Think about the daily writing that happens in your classroom...it's probably very regimented with students following a writing prompt, answering a constructed response, responding to what they have read. I'm sure you always hear: how long does this have to be? How many sentences do I have to write? Poetry gives students freedom in their writing that they are not used to...and that can be scary for them. But also a lot of fun! There are so many ways that you can get students reading and writing poetry and I have a few activities that I always love during Poetry Month.
I love to have my students pull inspiration from all around them in our poetry centers. We take a nature walk and pick up objects from nature along the way and add those items to a center. I also have students bring in newspaper or magazine articles so they can use current events as inspiration for blackout poems (blacking out around words that will stand out as the poem) but also free write about the topics. Students can create heart maps to think about how things that they love in their everyday life can become inspiration. Inspiration is all around us when we write! Poetry is the perfect time to explore it!
To help students get used to writing poetry, I try to choose forms of poetry that follow a format. Writing a cinquain or couplets gets their feet wet with poetry because they follow a certain form of writing but they still have the freedom to find their inspiration. And as students explore different forms of poetry they notice line breaks, stanzas, tone, rhyming patterns and more as they are reading and writing their poems. Students have a hard time with line breaks when they read and write poetry, but like I said before, the more they read and write, the more comfortable they become!
There is a wonderful site that explores many different forms of poetry: Read Write Think gives students the opportunity to different forms of poetry. It is a great site that walks through step by step writing. I also like to offer students a chance to explore Shel Silverstein's website where they find information about Shel Silverstein, can read his poems, and also play games like "Name that Poem."
Here are a few poetry books that I love to share throughout the month as well...
Poetrees, No More Homework, No More Tests; Where the Sidewalk Ends, Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, Poetry for Kids: Emily Dickinson.
I hope you enjoy exploring poetry with your students! It's a wonderful way to welcome spring and warmer temperatures! As the year begins to wind down, I always love the creativity that comes out while students read and write poetry!
You might like to check out these poetry resources that I have available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store:
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