On Calling the Cops.

by Rasheed Copeland

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Police

Step 1

Have the students watch the embedded video. Then give them time to discuss its content.

Step 2

When the students are done with their discussion, read “On Calling the Cops.” by Rasheed Copeland. Then discuss his feelings about the relationship between police and the black community.

Step 3

Tell the students to write a poem about the same subject matter. Don’t give them time to brainstorm because you want to get their raw, initial feelings about the subject on the page first without giving them the luxury to go back and make edits.

Step 4

When the students are done, have them share their responses if they feel comfortable enough to do so.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Figurative Language

Step 1

If your students are not familiar with the concept of “figurative language,” review the introductory lesson.

Step 2

Show them the following video to give your students a bit of historical context behind the subject matter of the poem.

Step 3

Read Rasheed Copeland’s “On Calling the Cops.” As they’re reading, have them pay particular attention to the figurative language he uses to convey his message about the relationship between law enforcement and the black community.

Step 4

Have the students open up the following document and go over the instructions with them. In short, the students are going to have to pair the examples of figurative language with its corresponding analysis.

Step 5

When the students are done, share the exemplar essay with them to see if they were able to correctly match the evidence with the analysis.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Figurative Language


  • Community / Culture
  • Criminal Justice
  • History
  • Police Brutality / Profiling
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism
  • Violence

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Selection of Detail