Grade: all

#1351. Poetry Ideas- compiled from TeachersNet

Reading/Writing, level: all
Posted Sat Oct 16 07:52:11 PDT 1999 by Arley (
Concepts Taught: Poems, Poetry, Reading, Spelling

Poetry Ideas from TeachersNet
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Posted by Sylvia/CA... I like to use fun poetry! on 10/13/99
I find that kids love rhythmic, fun poetry! I use lots of Carolyn Graham's Jazz Chants and Jazz Chants for Children (by Oxford University Press) for starters, but LOTS of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky poems are very rhythmic, as well as entertaining. These are great for analysis of humor in the English language. Kids who are more advanced in their comprehension tend to more easily understand the humor, which seems to be a higher level of understanding. I like to use poetry because the rhythmic nature of many children's poems is inviting and kids seem to be more eager to try speaking (chanting) along with the poem or chant. They love to "play" with spoken words in this way, too. I often will have them snap, tap or clap to the rhythms. (As a matter of fact, when I've done ESL conference presentations, I've usually titled them "Snap, Clap and Tap Your Way to Language Acquisition.") Of course, for reading and writing practice, there's the follow up obligatory analysis of the poem for vocabulary, punctuation, rhyming words, or words that follow a specific spelling pattern. I often have students take different lines and we turn the poems into choral readings with individual/group voices, high/low voices, etc. You probably already know that kids LOVE to record themselves, so this is a good opportunity for them to
flex those vocal chords and record their chants and rhymes for each other!
For writing practice, I also look for ways we can substitute different words for given parts of speech and still keep the rhythmic quality intact. This is very popular with the kids! (In case you DO happen to have Carolyn Graham's book,Jazz Chants, there's a chant in there called "Tall Trees". After we had learned it thoroughly, we substituted words from the story, Charlotte's Web and created our own chants.
Little runt, little runt
Poor little runt.
Little runt, little runt
Poor little runt.
The little pig is running
He's poor little runt.
(Now, this is not rocket science, but for kids new to the language, it's a big accomplishment. Once you see the "Tall trees" poem you will see how the pattern fits.)As kids are more comfortable with the poems, I have them create their written own versions of the poem. I found a book called More Phonics Through Poetry (by
Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, ISBN 0-673-36346-5) that emphasizes specific phonics patterns within the poetry. Some are more effective than others for second language learners, but I like the resources in this book because it provides opportunities to for kids to listen to and repeat specific sounds, as well as analyze spelling patterns, prefixes, suffixes, etc.
For helping kids work on past tense verbs, I like to use a book called The Z Was Zapped. It's a picture book with a minimum of words but allows for LOTS of vocabulary development. Well, of the top of my head, those are a few resources you might consider. Good luck! (Please excuse the typos and grammatical errors! I just looked at the clock and I'm late for a class!!) -->Sylvia/CA

Posted by StaceyL,, on 8/29/99
I teach third grade. I pick out a poem each week related to the story of the week. I put it on chart paper and the kids read it each day. On Friday I pass out a copy of the poem to be put in their poetry notebook which is just a folder with brass brads. The kids have quite a collection at the end of the year. The kids seem to enjoy poems by Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein.
Posted by Susie,, on 6/14/99
I also do poetry notebooks. I call them BEAR books (Be Excited About Reading.) They are 3-ring binders that kids keep their poems in after I have them copied on 3-ring paper. We usually do about 2 poems/week and I try to keep them seasonal. Kids keep them in their desks during the week and we use them whenever we can, and then I have them take them home on Fridays with their Bag Books (big ziplocks with books and games to use at home.) Many of my poems I have gotten from colleagues, many from chatboards, some from books. I do all of the Chicken Soup with Rice poems too, and I also include the poems that are included in our reading series.My goal next year is to have a Poetry Reading and Picnic night in the spring. I would like to have small groups of kids dramatize some of the poems and wear simple costumes. I figure we could do this one evening for the parents and then have a picnic. I'd love any ideas anyone has on poetry notebooks too. I am incorporating their use into my masters paper, which will be on Building a Partnership with Parents to Increase Literacy.Happy Summer!
Posted by Jan D.,, on 6/26/99
The Poetry Reading and Picnic is a great idea. I'm starting a new position as a reading teacher in the fall and just might use that idea. Thanks Susie! I have my students use highlighters to mark words that follow certain patterns (magic-e, bossy-r, etc.) They never seem to get tired of it! I also heard a creative idea at a workshop. I'm going to try it next year. You copy a poem onto chart paper. Then you have the students "swat a word". They use a flyswatter with a box cut into the middle. I bought three neon colored flyswatters and plan to cut different sized boxes in each. The kids could swat words with ee, nouns, words with ing, etc etc... It's a cute idea I thought!
Posted by jean,, on 4/25/99
It is called the Poetry Gallery. You must choose poems of all different styles and forms. I have imagist, sonnets, Elizbeth Barret Brown to Ezra Pound to anonymous poems of my own, to poems from previous students to poems from students that I went to school with. Some flowery, some about teenagers, some about sports, love . .. . all ranges. I post them around the room. I even set a table at the front of the room and spaced them out on the table. You want about 4 more poems than you have students. When students come in you talk about a gallery. What is
the atmosphere? Voices are like what? How do people act? What is the purpose? (To enjoy, analyze and discuss). Next for accountability, I give them a list of blank lines. THey are required to read a certain number of poems (less than all). They must record on a sheet of blank lines, each poem title and author that they read. TO the side they are to mark the one they like the most and the one they like the least. Once they have choosen these, they are to copy down their favorite. Next I have a series of questions they are to answer about both their favortie and least favorite poems. These questions deat with style and why they chose the poem. Can lead to great class discuusions. Who also read this one? What did you think? WHo disliked this one?L why? Who else chose that as a favorite? Why? What do you like in poetry?It is a great wayt ot introduce students to various styles. If you are careful you will find that most students will find a poem they relate to.
Posted by Jean,, on 4/25/99
Another great activity: Group poetry. Divide the class into groups of four children each. I place large sheets of paper (taken from our bulletin board paper 2 ft by 3 ft) around the room. One for each group. Once I have them grouped, (I do the grouping or number off) They are given a marker and a card. The card has on it the first line of a poem. They are to write it at the top of the paper. Then as a group they are to develop the next line of the poem. I only give them a short amount of time (2-3 minutes) Unity and flow are important and hopefully seen on this day. When they get back around to their first poem, they have to write the final line. My 7th graders enjoyed it! I posted the best of each class out in the hallway. One of the best opening lines came from Emily Dickinson: Who are you? All middle school children can identify with this question!! My only problem was convincing them that poems did not have to rhyme!!
Posted by Skye on 4/26/99
Hi Anika! I have used tapes of various types of songs with my students and discussed how the songs have messages we can all relate to. I've used "American Pie" by Don McClean, "Waterfalls" by TLC, "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin, some Garth Brooks songs a friend picked out (sorry I am bad at remembering the titles, but we team-taught the unit and she brough them in.) Basically what we did was we spent one day playing the songs and discussing them. Then, the next day we had student's bring in songs that they felt had a message. We previewed the songs that evening or through out the next few evenings, and then played on each day in class. The student who had chosen the song explained what message the song had in it. We set strict guidelines as to what was acceptable in the song (no profanity, sex, etc.) and we didn't have any problems. Then, we went on to read poems which had a message--I focused a lot on ballads. Finally, we had the students write their own "message" poems. It has been a successful unit for me in both high school classes and middle school classes. Good luck.
Posted by elaine,, on 10/15/99
We do a Poem of the Week. Introduce a poem on Monday, usually on the overhead. I read it to the kids, then they read along with me. On Tuesday, I give each student a copy. We read together, then take turns reading paragraphs. (Boys vs. girls, table 1 vs. table 2) Each group stands as they read. Tuesday we underline nouns with a green crayon. Wednesday, we recite aloud again, then circle verbs in red crayon. Thursday we recite again, if time. Friday, they illustrate poems for morning work, then volunteers come to front of room and recite alone. They absolutely love this! I give out an award certificate with a piece of candy for their fine work. Most have memorized the poem by Friday and almost everyone wants a chance to try it. Even non-readers are pretty good at this. Pick poems that rhyme, it's easier for them to remember. Hope this helps
Posted by Ina,, on 10/15/99
I teach first grade, but I'm trying something new with poetry this year. We have a short four line poem related to our weekly theme. I either use a theme-related poem that I can find, or make one up. We read it, discuss it, practice it, etc. The children then glue it into a spiral notebook that we call our Poetry Journal. The children illustrate the poem, and then take the notebook home to share with their parents as homework. The children and I absolutely love this, as do the parents. It is a great reading reinforcement tool! I hope this helps! Ina
Posted by Kathi D/1/CA on 10/15/99
I use the book Poem of the Week by Teaching Resource Center (I'll check on the real names Monday!). I copy the poem on the left half of the paper (8 1/2x11 landscape), leaving room on the right for kid's illustration. I have an overhead copy of the poem. Together we go through and underline the rhyming words in green, the word wall words in red, lesson words in blue (short e, long a, etc.). Some may be underlined more than once. In the spring nearly all the words are underlined because so many are on the word wall by then. I make it a quick lesson, they enjoy it, and look forward to the illustrating. They keep them in a poetry folder. This year, my goal is to write each poem on chart paper so it is where the kids can read it during centers and we can all
read it when we have those extra few minutes in line, etc.
Posted by Marge :) on 10/15/99
I found this simple idea in a teacher's magazine. I use it with my First Graders to teach Nursery Rhymes ... they love it!!! I typed out 6 rhymes on large construction paper and made it into a book. At circle time, a child rolls a die and whatever number it lands on, we read that rhyme for the day..pretty soon, they start memorizing them. In years past, I have picked six new rhymes or just added on, making 12 in our book (then, of course, we roll the two dice). Hope this helps!! Marge :)
Posted by karen,, on 10/15/99
I use poetry in my classroom twice a week. I introduce the poem to the class and give each child a copy. They bring the poem home and share it with their families. They they return the poem to class and they paste it in a index card notebook. That way we have a collection of poetry which we read chorally throughout the year. I do not have them memorize the poems. Eventually they are memorized because we read and reread them in class as a group. The kids love this because there are so many great poems to go with themes as well as times of the year
Posted by Michael on 10/16/99
Try doing a POEM OF THE WEEK. I introduce it on Monday (say it, sing it, go over the meaning and circle nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs articles, spelling patterns, etc.). I then do a pre-test and give them 20 words from the poem to spell. Both the pre-test and a copy of the poem are put into homework books and sent home Monday night. They must rewrite mispelled words and during the week part of their homework is to memorize and study the poem.
Everyday we recite old poems and the new poem. On Friday I give them a Cloze/fill-in-the-blanks version of the poem of the week. It is always marked out of 100 and usually consists of 90-95 blanks and 5 questions (e.g. name a noun in line one; name an article in line two; name the contraction in line eight, what two words is it a short form for?). I mark the Clozes and then staple them into their homework books.
Parents sign everything so I know they've seen it and THEY LOVE this way of teaching spelling while learning poetry. I also introduce new poems and songs every day. Over eight years of teaching I've managed to build up quite a repertoire of poems and songs and seem to always amaze myself at how I remember them and the fun I have with them. I often get the kids to do different things while reciting: whisper, sing, shout, say it in a sleepy voice, like a rock star, like a country singer, like a robot.
Also we have been doing a lot of sing and say. Sing one line, say the next, sing one line, say the next. Reciting the whole poem in syllables is also fun and reinforces spelling patterns and helps them break down words which improves ability to spell unfamiliar words.
If you do a lot of poetry and singing (and make it fun) you'll be amazed at how much more fun you and your students have and how much improvement you see in your students' language skills.