The sun is out, flowers are blooming, and my students are rhyming. It doesn’t feel like spring without a National Poetry Month celebration. Although I’ve always loved National Poetry Month, this is my first time being in the library during April (thanks Covid). I’m also no good at writing poetry, but it doesn’t mean I can’t teach it! I’ve been racking my brain for fun, meaningful ways to share with my students while following our guidelines. My list isn’t long yet, but they’ve been handy!
Do you know who is incredibly fascinating to learn about, whether you’re a kid or adult? Shel Silverstein. To accompany our celebrating, we’ve been doing an author study on Silverstein and reading a lot of his poems. My kids have been enthralled by his poetry and have loved using his style as a model for their own poems.
Shel Silverstein’s website has a lot of activities to pair with his poems; we’ve used a few activities, but my favorite is the Poetry Workshop Kit that invites students to explore the different styles in that unique Silverstein fashion. If you’re still a newbie like me and need some inspiration, I definitely recommend this site!
Speaking of awesome poets, did you know that Ken Nesbitt has a website all about poetry, not just his own? This website is full of fun poems for kids to read, teaching resources, and even more tools. He also hosts in-person and virtual school visits. In fact, during the 2020-21 school year, Ken is doing a ton of Zoom webinars that you can register for (he even did one about Shel Silverstein!). This a great resource for teaching poetry in elementary, and one kids would have fun exploring.
No shared resources? No problem! This website recreates the silly fun of magnetic poetry easily on computers or tablets. Challenges students to create any styles of poem (acrostic, concrete, etc.) or use an early finisher activity. This is great for students who are reluctant to dive into poetry; the material is there, they just have to find the best way to build it!
The Children’s Poetry Archive
One of the most important parts of poetry is hearing the cadence and rhythm; this website will let you hear the poem the way the poet intended. With a large catalog of poems narrated, students can hear countless poems. Each recording is accompanies by the written poem, so this could be great for struggling readers to follow along to while hearing the narration as well.
I really enjoy the Challenges included on the site; these invite students to listen to poems and search for answers, almost like a scavenger hunt. I think it would be a great bellringer activity for elementary.
I hope my list will be longer this time next year, but in the meantime, how are you teaching poetry?