If you love National Poetry month and feel sad when it’s over, consider teaching poetry all year!
I’ve written a guest post for Rachel Lynette’s blog Minds in Bloom that includes ten reasons why you absolutely should teach poetry all year — and seven simple ways how to do it. Be sure to check out that post here.
But before you rush over there to check it out, here’s my secret poetry “sauce.”
My favorite strategy
I like to just share a poem with students by reading it and asking them what their favorite part is…and then moving on to our lesson of the day!
It’s so easy — and students can’t be wrong.
When I first started doing this, only the few bravest students would share what they liked. As we continued with this, even my cynical eighth graders began to comment.
Here’s how it works:
I chose one poem a week and read it out loud each day of the week. I’d ask what students liked at the beginning of the week, and then shift to “What did you notice?” later in the week.
If my students wouldn’t respond, I’d share with what I liked or what I noticed. Always something simple.
My goal was just to try to make the poem nonthreatening. Something to be enjoyed and appreciated.
And that was it. No big discussion, no right or wrong, not teasing out meaning…unless a student brought it up. Totally nonthreatening.
It’s a great way to warm students up to poetry because, by the time many middle school and high school students enter our classrooms, poetry has become a mystery that they cannot solve. It breaks my heart when students tell me they hate poetry!
I promise you, incorporating poetry into your Year Long Plan is easy and fun.
Teaching Resources to Check Out
There are so many great resources that can help you get started.
If you’re looking for poems, here are 12 enticing poems that I think are perfect for middle school students.
You can also check out Poetry 180. Hosted by former Poet Laureate, this site offers poems and suggestions for sharing a poem a day.
These poems are designed for high school students, so if you are teaching younger grades, you may want to swap out poems that are more approachable for your students. Even if the poems on the site won’t work for your students, you should read the tips on How to Read a Poem.
Read Write Think has a fun interactive acrostic poem online activity.
Storybird has a write-a-poem activity is a blast! (along with the story writing…I love, love, love Storybird…don’t even get me started!) Another aspect of Storybird that is great for teachers the ability to create your own virtual classrooms. If you haven’t checked out Storybird, you really should!
Ready to teach poetry?
If you’re looking for more support, you’ll want to check out my “Strategies for teaching poetry” post. It will help you get started.
But no matter what you do, consider teaching poetry all year!