Do you hate poetry? Does the word “poetry” send fear down your spine? I get it! I used to be that way.
The book of poems sits on your desk. Your heart pounds. Do I have to interpret this? Do I have to find some hidden meaning? The fear of having a high school or college professor call on you to tell what the poem means sends panic. Maybe I don’t have to teach this. Maybe we can get by with a quick worksheet and go back to the fiction I know and love.
Poetry for many people brings immediate fear of having to search for symbolism. That in-depth look into poetry as students, keeps many teachers away from teaching poetry in the classroom. But poetry is more than deep found symbolism. Many times poetry is just simply what it is meant to be. Words describing something we know. Kids LOVE poetry! Especially kids who HATE to read! So take out those poetry books, dust them off, and read on to find ways (and FREEBIES) to turn your fear into something both you and your students will love.
Poetry is one of the easiest ways to get students reading and here are a few reasons why:
1. It is short. It is less intimidating for readers than a chapter book. Especially for those students who struggle with reading.
2. A lot of poetry for kids has rhythm and rhyme. This helps with fluency. Struggling readers can find success by learning the rhythm of the poem.
3. You can quickly hit the standards. Some times you just have standards you need to cover or review and with a poem you can quickly address these standards.
4. Poetry breaks the rules. Kids like that they don’t have to follow the rules with poetry. They can just write without the fear of indenting, capitalization, or punctuation.
Ways to engage students in poetry:
1. Focus on a poem each week. If you want already prepared resources, check out these monthly lessons. Get students familiar with rhyme schemes, stanzas, lines, and theme. (September A Poem Each Week, October A Poem Each Week, November A Poem Each Week)
2. Create a wall display with poetry terms or use this poetry book for students to refer to throughout the school year.
3. Set up a poetry literacy center. This will give students a chance to engage often with poetry and integrate it with other subjects. Centers with choice boards and task cards allow for students to choose tasks that interest them and meet their learning strengths. I like to have a reading response and a test prep page with each poem. This way I know that all of the standards are being met. Then I will add one task where the students have to write a specific type of poetry. The last task for the poem will connect with math, science, or social studies. I’ve added research pages, word problems, and science experiments. You know you class and what they like to learn best.
5. Have them memorize a poem to perform for a small group or parents. This is a great way to assess fluency and get some of those speaking standards checked off the list.
6. Use templates to guide students through writing poems. This post gives descriptions of 5 Poetry Styles and provides a FREE template download.
Hop on over to my store to download these Poetry Anchor Charts (***Please note this Poetry Book is no longer offered as a freebie. BUT you can get each of my A Poem Each Week Resources for FREE and the Poetry Close Read for ANY Poem.
Want more poetry ideas? Read these other posts or CLICK HERE!
Don’t have time to plan it all out? You can find full poetry units with all grade level standards addressed below. Each unit comes with 25 plus days of detailed lesson plans aligned with ELA Common Core Standards. Assessments are provided throughout the unit. There is also a full Student Handbook so all you have to do is print, gather some of the suggested books above, and your set for the unit.
2nd Grade Poetry Unit (This one has also been used in first grade classrooms)
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