When planning for poetry, it's worth the time investment to put together a core set of poems. This can be as simple as a stapled packet, or more elaborate as a small book bound with a plastic comb binding.
As I have worked through poetry over the last few weeks, I've given students class time here and there to read the poems in their booklets. As we learn new concepts, I get to hear them talk about familiar poems in new ways. Revisiting the same poems again and again helps students to realize that there are layers of meaning within poems, layers that may not be apparent on a first read.
For example, on Friday, I taught about similes. Then the students scattered throughout the room, on a mission to find five similes to share with the class. "Look! There is a simile in this one!" a student said, bringing me Sea Fever. Other students were surprised to find the simile in "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star"--a simile that they have probably sung since they were small children, but never noticed.
Some of the poems in my poetry collection are included in our Readers Theatre scripts, which students are preparing to present on Tuesday. "Classroom Creature is a simile," one student said. "That's the poem that I'm reading for our scripts." Now, the poem in question is actually an extended metaphor comparing a pencil sharpener to a creature. But this observation, and the student's familiarity with the poem, allowed us to have the simile versus metaphor conversation pretty early. How great!
Putting together a poetry collection to share with your class is a pretty easy task, and well worth the time investment. I have one already formatted for copying available in my Figurative Language packet, but you could easily make your own. Choose poems that show a wide variety of techniques, from simple and familiar nursery rhymes to more complex and thoughtful poems. Over the weeks of your poetry unit, you will be able to see students revisit poems to find new meanings and new techniques.
-Our thank you letters unit is chugging along nicely! This week, the students loved taking sentences that were written formally and rewriting them informally. I've never seen this level of writing control in fourth graders before. Daily Sentences are now in a folder on Google Drive. If you are interested in viewing them, write to me with the Gmail address and I'll add you to the permissions.
-As I am working on poetry, I'm beginning to dust off my nonfiction introduction unit, looking at which materials I want to use and which I want to adjust. If you are headed in this direction, you may want to check out my book, Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Retelling, or my Main Ideas and Details Unit.