Poets.org is a fantastic resource for both adults and kids who have an interest in poetry. Their “30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month” is an excellent resource for jumpstarting your April poetry celebrations. Some of the ideas are highlighted below, but others to note are:
Teach This Poem is a weekly series shared through email by Poets.org for teachers of students in grades K–12. The project is curated by Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, the Educator in Residence at Poets.org, and it is completely free. I find the weekly themes to be especially appealing, which include focuses on ancestry, gratitude, identity, mourning, sports and weather, among many other topics. The forms discussed are also ones I don’t often see being shared with learners, including cento, tanka and triolet. Dr. Holzer also provides background on the poetic school or movement from which poem examples appear. It’s a great resource and I find that I learn something new alongside my students.
Participating in a Poem-a-day is one of the easiest ways to introduce readers to a wide variety of poems, poets and forms in an easy-to-digest approach. Poets.org has a wide collection of poems for kids that you can access by theme here. You can also check out an anthology of poems at your local library or bookstore. You’ll find other resources online, but one creative approach might be to have your students keep a weekly poetry journal throughout the year. You can then have one student each day read a poem he or she wrote that week. Doing so will not only give everyone a chance to share their own poems but also an opportunity to hear one another grow and develop as poets throughout the year.
The Poetry in the Classroom Calendar from Poets.org is impressive. Each month includes birth dates and selected poems from renowned poets as well as poems that compliment a selected national theme, such as Black History Month, letter writing, and Asian/Pacific American Heritage. The interactive calendar also links to lesson plans and resources for further exploration. It’s a great way to plan ahead and ensure that poetry is included in your weekly lessons.
Have your students discovered novels in verse yet? I find the reaction can be similar to that of a student first discovering and falling in love with the graphic novel format. Reluctant readers are often accustomed to the way a novel typically “looks,” so when a story breaks form and can be read in a form or at a pace different from one a student is used to, it can be freeing. I personally love witnessing students read more expressively and confidently when reading a novel in verse over a traditionally formatted novel. Plus, it feels good to fly through the pages and feel a sense of accomplishment after reading for even just 15 minutes.
From the folks at Poets.org, “On Poem in Your Pocket Day, celebrated during April each year, we encourage you to select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks and workplaces.” Make a display with copies of several poems that students in your class or library have selected. Encourage students to select a favorite poem, write a poem of their own or borrow a poem from the display to share whenever someone asks, “Do you have a poem in your pocket today?” It’s super easy to do and it gets kids talking about poetry throughout the day. There’s even a cute song by Emily Arrow that you can learn and share!
There are lesson plans available for grades K–12 through Poets.org to help you and your students connect with poetry throughout the year. And of course there are tons of websites and other online resources and apps devoted to reading, writing and sharing poetry. With so many great entry points for connecting with and celebrating poetry, I cannot wait to hear about all you do with your students!
Great Prezi on how to create blackout poetry. Geared toward middle and high school students, but will give you a good idea on how to create these items!
Examples of different ways to do black out poetry:
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