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Unleashing Creativity: Teaching Poetry and Imagery with Taylor Swift’s "The Tortured Poet's Department"

Hey there, fellow Connected Classroom teachers and SWIFTIES! Today, we’re diving into an exciting realm where pop culture meets poetry. Yes, you read that right! We're talking about leveraging Taylor Swift’s latest album, "The Tortured Poet's Department," to engage your students and teach them about poetry and imagery in a whole new way.

As Connected teachers, we’re always on the lookout for innovative ways to spark our students' interest and make learning more engaging. And what better way to do that than by tapping into the music they love?

Why Taylor Swift?

Taylor Swift is not just a global superstar; she’s also a masterful storyteller and lyricist. Her songs are filled with vivid imagery, compelling narratives, and emotional depth—making them perfect teaching tools for exploring poetic devices and techniques.

A series of black-and-white and grayscale photos of Taylor Swift and a weekly calendar with "The Tortured Poet's Department Release Day" written on it.

How to Incorporate "The Tortured Poet's Department" into Your Connected Classroom Curriculum:

1. Analyze Lyrics for Imagery:

Start by selecting songs from the album that are rich in imagery. Songs like "Midnight Poetry," "Shattered Reflections," and "Eternal Echoes" are great choices. Break down the lyrics with your students, identifying metaphors, similes, and other literary devices that contribute to the imagery.

2. Discuss Themes and Narratives:

Each song on the album tells a story or conveys a specific theme. Encourage students to explore these themes and narratives, discussing how Swift uses language and imagery to evoke emotions and convey meaning. This can lead to insightful discussions about topics such as love, loss, identity, and resilience.

3. Creative Writing Exercises:

After analyzing Swift’s lyrics, inspire your students to create their own poetry or song lyrics using similar imagery and themes. Provide prompts related to the album’s content, or let students choose their own topics. Encourage them to experiment with different poetic devices and styles, fostering their creativity and self-expression.

4. Multimedia Presentations:

Get tech-savvy by having students create multimedia presentations inspired by the album. They can incorporate visuals, music clips, and spoken word performances to enhance their interpretations of Swift’s lyrics. This approach allows for interdisciplinary learning, combining elements of music, art, and language arts.

Benefits of Using Music in the Classroom:

Incorporating music into your lessons offers numerous benefits:

  • Cultural Relevance: Connecting with popular music helps make poetry more accessible and relatable to students.

  • Emotional Engagement: Music has the power to evoke emotions, making the learning experience more memorable and impactful.

  • Critical Thinking: Analyzing song lyrics encourages critical thinking skills, as students interpret and analyze complex texts.

  • Creativity: Engaging with music inspires students to express themselves creatively through writing and artistic endeavors.

Here are a few resources for how to use this popular event in the classroom (there are a few TPT links as well as free resources!)

Sample fonts that look like an old typewriter!

If you would like to get your hands on the vinyl, check out the Phantom Clear vinyl edition exclusively at Target. Hint: It contains the bonus track "The Manuscript."

A grayscale image of Taylor Swift holding The Phantom Clear Vinyl edition of "The Tortured Poet's Department" and text below detailing what is included in the edition.

Check out the video for the title-track with Post Malone, YouTube is always a good treat in the Connected Classroom!

Do you find yourself spending time looking for engaging activities after testing season and as we head into the spring school season? You can get graduate credit for all that hard work and TIME you are spending! In most school districts graduate credit = salary increases!

Connected Classroom Courses are fully online, 100% self-paced, meaningful and manageable graduate courses for teachers through Colorado State University - Pueblo credit is fully accredited by the HLC Commission.

Connected Classroom Courses:

Taylor Swift’s "The Tortured Poet's Department" isn’t just an album; it’s a treasure trove of poetic inspiration waiting to be explored. By incorporating Swift’s music into your Connected Classroom curriculum, you can ignite your students’ passion for poetry, foster their creativity, and deepen their understanding of imagery and literary devices.

So go ahead, turn up the music, and let the poetry come alive in your classroom! Who knew that Taylor Swift could be the key to unlocking a love for poetry in your students?

Happy teaching, and may your Connected Classroom be filled with the sweet sounds of learning and creativity!


Jennifer Hair


Follow us on Instagram: @connectedteachers

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