Poetry Lessons 2012

We’ve once again been busy in the media center preparing for our annual “Poem in My Pocket” day.  We have stretched the event across 2 days, April 12 & 13 to create a 20 minute space for each class to come to the library and read their original and favorite poems into our open mic at a poetry cafe.  We will once again broadcast the event live via Adobe Connect.  You are welcome to attend virtually on those 2 days (schedule will be posted soon) by visiting http://clarkecounty.adobeconnect.com/barrowmediacenter

Some of our poetry lesson ideas can be found by visiting http://technopoetry.wikispaces.com/.

This year, I’ve been using Poll Everywhere a lot to craft list poems  with whole classes.  After looking at several mentor texts, the students each create one line in a list poem about “Things in Our Desks”.  The idea is to choose one item in your desk and add some describing words in front of the noun to make the line sound more poetic.  Using the iPads, the students submit their line for the poem.  All lines appear on the smart board, and we read the poem together and talk about revisions we might make if we were to finalize the poem.  I’ve also been using Poll Everywhere to create shape poems.  Students submit their description of a cat.  Then, I copy all of their lines and paste them into Tagxedo and put them into a cat shape.  Before the class leaves, I print a copy of the poem for them to take with them.

Our 5th graders have been working on a collaborative project between the media center and art.  Students are taking digital photographs of themselves, altering the photos in Picnik (before it disappears), and writing an autobiographical poem inspired by their photograph.

Our 5th graders have also been learning about many elements of poetry such as rhyme scheme, alliteration, personification, similes, metaphor, hyperbole, and more.  After looking at each element and hearing multiple poems that showcase different structures of poetry, the students have a poetry scavenger hunt through stacks and stacks of poetry books in order to find each of the elements that we discussed.

We are also hosting our 2nd annual poetry contest.  Students have been busy submitting their poems for judging on Monday April 9th.  We hope to have all poems judged prior to Poem in Your Pocket Day.

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PreK Shape Poetry

Today was lesson 2 in a 3-part collaboration with Ms. Spurgeon’s PreK class.  Last week, we read multiple examples of shape poems and wrote a model poem as a class.  Today, students focused on writing their own poems.  To prepare, Ms. Spurgeon and her parapro, Ms. Melissa, drew large shapes for each student and cut them out.  These shapes were the symbols that each student uses in class to label various belongings.  Each symbol has come to have special meaning to each student.  I pulled nonfiction and fiction books related to each symbol so that students could reference the books for words to put inside their shapes.

I opened today’s lesson by reading a poem from Joyce Sidman’s Meow, Ruff: A story in concrete poetry.  I used this as a reminder to students that the words that go inside the shape must somehow represent the shape.  Ms. Spurgeon and I found that it was a common mistake for students to want to put whatever words were in their heads instead of focusing on their shape.  She reiterated my opening by sharing a poem that she wrote about chocolate and reminding students that all of her lines were about chocolate.

Next, students each received the books about their symbol and proceeded to 3 work spaces where the pre-cut symbols were already out at chairs.  Ms. Spurgeon, Ms. Melissa, and I each went to these areas and sat with students as they worked.  Students began by looking through their books for ideas from the pictures or reading the words with adult assistance.  As they decided on words, students sounded out words and wrote their words inside the shapes with their best handwriting and spelling.  Next, students read their lines to an adult and the adult wrote the correct spelling of each word in parentheses.

Ms. Spurgeon will continue this lesson by giving students time to finish their poem and add color to it.  They will also practice reading their poems before part 3.  The last part of this collaboration will be recording each student reading his/her poem on camera and sharing those videos on Teacher Tube.

I was surprised by how helpful having books about their symbols was for the students.  Many got ideas from the pictures and several even used direct words from the text.  For example, one girl wrote a poem about rabbits.  In the picture, she got so excited when she saw that the rabbit’s ears were going down.  This turned into a line in her poem that was actually written on the rabbit’s ear.  Another student read her books about apples with Ms. Melissa.  She took facts such as “apples can be made into applesauce” and “apples are mostly harvested in the fall” and used pieces of those lines in her apple shape.

I’ll be sharing more about our media center’s support of poetry writing in the coming days and weeks.