WHY? Appreciation of literature, interest in poetry
WHAT? April is National Poetry Month!
HOW? Celebrate poetry month in your classroom or in your school with some of these activities:
Visiting Poet - Invite a poet from your community to visit and read poetry.
Encourage the children to generate questions to ask the author before her
Poetry Wall of Fame – Decorate a bulletin board in the front hall or lunchroom and encourage teachers to display their students’ poems on it.
Send a Poem – Let children copy poems or write original poems on postcards and mail them to friends and family members. *They could also send poems to each other via the internet.
Poetry Search – Let each child choose her favorite poet and research information in the school library or on the internet. Where did their author grow up? What made her want to become a poet? Do they have pets? A family? If they could talk to the poet, what would they like to ask her?
Poetry Detectives - Challenge the children to be “detectives” and locate the poetry section in your school library. Learn this rhyme: For an emergency call 911 any time. In the library 811 for a poem or rhyme.
Poetry Hunt - Cut out magazine pictures of different objects and glue them on index cards. Place the cards in a sack and have each child draw one. Can they find a poem to go with their picture?
Poetry Contest – Create a poetry competition and encourage each child to submit a favorite poem that they have written. (Make sure everyone wins a ribbon! You could give awards for the funniest, shortest, longest, or other categories.)
Poetry Workshop – How about a poetry workshop where each child writes a poem that classmates critique? This could be an excellent way to integrate grammar skills.
WHY? oral language skills, auditory memory, self-confidence
WHAT? poster board, glitter, glue, markers, cardstock
HOW? Write “Poetry Club” on the poster board and decorate with glitter and glue. Explain that anyone who stands up in front of the class and recites a nursery rhyme or poem can be a member of the poetry club. (You might want to model reciting a poem for them.) After they’ve recited their poem, let them sign their name on the poster.
MORE? Design a membership card for the poetry club and run off on cardstock. Present one to the children after they’ve recited a poem for their classmates.
Adaptations: Trace around a child’s body. Hang it on the wall and call it the “Poetry Person.” Use as you would the poster for letting children sign their names after reciting a poem.
WHY? oral language, interest in poetry
WHAT? poems, snacks
HOW? Plan a poetry party for your students called the “Poetry Café.” Involve children in planning refreshments, making decorations, writing invitations, etc. Encourage each child to learn and practice reciting a poem. Explain that in the coffee houses instead of clapping, the audience would “snap” their fingers for the poets.
WHY? interest in poetry, oral language
WHAT? instant hot chocolate mix, coffee mugs, copies of poems
HOW? Ask each parent to send in a box of instant hot chocolate and an old coffee mug. On Friday afternoons let the children make hot chocolate in their mugs. As everyone enjoys their hot chocolate, the teacher and children read poetry. Who wouldn’t fall in love with poetry?
WHY? interest in poetry, vocabulary
WHAT? poetry books, anthologies, internet, magazines
HOW? Choose a poem and read it to your class at the beginning of each day. You can read it and “let it be.” Or, you could use the poem to introduce vocabulary or to spark a discussion.
MORE? Assign each child a different day to be responsible for bringing in the poem.
Hint! This might be a good activity for children to do with their parents. Display poems on a wall, add them to your poetry treasure box, hang them on a clothesline in the hall, or have a seasonal tree where you hang the poems. Choose a poem each day to read over the school intercom.
WHY? motivation to read, reading for pleasure
WHAT? shoebox, gold spray paint, 5” x 8” index cards, glitter, glue, sequins, copies of poems
HOW? Spray paint a shoebox or similar box with gold spray paint. Decorate with glitter, sequins, etc. to make it look like a treasure box. As you introduce and share poetry with your students, glue copies of the poems to index cards and “save” them in the treasure box. Whenever you have a few extra minutes, invite a child pick a card from the treasure box and read it to the class. Tell children if they are sad, or lonely, or bored…whatever they might be feeling, they can always go to the poetry treasure box and find a poem to enjoy.
MORE? Invite children to write original poems and add them to the treasure box. Let one child take the box home each night and share it with their families. Have children create their own personal poetry treasure boxes.
WHY? home/school connection; fluency, reading skills
WHAT? 3 ring notebook or pocket folder copies of poems, nursery rhymes, finger plays, songs
HOW? Let the children decorate their poetry songbooks with markers, crayons, and other art media. Each week prepare a copy of a new poem, song, or rhyme that relates to a classroom theme or something children are interested in. Write the poem on a large chart, poster, or make a PowerPoint. Also prepare individual copies of the poems for children. (Increase the font size and double space between the words to accommodate the children’s visual needs.)
Monday - Introduce the poem as a shared reading experience and practice reading several times.
Tuesday – Give each child a copy of the poem to illustrate and add to their notebooks.
Wednesday – Use poems with instructional groups to reinforce specific reading skills.
Thursday – Use for independent reading or partner reading.
Friday - Let children take home their poetry songbooks. Ask them to read or sing the poem to someone in their family over the weekend. Encourage parents to sign their name and write their comments and compliments on each poem.
Hint! Do not put illustrations on these poems. Let the children use their imaginations and create their own pictures of what it means to them.
MORE? You can also use spiral notebooks for this project. Have children cut out the poem and paste it on the left side. They can use the right side to illustrate the poem.
WHY? fluency, confidence, personal pleasure
WHAT? nursery rhymes on language experience charts, big books of poems, pocket charts of poems, PowerPoints, etc.
HOW? Use some of the techniques below to improve fluency of reading.
Choral Reading – First the teacher models reading the poem fluently and
with expression. Then the children reread the poem 3 or 4 times with the
Echo Reading – The teacher reads each line, and then the children “echo” the line after the teacher.
Take a Turn – The teacher reads a line, and then the children read a line. (You could also let one group of children read the first line, another group the second line, and so on.)
Popcorn- While reading stop and call out the word “popcorn.” Whenever the teacher says, “Popcorn,” the children must pick up and continue reading.
Hint! Children will also enjoy saying “Popcorn” as they read with a partner.
Magic Word – Choose a magic word or phrase in the poem. Every time
you come to that word or phrase children clap their hands, jump up and
down, or make another motion or noise.
Poetry Tapes – Make tapes of favorite poems. (Parents, children, the principal, and other “celebrities” could read them.) Have children follow along with a printed copy. *Record short poems several times in a row for repetition.
Coaching – Read a poem the wrong way without expression and let the children correct you and suggest appropriate changes. *Make sure to track each line from left to write as you read!