in theme or message to the original poem?
- What stylistic elements of the original piece did you try to emulate or mimic in your own work?
- Discuss the rationale behind some of your stylistic choices and how they contribute to your poem.
When all teams have presented, simply choose a “winner” and announce it to the class. There’s no formal rubric, but you can assess each poem based on the:
- Originality” of piece
- How closely the poem mirrors the same sentiment, theme, or message as the original poem.
- How closely the poem utilizes the same type(s) of literary techniques or elements as the original AND how effective/intentional the usage of those terms are.
- Community / Culture
- Gender / Gender Identity / Gender Expression / Sexism
- Health / Health Care / Illness
- Social Movements / Protest
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail
- Structure (Line Breaks)
- Structure (Syntax)
- Sexism and Misogyny