Friday, February 27, 2015

Poetry to a Teacher's Ears!

Students work harder and more intensely when they are in control.  I love challenging students and giving them the leeway to demonstrate their learning in various ways.

I've created projects to go along with most every topic I've taught and I can tell you that I've received far greater effort than if I had tightly directed the learning for my students step by step.  I prefer to give the learning criteria, and then allow students the freedom to demonstrate extend their knowledge through open-ended projects and activities.

Today I'm going to share my poetry project I created years ago.  Back in 2001, my daughter was a 4th grader in my 4/5 blend class.  She and her classmates begged for time to write poems.  Even the boys enjoyed writing poems, and THAT is music to a teacher's ears! She couldn't stop writing poems.  She wrote poems about every topic in her life that interested her.  I've included some photos of her creations.
In the project, students learn about different forms of poems and then write their own.  Some of the poems they will write include acrostics, alphabet alliteration, cinquain, color poem, concrete poem, creature poem, metaphor poem, haiku, I Am poem, limerick, and a who what when where why poem. They learn about figurative language, and the elements of poetry (alliteration, hyperbole, idiom, imagery, metaphor, meter, onomatopoeia, personifiction, rhythm, stanza, simile, and verse).  Students try out their newly acquired skills while writing their own poems.  
A powerful component of the project is the reflection, sharing, and critiques process.  Students write a self reflection of how they felt before, during and after the process.  My bet is that all of your students will say they had fun with this project and enjoyed it.  

Then students share their poetry collection with peers and also with important adults in their lives.  These words will prove powerful to students now and in the future.  Many times during my daughter's years, she pulled out this poetry collection, looked through it and smiled as she reread the poems and the kind words about her poems. 
Over the years teaching this independent poetry project, I've refined the project and added Common Core standards to the unit.  The new unit is one of my best loved teaching items on TpT.  However you teach poetry, teach on and have fun!


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