Imagine having a body of content-rich, dramatic literature that teaches your entire science curriculum. And while you’re at it toss in your social studies and math curricula as well. Now imagine that this material is sufficiently content rich that it requires little supplemental instruction, and that it is so entertaining that your students actually love performing it. An impossible dream? Welcome to Muse Project!
Muse Project is an ongoing collaboration between poet Brod Bagert and over three thousand U.S. classroom teachers. The goal is to create a comprehensive collection of performance-based content-literature for each core discipline spanning grades K-8. The texts consist of all original Brod Bagert poems, dramatic monologues-dialogues, and plays. Teachers (the Muses) provide the inspiration by volunteering to receive advance copies of the texts, using them in their classrooms, and (if they so choose) sending feedback.
The resulting material folds easily into either local or national core curriculum standards and lines up well alongside Standards and Benchmarks across the grades 1-8 teaching spectrum. Again, an impossible dream? It’s right around the corner!
HOW DOES IT WORK? Participation is FREE. Brod emails batches of new material roughly four to six times a year. Participants are licensed to use the material in their classrooms and to make copies for their students for that purpose. Participants are then encouraged, though not expected, to send feedback.
HOW DID THIS GET STARTED? Fifteen years ago Brod Bagert began toying with the notion of writing content poetry for the entire K-8 curriculum: science, history, math, etc. Longing for the kind of inspiration that only classroom teachers could provide, in March of 2012, he reached out to a select group of classroom teachers who responded with a tsunami of enthusiasm and a long list of topics for new poems. The Muse Project was born.
The Cookie Journey
by Brod Bagert
I’m just a cookie on a plate
awaiting every cookie’s fate.
Someone bit me! Oh the fear!
Holy smoke, it’s dark in here!
Tooth enamel, sharp and white
tearing, grinding, left and right.
Saliva swishing all around.
Oh no! I think I’m going down!
This esophagus thing is a very tight space.
It starts in a neck right under a face.
A breathing-squeezing kind of hose
that deep into a stomach goes.
Feel the acid! Feel the burn!
This stomach has begun to churn.
I’m turning to liquid! I’m turning to gas!
Digestion progression is terribly fast!
I’m flowing now in a gooey soup
through small intestine – loop-d-loop!
Now large intestine, ah… at last…
I’m turning back to solid mass.
But something has begun to smash,
and now I’m falling… falling… SPLASH!
I’m floating in a big white well.
Oh disgusting! What’s that smell?
It’s what our bodies love to do – Turning cookies into poo.
PRIMARY, INTERMEDIATE, & MIDDLE – SC. 2. 107
Knowledge in Motion
by Brod Bagert
Newton declared the magnificent notion
that three basic laws governed objects in motion.
This giant idea was the ultimate thing,
and for almost three centuries Newton was king.
Then Einstein declared,
it’s important to know
that these laws only work if the motion is slow
but when speeds start approaching the swiftness of light,
the laws of Sir Isaac are no longer right.
So you see how our knowledge keeps inching along.
It seems perfect today, but tomorrow it’s wrong.
And who will be next to propose something new?
First Newton… then Einstein… and next?… Maybe you.