How to Fall in Love With Your Father

by Ross Gay

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Father

Step 1

Ask your students, “How do you think your relationship with your father (or other parental figure) will be as you both get older? How do you think the dynamic will change? Explain.” Then give them time to discuss.

Step 2

Watch Ross Gay’s performance of “How to Fall in Love With Your Father.” When you’re done, let’s briefly discuss his relationship with his father and what it says about our relationships with our own fathers/parents.

Step 3

Say, “Take some time to think about some moments with your father (or other parental figure) that encapsulate your relationship with them. What was this moment? Why was this moment so important? How did this moment reflect the relationship you had with this person?” Then give your students 5-10 minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Have your students write a poem similar in sentiment to “How to Fall in Love With Your Father” in which they discuss a moment or story about their relationship with their father (or other parental figure) and discuss how that moment reflects their relationship with them.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

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. The prominent literary devices & techniques that this particular poem includes are: diction, selection of detail, imagery, figurative language, structure, tone, and structure (syntax).

Step 2

Before the students start the assignment, simply have them watch Ross Gay’s performance of his poem “How to Fall in Love With Your Father.” Then ask them how they felt about the poem and what made them feel that way.

Step 3

Open the following presentation and go over the basics of “sketchnoting.” In this overview, students will learn the process of how to create an effective sketchnotes project.

Step 4

Have your students open the following document and go over the instructions. In this assignment, your students will have to analyze the poem and create a “sketchnotes project” to illustrate their understanding of the piece. *Students may either complete their work digitally or by hand.

Step 5

When students are done, have them share their responses with one another. Be sure to have them explain and guide their peers through their construction.

Step 6

If time permits, share the exemplar essay.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Aging
  • Appreciation
  • Body / Body Image
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Health / Health Care / Illness
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Parenting

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone