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Shane Koyczan, The Short Story Long


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, English Language Arts, Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Types

  • Videos, 7 minutes, 9 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Artwork

Regional Focus



YouTube Video


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Shane Koyczan

  • This video features spoken poetry, written and artistically presented by Shane Koyczan, who describes ancient stories of the Earth, sky, and constellations, including the story of Atlas holding up the world (Language Warning).
  • In his poem, he highlights the interconnectedness of life on Earth, the urgent crisis we're facing, and uses metaphors to connect the stories to our personal and collective responsibility to protect the planet.
  • There is an expletive used at the beginning of this video.
Teaching Tips


  • This poem is a great resource for students to analyze spoken word poetry while also providing an opportunity to reflect on our collective responsibility to care for the planet. 
  • This poem can engage mature listeners with visuals, music, and storytelling.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Note that at 1:28, Shane uses the phrase "Don't f--- with the bees." The word also appears in graphic text at the top of the video.  Teachers may want to start the video at 1:36 to avoid the profanity.
  • The first comment below the video is by Shane Koyczan, explaining his choice of the word, which may be insightful for mature students to read and discuss.


  • In English class, students could investigate the author's technique of using stories from his personal life as metaphors in his poetry.
  • This video could be used to stimulate a connection between science and English language arts, where students write a poem or paper about a science topic that has meaning in their personal life.
  • Similar resources include this lesson plan that includes analyzing another climate-focused poem and this lesson for writing an ekphrastic poem.
Scientist Notes

This resource is recommended for teaching.

  • English Language Arts
    • Language (K-12)
      • L.9-12.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style in writing and speaking, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
      • L.9-12.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
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