Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Having Fun with Poetry!

Now we're taking a short poetry break between nonfiction units. What fun! Here are some things that are working really well in my classroom.

Poetry Display: Over the past few years, I've scoured the used bookstores to gather enough poetry books so that every student can have a book. Now I have a poetry display with a wide variety for students to browse during independent reading, before school, and during free time. They really like them! This year, my students love The Random House Book of Poetry for of my personal favorites as well. I think I'll have to attach a GPS tracker to this book to keep track of it! Another favorite is Mary Had a Little Jam, a book of silly rhymes.

Exploring Poetry: I also like to use class time to get students used to browsing through poetry book. I used the Exploring Poetry poster below to get our explorations started. While some students will just sit down and look at poetry, others need more of a scavenger hunt approach. They eagerly started working with the sticky notes to mark different poems. The sticky notes are left in the books throughout the unit, so that other students can see the breadcrumbs left behind.

Common Language
 I started the unit by talking about poetic structure, and we worked to find the number of lines and stanzas in poetry. Taking just a few minutes to do this makes talking about poems much easier. I've also started out with having students do a few copying tasks. Readers have to see that everything in a poem is a choice made by the author, and rewriting a short poem is a great way to examine line breaks, capitalization, and punctuation.

Poetry Anthology
This year, I want students to experience reading and rereading poems for different purposes. I put together an assortment of poems into a booklet that I copied for students. This booklet is useful because students can write directly on the poems and mark favorite passages. Instead of just seeing poems on single pages, students are going back to the same poems again and again--"Oh, I think there's personification in the stinkbug poem!" or "This is my favorite!"

All of the poems are written by me or in the public domain...I'll be adding it to one of my poetry packs shortly. Write to me if you'd like to try it.

Now we're moving forward into examining figurative language. It's so much fun to see how students respond!


  1. Hi Emily. My fourth graders and I have just started a poetry unit. We have been "noticing" different aspects of poetry and starting to write some poetry of our own. I am interested in finding out more about the poems you chose to place in an anthology for the kids. I think it is a great idea to give them copies that they may write on. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for writing! I've emailed you a copy of the anthology...I hope you like it! Have a great weekend!

  3. This is so funny! This is exactly what I just began working on with my 4th graders. I actually just blogged about how I am teaching my students to find figurative language (an interpret it .. eek) through poetry and other text.
    It's been tricky, and I've been scouring books and the internet to find good quality poems that exemplify what I am teaching (elements of poetry and types of figurative language). I'd love to see what you've put together!
    Thanks for sharing your amazing ideas!

    Heather -

  4. Thanks for writing, Heather! I've sent a copy of the anthology your way!

  5. Hi Emily! I'm working with 3rd graders on the exact topic above - poetry. My kids are discovering my collection of poetry and really enjoying the different types/styles. We've discussed some figurative language outside of poetry (similes, metaphors and now looking at puns through the book "Punished"). I'd love to see what you've included in your anthology as we are squarely focusing on poetry in the coming weeks. - Wendy -

  6. Thanks for writing, Wendy! I sent the anthology and I hope that the poems work well with your third graders. :)

  7. Hi Emily! I love your blog! I would love to have a copy of your anthology. I teach 3rd graders and I love your approach to teaching poetry. Thanks for sharing all of your ideas. Kelly