Monthly Archives: April 2016

April-National Poetry Month-5th Grade “I Am” Poems

Earlier this month I celebrated National Poetry Month with fifth grade students.  At the first library visit I read the picture book biography, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton written and illustrated by Dan Tate (Peachtree Publishers, 2015).  This is a moving story about a slave who teaches himself to read and goes on to write poetry, publishing several books in his lifetime.  This is a good book to read to these students as they study the U.S. Civil War and are very familiar with the concepts.  We discuss how his poetry expressed his feelings about himself and his life.

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Dan Tate

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Dan Tate

“I Am” Poem Template

I found a template on  the Freeology site (http://freeology.com/graphicorgs/i-am-poem-template/).  I gave copies of the template to the teachers and instructed the students to express themselves as George Moses Horton did in his poetry.  The teachers had their students complete their poems during morning work time or other convenient slot.  Some of the students put a lot of effort and thought into writing their poems.  I chose the best works and asked the students if they wanted me to video them reading them.  Only 2 students out of about 20 declined.

Flip Camera, Windows Movie Maker and YouTube

Working around teachers’ schedules (they were all prepping their students for the upcoming Georgia Milestones, our state tests), I managed to record each class with a Flip camera.  I still love these little cameras.  So convenient and easy to use.  I put the videos together using Windows Movie Maker.  Now, ideally, if it weren’t the week before testing, I would have had the students put the movies together.  However, I knew they didn’t have the time to take away from instructional time.  I usually like to give them hands-on experience with this type of technology, even if it’s only a few students and not the entire class.

After completing the movies, I uploaded them to my YouTube channel and emailed each teacher the link to their class’s video.  Then I did a post on our school’s Facebook page to let parents and community members see our students’ work.

 

Post of our YouTube videos on the school's Facebook page

Post of the YouTube videos on the school’s Facebook page

 

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April Is National Poetry Month-1st Grade “I Am” Poems

Poetry writing continued in the library all week!  I chose different poetry writing activities for each grade level, geared toward their development level.  I found a template for an “I Am” poem on the Freeology website, but decided it was too long for first graders (and we only had about 20 minutes to complete the activity) so I adapted it.

A shortened version of an "I Am" poem template

A shortened version of an “I Am” poem template

After discussing what the students knew about poetry and reading a few poems, they started writing.  I wanted to videotape the students reading their poems, but I decided that I would not have the time to do it with the 80+ students in all 4 first grade classes.  I chose the most successful poem; ones that were the most original and showed some careful thought.

Flipgrid

I chose to use Flipgrid to record the students as it is quick and the students can easily take part in the process.  Flipgrid is also easy to share.  I emailed the teachers the link to the grid and I also placed it on the school’s Facebook page.  Check out some of our budding poets:

http://flipgrid.com/#27fe2c72

Flipgrid screen capture

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April is National Poetry Month-“Never” Poems

All week we have been reading and writing poetry in the library!  The second grade students had a chance to write a poem involving alliteration.  I found a pin on Pinterest that led me to an entry on WriteShop.com called ” ‘Never’ Poems: Write a Silly Poem” by Kim Kautzer.  It is silly and the children had a ton of fun writing and reading their poems.

Coming Up with Words: Word Bank, Dictionary and Thesaurus

We have 4 second grade classes at my school, so I had the opportunity to modify and adapt my instruction as the week went on.  Of course, the last class went the smoothest and was probably the most successful.  I like to think of this as perfecting the process for next year!  First we discussed what the students knew about poetry and I mentioned that repetition is common in poetry and alliteration is also found in poems.  I found that the students had an easier time writing if they chose a consonant and just brainstormed words that began with that letter first and wrote them down.  They then worked from the list they wrote.  After working with two classes I decided we needed to have dictionary and thesaurus on each table for those that got stuck or couldn’t think of enough words.

Format for the Poem

Here is the format:

I would never eat

I would never wear

I would never buy

I would never read

I would never go

I would always like to think about

And I promise I will neverNever Poem by 2nd grade students using template

Flipgrid and Facebook

The students had a good time writing these poems.  They would tickle themselves when reading them and just laugh out loud!  How fun to hear laughter in the library.  I chose the best poems and had those students record themselves using Flipgrid.  We pay for a subscription to Flipgrid and it is worth it!  Flipgrid provides the students with an opportunity to videotape themselves and quickly see the results.  It also gives the students an authentic audience.  After I finished recording each class, I emailed the link to the teacher so that all the students could see the videos of the poems.

Our school now has a Facebook page (run by yours truly!), which gives us the chance to showcase our students’ work to an even wider audience.  It’s also an incentive.  When I tell the students that I will be choosing the best work to video tape, some will ask, “Are you going to put it on Facebook?”

Watch our students reading their “Never Poem”.  http://flipgrid.com/#2cb48680

Flipgrid screenshot

 

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April is National Poetry Month-Spine Poetry

April is an interesting month at our school.  We return from spring break and two weeks later we give state standardized tests.  But poetry seems to be a good thing to cover; it’s fun, creative and no pressure!

Today I worked with a fourth grade class and they made spine poems.  I start by asking them what they knew about poetry using IB (International Baccalaureate) key concept questions (what is it-form, why do people write it-perspective, what is the function. etc.).  We discuss what found poetry is and let them know that spine poetry is a type of that poetic form. I assign them a section of picture book shelves (to limit too much traveling around the library) and limit them to 6 books or so (to decrease the mess of incorrect reshelving).   They really have a good time!  They work in groups of four or so students and most need very little help.  Here are three of the best.

Spine poem composed by 4th grade students.

Spine poems composed by 4th grade students.

IMG_8946

Spine poetry by 4th grade students.

 

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