We've been hard at work on our poetry portfolios lately - and we will continue to add to them next week in between our TESTING! Yep - it's testing week next week. My grade 6 students will have 6 hours of testing (well, 6 testing booklets - they can actually have as much time as they need). We stretch this out over the week, so most days they will only have one booklet, and I'll squeeze that last booklet in on a day when they seem particularly on task (fingers crossed we actually have a day like that).
OK - back to poetry. We've added 5 published poems to our poetry portfolios - and the students couldn't be prouder of their published work.
We started with biography poems - there are many "I Am ..." templates available on the internet. I like starting with a simple template for my students (who may be a little scared of poetry) to experience success.
We then moved on to Haikus. The students had a lot of fun creating Haikus with my magnetic poetry kits. Once they had a poem they liked, they published that version for their portfolios. Because the Haikus are so short, I asked them to add an illustration to their published copies.
We wrote Emotion Poems after studying figurative language in poetry. These poems are full of similes and metaphors. I was so impressed with the raw emotion expressed in this poem. This was written by one of my boys - a boy who often experiences anger "issues". He is not a fan of writing, but was so proud of this poem when he finished it.
This is another template poem - adapted from Judith Viorst's "If I Were In Charge of the World". We looked at a few different versions (on youtube) and discussed the each author's point of view. We also inferred what the author was like - gender, age, interests, etc. Such a great activity. The students then wrote their own copies to be published.
Because the students are working at their own pace to edit and publish their poems for their portfolios, students who have finished all the poems so far had the opportunity to write a free verse poem. No rules ... just write. I plan to do this again at the end of this week. Students who were scared to write free verse at the beginning of our unit, are now excited to write (and share) their very own poems.
And, because any work we display has to have the Learning Goals and Success Criteria posted, I have this little paper in the upper corner of our Poet-Tree board. We co-created the Success Criteria as a class. The students will use this success criteria when they complete a "Glow and Grow" self-reflection on their work.
If you're scared of teaching poetry, or in need of a few simple templates and ideas, here is a link to a site I found many years ago when I first started teaching: 30 Days of Poetry. I still use ideas from this resource when I'm looking for a quick and easy template for the students to complete.
Do you have any sure-fire winners for poetry in your classroom??? I'd LOVE to hear some of your ideas - I'm always looking for new resources and ideas to add to my bag of tricks!