College Courses & The Festival

Extra Credit Options for Using the Dodge Poetry Festival in a College Course

As instructors, we know that transfer of knowledge often begins when students get hands-on experience and connect personally to a topic or text. At the Dodge Poetry Festival, students will experience a live literature event featuring informative panels and conversations with engaging and diverse speakers, making this an ideal event for any college course! Plus, tickets for college students are just $10 until October 9th.

If you can’t take your class to the Dodge Poetry Festival but still want to incorporate it into your syllabus, consider making attendance at the Festival count as extra credit in your course. Below are a few ways to create these opportunities for your students. We hope that by incorporating the festival right into your syllabus, more students feel encouraged to attend, and thus even more students have the chance to experience this incredible festival!

Assignment 1: Students simply attend the event

Ideal Course: Great for any course!

Overview: This type of assignment asks students to experience live literature without having the added anxiety of a written assignment, thus hopefully leading to more students going to the event. It's always helpful to have students experience poetry outside of the classroom, and without the stress of an assignment, students can see that poetry is not merely schoolwork but rather a part of our larger culture.

Different Ways to Grade: Students take a picture of themselves at the event with a current festival program. Then they can email, upload to course page, or show it to you in class

  • Students can get points toward their class participation grade
  • The assignment can count in place of another low-stake homework assignment that they might have missed

Assignment 2: Students attend the festival then write a brief reflection

Ideal Course:  Great for any humanities course, especially writing, literature, or creative writing!

Overview: Reflecting on an experience often helps us process it. For students who have never attended such panels or readings before, this reflection allows them to see how the festival exceeded their expectations or shifted their views on poetry. Have students answer either or both of the following questions: How did the experience of poetry being read aloud/performed shape or change your view on poetry? What was the experience of being at festival like for you personally—did anything surprise you, excite you, intrigue you?

Different Ways to Grade: Students write a 1-2 reflection paper

  • This can be graded as complete/incomplete and count toward participation, as noted in option 1
  • This can be used toward a previous grade, adding a letter or half a letter grade to boost a current assignment grade

Assignment 3: Students attend a panel or themed reading that correlates with your course

Ideal Course: Great for any course!

Overview: For this assignment, students can check our program to seek a panel or themed reading that resonates with your course’s topic, assignments, or texts. Then have students write a response, synthesizing the discussions / poetry from the festival directly with your course’s information. You could design the question yourself or have students directly answer some of the following questions: How does the panel of contemporary poets tackle topics we have written about in class? How did the panel directly connect to a specific text or discussion from our class? How did the poetry reading speak to issues discussed in our class? How does art and poetry help further a discussion on any topic

Different Ways to Grade: Students write a paper following the same rules/requirements of other assigned prompts in your course

  • This can take the place of another assignment for the course and be graded similarly
  • This can be graded as complete/incomplete and count toward participation, as noted in option 1




Melissa Adamo is currently the College Liaison for the Dodge Poetry Festival and an Adjunct Instructor at Montclair State University and Rutgers University-Newark. She primarily teaches composition courses at both institutions but has also taught creative writing and poetry courses at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Readers can connect with her on Twitter @mel_adamo