Poetry Corner

In addition to reading poems, young children should have opportunities to write their own poetry.
Hint! With young children, do these activities with a small group. Older children can write poems independently.

Fill in the Blank - Write several lines of poetry, leaving blanks at the end of each line. Encourage the children to fill in words that rhyme. Have children help you sound out the words as you write them. For example:

          I saw a pig
             Who could ______.
          I saw a cat
             Who could ______.
          I saw a sheep
             Who could ______.
          And I can rhyme
             Any time!

Feeling Poem - Children complete each line:

          Line one: Name an emotion
          Line two: “Smells like. . .”
          Line three: “Tastes like. . .”
          Line four: “Sounds like. . .”
          Line five: “Feels like. . . .”
          Line six: “Feels like. . .”
          Line seven: “Feels like. . .”
          Line eight: Name the emotion 

*The idea for this “Feeling Poem” came from “Poem in Your Pocket Day” at nyc.gov/html/poem.

Acrostic Poem - Children write a word vertically and then think of a word that starts with each letter. They can use their name, a holiday, vocabulary word, etc. for acrostic poems.

Sticker Poem - Put a sticker at the top of each child’s page and challenge her to write a rhyme about her sticker.

Musical Poems - Play distinguishable music (classical, country, lullaby, march, jazz, etc.) for children to listen to. Ask them write a poem suggested by the music.

Picture Poem - Cut out pictures from magazines, calendars, catalogs, etc. Let children choose a picture, and then write a poem about it.

Hand & Foot Poems - Children trace around their hand or their foot and then write a poem on the shape.

Fast Food Poem - Children bring in a bag from a fast food restaurant, and then write an original poem on the bag. Put the pages together to make a class book.

Predictable Poems - Start with sentences similar to the ones below. All children have to do is fill in a missing word, and they’ll have a poem. They can use words that rhyme, nonsense words, or words that don’t rhyme.

          I like_____.                   I want____.
          I like _____                   I want____.
          I like _____.                  I want____.
          Do you like____?         But I don’t want____.

          I can _____.                  I feel____.
          I can_____.                   I feel____.
          I can_____.                   I feel____.
          Can you_____?            Do you feel_____?

Patchwork Poetry Quilt - Give each child a 10” square and invite him to write a rhyme, illustrate a rhyme, or copy a favorite poem on the square. Hole punch the squares and tie the corners together with yarn as shown above to make a quilt.

A FINAL NOTE! At a workshop I did recently Susan Holland came up and told me a story that reaffirms the lasting memory of a poem. She said her father taught her the poem below when she was four or five and learning how to tie her shoes. After 25 or 30 years she bent down to tie one of her student’s shoes and amazingly this poem popped out of her head:

Tying Shoes

          Make an X.
          Pull it down.

          Make a loop,
          Wrap it around

          Push it through,
          You've tied your shoe!

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