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Lesson Plans

Classroom resource: Explore Amanda Gorman's Super Bowl poem

February 8, 2021

Full Lesson


Directions: Watch the video clip of Amanda Gorman reciting her poem, read her poem “Chorus of the Captains” and answer the discussion questions.  If time allows, read the NewsHour piece


Read Gorman’s poem here:

Chorus of the Captains


Today we honor our three captains
For their actions and impact in
A time of uncertainty and need.
They’ve taken the lead,
Exceeding all expectations and limitations
Uplifting their communities and neighbors
As leaders, healers, and educators.

James has felt the wounds of warfare,
But this warrior still shares
His home with at-risk kids.
During Covid, he’s event lent a hand,
Live-streaming football for family and fans.

Trimaine is an educator who works nonstop,
Providing his community with hotspots,
Laptops, and tech workshops,
So his students have all the tools
They need to succeed in life and school.

Suzie is the ICU nurse manager at a Tampa Hospital.
Her chronicles prove that even in tragedy, hope is possible.
She lost her grandmothers to the pandemic,
And fights to save other lives in the ICU battle zone,
Defining the frontline heroes risking their lives for our own.

Let us walk with these warriors,
Charge on with these champions,
And carry forth the call of our captains!
We celebrate them by acting
With courage and compassion,
By doing what is right and just.
For while we honor them today,
It is them who every day honor us.


Warm up questions: 

  1. Who is Amanda Gorman? Where did she recently perform which drew her into the national spotlight in a meteoric way? (you may want to read this “fun-fact” article or this more in-depth piece to learn about Gorman’s family roots).
  2. What were some of the points of Gorman’s poem “Chorus of the Captains” that resonated with you?
  3. Why do you think the Super Bowl officials asked Gorman to perform her poem?
  4. When and Where has Gorman been in the public spotlight recently?
  5. How might a poem being performed at the Super Bowl affect how people think about poetry?

Focus questions:

  1. Why do you think Gorman wrote her poem about the three honorary captains, James Martin, Suzy Dorner and Trimaine Davis instead of the actual Super Bowl football captains playing? What do you think about her decision?
  2. Gorman marvels at poetry “in places we least expect it” where it has the power to “heal and resurrect” & to provide “connection even when we feel siloed.” What are some  places (such as Gorman’s poems and the Super Bowl or inauguration) where poetry might have the power to provide unexpected connection? (Question suggested by educator Lisa Kapp whom we thank!)

Media literacy: Why do you think Gorman chose these three people to be an honorary captain in her poem? What emotions does teacher Trimaine Davis express in this clip?

Dig Deeper: Have students read Gorman’s poem that she read on Inauguration Day and answer accompanying questions.

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