In honor of poetry month, I've been working in classrooms to help students experience the wonders of writing in this genre.  Today, one of our first graders (pictured above) got so excited about poems, he literally walked around the classroom announcing, "I'm a writer.  I've written 7 poems!"  A few minutes later, he was up and around again, "Hey!  Now I've written 10 poems!"  etc, etc.  So, I ran to the dollar store and purchased some colorful foam visors (3 for a buck!  Woo hoo!!)  and we dubbed him "Poet of the Day."  He was so proud!  He's a kiddo who really struggled to learn to write his name and learn the abc's in kinder--so this was very rewarding to witness.
   How did we create the fuss?  Easily, actually.  First I read a bunch of fun, kid-friendly, accessible poems aloud (see resources below).  Then, I had the students fold a blank piece of paper into three sections (two sections in kinder and first).  They were asked to record one word--that's right--just one word, in each box (each word represented a topic they might write about--again, see below).  Then, I modeled taking one of my words and doing a "brain dump;" writing any words or phrases that came to mind when thinking of this topic.  I had the students do the same.  Finally, I thought-aloud, as I transformed my brain-dump notes into a 'poem' (actually, something poem-ish...thanks, Peter Reynolds!) in the easiest way possible, just writing them in a list form down the page, repeating some, adding words to others, playing with the white space, then reading and rereading.
   I turned the students' loose, walked around celebrating their efforts, repeating words I saw, having students go forward to share their ideas and poems-in-process on the document camera.  Easy lesson plan...the modeling and celebrating is key.  And...it worked in every classroom.  I have mounds and mounds of poems to type up and several entries waiting to be submitted to our school newspaper the Tiger Times!  Hooray for Poetry Month!
Books  I  used:

  Product Details   Had students record a topic about play in their first box.
Product DetailsWe enjoyed the poem "In My Desk" by Jane Yolen.  Students recorded a topic beginning with "In my..." or "On my..." in their second brainstorming box.

They were asked to come up with a free choice topic for their third box.

I could share several examples, but here's just one, from one of our first grade ESL students.  He really liked Singer's poem "Jump!" which inspired this:

Jump Rope
by JJ

I can jump
With a
I jump
with a
I jump 100 times!
                100 swings
                        100 jumps
                               And 100 slaps!


  1. Sounds like just plain fun, which at that age, poetry should be. I love that stick book! Thanks, Janiel!

  2. You're welcome, Linda! Yep, it's a great book with wonderful examples to share and inspire students! Thanks for stopping by again. I'm enjoying following your posts, too!


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