Poetry was always a part of every classroom I’ve taught in. It was integrated into lesson plans with students I tutored. I made sure it had a place in my students’ learning, regardless of their age or learning level. Once during independent reading time, a first grader came up to me and said, “I’m reading this book. It takes place at a school and in this chapter one kid wrote a poem. I wanted to read you the poem he wrote because I know you like poetry.” Right on, kiddo. I do like poetry, but more so, I like exposing my students to poetry. Here’s why:
- There is a poem for EVERYONE. Poetry does not descriminate.
- Poetry lends itself well to teaching students about rhythm and rhyme.
- Poetry encourages self-expression while honing verbal skills.
- Poetry introduces students to a form of art and entertainment — slam poetry, anyone?
- Poetry is a great way to introduce and work with figurative language and literacy devices.
- Poetry can be a useful tool for either the resistant or adventurous writer in developing and expanding writing techniques. (Click here to see my post on why I love to teach cinquains.)
- Poetry allows for flexibility, and students enjoy exploring the ways they can “break the rules.” When writing poetry, it is often perfectly acceptable to abandon certain writing conventions that are expected in written prose.
- Poems can be a welcomed piece of literature to study and create, as they often resemble short stories, or snapshots of a bigger story or event (unless of course we’re talking about the Odyssey).
April is National Poetry Month — the perfect opportunity to expose students to various forms of poetry and different poets; to engage students creatively and challenge them as they create pieces of their own. At the end of the month (this year: April 27) is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Last year, I created a resource specifically for this day, a day when students are encouraged to pick a poem they like and carry it around to share with others. My Poem in Your Pocket Day craftivity is a fun way to engage students in the celebration while honing their creative craft and poetry writing skills. Students can carry around their finished poem pockets to share with their peers. The finished product also makes an attractive bulletin board display.
This resource includes the following:
- a pocket template for students to decorate
- blank pocket-sized pages to write poems
- directions and examples for writing cinquain, acrostic, and haiku poems
How do you bring poetry into your young writers’ lives? I’d love to hear!