I know that the official National Library Week was last week, but at our school we were giving the state assessment tests so we postpone NLW every year. This year I decided that some of the grade levels would participate in poetry activities that relate to books. I have wanted to do spine poetry ever since I saw Andy Plemmon’s blog posts about it last year (http://barrowmediacenter.com/). I finally took the plunge!
I chose fourth grade as my guinea pigs and so far (only one class) it was very successful. I introduced the topic of poetry and asked the students what they knew about poetry. I read two poems, one from Jeff Foxworthy’s Dirt on My Shirt and one from A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms and then explained the form of spine poetry. I had prepared one in advance and read it to the class.
Modeling Title Selection
I took one of Andy’s suggestions and had each group work in only one picture book section (which gave them 3 shelves of books to work with). I modeled the thought process and chose several titles and played around with it. I limited the students to a maximum of 5 books (too much reshelving otherwise) and had them work in groups of 2 or 3.
Our First Spine Poems by Fourth Grade Students
Here are the most successful ones from our very first attempt.
I took video of the students reading their poems on my iPhone and iPad but of course the video plays upside down and after too many minutes of trying to figure out how to rotate it I gave up (got it rotated once, but only 45 degrees-which is more annoying than upside down). I will rerecord the students and post later. It’s so much better when they read the poems aloud.