"Life Doesn’t Frighten Me" by Maya Angelou

This poem, written in a voice of a girl, addresses the fears children face in their everyday life. The narrator presents a fearless attitude when she speaks of common childhood fears - undefined noises and sounds, ghosts, strangers - but this bravado is only a mask she uses to try and hide her true fears.

Step 1:

Before reading / listening to the poem, students can list some of their own fears and compare them with their partners. 

Step 2:

After reading the poem students can be asked to identify and discuss phrases or words that were important or meaningful to them, or ones that moved them in particular. A challenging approach you could follow for this step is the one described in Chrysa Papalazarou's blog for capturing the essence of a text.

Step 3:

As a follow up activity they can write their own poems using their own fears (from step 1) and following the format of the poem. You can also hand them out blank papers and let them use their imagination to illustrate their poems.

More ideas on how to use poetry in the classroom can be found in teachingenglish.org.uk