13 April 2015

Poetry Month at Stroud Elementary School

I love April for several reasons. It means that summer vacation is right around the corner. It means flowers are blooming. But most importantly, it means it's Poetry Month! Most classes will get five poetry lessons in the library this month and that still feels like not enough.

In the past, I've done poetry with grades 2 and up. Poetry isn't a standard for K and 1 (although rhyming words are), but this year I decided to include everyone. It's funny; most second grade students have a basic understanding of what poetry is. We usually just jump right in. But this year, starting with kindergarten students, I tried to figure out a good way to explain it to them. And I couldn't. How do you explain poetry to a five year old? If you have any great ideas, share them in the comments. I ended up deciding to show them what it was instead. So, we read poems from some of my favorite poets: Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, Judith Viorst, just to name a few. We read funny poems, poems that rhyme and poems that don't rhyme, poems in strange shapes, and poems that require two readers. That's how we started. I still don't know how to sum up poetry in a nice little description, but maybe that's okay.

We're not just reading poetry. We're also writing all sorts of poetry this month. Our younger students wrote shape poems last week and this week they're writing list poems. Older students have been learning about haiku and acrostic poems. You can read some of our poems at the bottom of this post. This week, we're trying blackout poetry. And we still have spine poems and limericks to go. 

This what the students will use to create their blackout poems.
I'm especially excited about doing blackout poetry. I was inspired to give it a go after reading a blog post from another Clarke County School District librarian. Andy Plemmons wrote a post about blackout poetry last week and I thought it sounded like a swell idea. So, I emailed the second grade teachers to find out what the students had been learning about lately, and we decided to go with life cycles. After looking up the standards, I saw that students are learning about the life cycles of local animals and plants and they're also learning about fungi during this unit. Then, I chose five books from our collection and copied some pages. The students will use the text on their sheet to create their poems. They'll start by selecting words they want to include in the poem and drawing a box around the words. Some words that were initially boxed in may be taken out and other words that were skipped might be added as the process continues. After the students are sure they have their poem ready, they will use a black crayon to cover up everything else. 

Here are a few haiku and acrostic poems second grade students wrote last week:

Sunny outside
Party inside
Really beautiful
It's so fun
Now it's spring
Go have fun

"Spring" -- D'asia

All pretty
Musically talented
Over the lights
Right sometimes

"Name Poem" -- Amora

Bee in my room
Run fast
Up in the light
Not good

"Bee" -- Bryshun

I love gummy worms.
They are so sticky and good.
Give me gummy worms.

"Gummy Worms" -- Harrison

I love you daddy,
because you are nice to me.
You are the best man.

"My Daddy" -- Tyler

And these are list poems from kindergarten and first grade classrooms:

My classroom is special.
It has movie star dress-up clothes,
triangle blocks,
LEGO people,
a square board,
pots and pans,
computers with games,
beans in a bucket,
a telephone for calling people,
a door that opens and closes,
chairs for sitting,
and books for reading.
My classroom is special.

"My Classroom" -- Mrs. Linston-Jones’s Class

I love food.
Juicy watermelon,
Tasty strawberries,
Fresh oranges,
Crispy chicken,
Amazing bananas,
Yummy bread,
Great apples,
Waffles with syrup,
Big hamburgers,
Sweet ice cream,
Delicious cornbread,
Hot bacon,
And good cake.
I love food!

"I Love Food" -- Mrs. Floyd’s Class

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