Occasional Poetry: Amanda Gorman on the Occasion of an Inauguration

Lesson Introduction

In this lesson, students learn about the poet Amanda Gorman — how she came to write “The Hill We Climb” for President Joe Biden’s inauguration and how her poem was written in the tradition of occasional poetry. Students will also learn about Ms. Gorman’s belief that poetry is political and how reading and writing can be instruments of social change. For a culminating task, students will write an occasional poem of their own.


Learning Objectives

In this lesson students will have opportunities to:


  • Watch Amanda Gorman’s performance of “The Hill We Climb.”
  • Discuss the poem’s big ideas.
  • Analyze the poem’s use of sound: rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration.
  • Reflect on Amanda Gorman’s performance of her poem.
  • Notice the poem’s references to the past and its call to action for the future.
  • Learn about occasional poetry.
  • Write an occasional poem of their own.


Materials and Resources


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