Tag Archives: poetry

Kindergarten Poem in My Pocket

I have been celebrating National Poetry Month for several years with our students with most grade levels writing different types of poems.  I wanted to do something with the kindergarten students this year, but couldn’t figure out how to have them write poetry.  I came across the idea of Poem in Your Pocket Day.  That was it!!!

First I read several poems to the students and we talked about poetry (what it was, etc.) . I created a template for a pocket, labeled “Poem in My Pocket” and had the students decorate it. There was a place for them to write their name.

Choosing Poems for Their Pockets

Before their next library visit I glued a back onto their pocket front and punched holes into the top.  I tied yarn onto it forming a loop.  I copied a variety of poems for them to choose from.  They got to choose four different poems and fit them into their pockets.pockets

 

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Choosing her 4 poems.

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Fitting their poems into their pockets.

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Modelling the Give!

When I first told the students they would be giving away their poems, several of them said, “No, we want to keep them!”  We decided they could keep one or two but should share the rest.  I took a couple of students from each class and we went in search of someone to share our poems with.  Success!

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Giving a poem (and reading it) to one of our custodians.

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The art teacher receiving a poem.

 

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Our Assistant Head of School, who then read her poem aloud with lots of expression and enthusiasm.

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Our Head of School who after reading the poem, dated it and added the names of the students as she put it on her bulletin board.

The first day I did this last week, one of the students asked to give our Head of School a poem, but she was in a meeting.  After dismissal duty while chatting on the sidewalk, she said a “little fellow” gave her a poem as he got on the bus and I explained about Poem in Your Pocket Day.  Yessssss, success!  I love when a plan comes together!

I will definitely do this again next year.

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Blackout Poetry with Fourth Graders

I decided to be a risk taker and try blackout poetry with my fourth grade classes.  I saw this several years ago but wasn’t sure how it would work and whether they would “get it”. Previous examples used newspaper or magazine articles and I just didn’t think this would excite our students.  But I think it was a success with most of them really enjoying it and excited by the process.

Finding the Right “Hook”

Somewhere I read about a librarian who used photocopies of the first page of chapter books for the basis of the poems (I would attribute this idea if I could remember where I saw it).  I browsed our fiction section to choose ones that really grabbed the readers attention.  This group also needs motivation to pick out chapter books and actually read them.  I thought this activity might inspire some of them to check out the books.  I didn’t reveal what books they came from until after the had completed the poems and they were excited when they recognized their page.

Introduction and Examples: Google Slides and YouTube

I created a brief Google Slides that contained examples of blackout poetry and then I showed the students a video about Austin Kleon, a writer who is well known for his newspaper blackout poetry.

Then I randomly gave out the copies of first pages along with pencils.

The Creative Process

Some students struggled a bit at first, but after they relaxed and were assured there really wasn’t a “right” way to do, they made progress.  This activity was completed over two library visits with instruction and creating taking about 20 to 30 minutes each time.

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Students in the initial stages circling words in pencil.

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Getting serious now!  Blackening in with crayons.

Sharing Using Padlet

I wanted a way for the students to be able to read each others poems so decided on Padlet.  After taking photos of each completed poem I uploaded them.  I emailed the classroom teachers the Padlet link and asked that they share with their students.  In the case of one of the teachers this will be her only opportunity to see her students’ work as she nearly always sends her para to the library while remaining in her classroom!

Here are the two links:

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet

I will definitely do blackout poetry again next year for National Poetry Month!

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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-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.

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Spine poetry by 4th grade students.

 

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