Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poetry Books

We're making poetry books. We've been busy making all the poems. Poetry is hard to teach at the upper grades. Poems have patterns to follow; rules to follow. Sometimes, kids just don't like to follow even MORE rules. Or maybe it's because poetry seems so different. It's not something you read as often as you would a short story or novel. (Which is something I will commit to changing in my teaching years to come.)

But we're making poetry books. And here is how we are doing it this year. Like I already said, we have made it through the tough, laborious part: the writing part. (I'm sure if you are a teacher, you have TONS of info on writing poetry. HERE and HERE are two great poetry units if you do not have anything to work with. HERE is one for more of the upper levels.) Now we want to "publish" them and share them. What I have done is made an example for the students. My example includes both how to write each poem and an example of each poem. I did this so that the students know exactly what is expected of them. Their work should be like the bottom half of my book. If they are not so sure about a poem while editing or proof-reading, they have the instructions to go back to (less work for me, more focused work for them!!!)

Here is my cover (I went with the theme "Poet-tree." Neat, eh? Hee-hee!)
Another skill I am integrating into this project is the use of a Table of Contents. I figured this would be a natural way to integrate making them (rather than just reading them or using them for research) if we used them as part of a project like this. (Making our books just like the poetry books we have been reading in class!) Did you spot my mistake?
(It's supposed to say biographical poem, not bibliography poem. I wonder what that kind of poem would turn out to look like. . .)
So here is a crooked example of my page.
(Poem helps (from book) come from the Evan-Moor Co. I credited it to the right spot, so I'm okay now, right? I'm not a big fan of reinventing the wheel. If you bought the book, cut these little cards out and mount them into your examples! I have found that these cards are also great to use for the kids who can write poetry quickly/easily (or use as enrichment). Once they are done their poems, they can pick a card and write another poem- something different than what the rest of the class is doing).
The top shows the pattern of the poem and what needs to be written on each line. The bottom part is the poem. The students are required to add art (pictures, cut-outs, drawings, decorations, etc.) to at least 4 of their poems.
The last page is a poetry review. Each student gets to pick one of their own poems and write a review on it. They are to give their opinion (whether they liked it or not) and then give me 2-3 reasons why they liked it or not. (We have been working on writing paragraphs as well, so this ties in with that nicely--giving them a good purpose to their writing). If all goes well, we will write a review on a poem by one of our peers, too!
I am assessing this project using a rubric. I like rubrics. They give the kids a great outline for what they need to do. I used this one and added some components of my own (like the table of contents and poetry review page, I changed some of the requirements and the points awarded to suit my class). Here is another example, more for teachers to use as guidelines in making a project; not really for kids.
So. . .that's just one idea for you. . .

1 comment:

Shef said...

You rock the house teach! I've been searching for an interesting poetry unit that won't take much planning time. Thanks, thanks, and thanks again! I'll modify this and try to get my poetry in before the end of the freaking year!