National Library Week and National Poetry Month

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 (  I finally took the plunge!

Spine Poetry

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.

Spine poem by 4th grade Students

Spine poem by 4th grade Students


Spine poem by 4th grade students


Spine poem by 4th grade students

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.

More Poetry Forms to Follow!


1 Comment

Filed under Books

One response to “National Library Week and National Poetry Month

  1. Susanne

    Well, I must say it’s been a long time since I have fallen in love with a teaching activity like I did with this one!! Poetry is such a fun topic to teach children and it provides ample opportunity for thinking outside the box. This lesson does just that, and is an excellent collaborative activity for students as well!
    Thanks for sharing!

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