In her book, AWAKENING THE HEART, Georgia Heard says "We all have poetry inside us....". I have always felt that way about myself. I have many fabric-covered journals filled with songs and poems that I wrote as a child and teenager. I do not remember reading poetry in elementary school and yet I was able to create rhythm and rhyme. In high school I was introduced to Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, and Edgar Allan Poe. I can still, many years later, recite the lines from "The Raven". I do not, however, recall being taught to love the sound and the music of poetry, to learn that poetry speaks to us, about us, and about the world and times we live in.
As a first grade teacher, I have always had songs and poems related to the curriculum and the months of the year. I present poems about pumpkins in the fall and raindrops in the spring. The children had always loved these and remembered them so I felt that I was doing enough. This past summer, I attended a writing in-service taught by Amy and left thinking about all of the many different ways that I could infuse poetry into my school day.
The way that I have found works best in our schedule is "Poet of the Month" as discussed in Lee Bennett Hopkins in PASS THE POETRY, PLEASE! After researching different children's poetry anthologies such as THE RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN by Jack Prelutsky and HAMSTERS, SHELLS, AND SPELLING BEES by Lee Bennett Hopkins, I had a list of poets that I thought would work for the school year. Too bad that there are only ten months in our school year! My next dilemma was to figure out where this was going to fit into our day. I found a piece of wall near our line-up spot and hung up some poems with the intention that I would read a poem occasionally while we were lining up to leave the room. Little did I know what this would become.
Emily and Braden
In just a short amount of time, our line up poetry reading has become a classroom ritual. It is the line leader's job to chose which poem will be read. We cannot leave the room until we read a poem! As you can see in the picture, I only have six poems currently on the wall, and these first graders know them all and read them along with me after only two weeks of school. At the end of the month, I will let the children choose their favorite poems from the wall and glue them into their poetry notebooks so that they can continue to enjoy the sound and the music of poetry.
Here is my "Poet of the Month" list for the 2010-2011 school year. It is subject to change based on teacher's whim:
September - Mary Ann Hoberman
October - Lee Bennett Hopkins
November - Eve Merriam
December - X.J. Kennedy
January - Aileen Fisher
February - Douglas Florian
March - Kristine O'Connell George
April - Paul B. Janeczko
May - Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
June - Langston Hughes
Thank you, Lori, for sharing this POETRY PEEK into your classroom today. Should anyone give this a try, please comment back later and let us know. Too, I am currently seeking more PEEKS for future Poetry Fridays.
It is National Punctuation Day, and over at Iroquois Intermediate School in Elma, NY, the school is celebrating in style. With punctuation headbands and punctuation marks on their bellies, those little marks are front and center!
Today's complete Poetry Friday roundup is over at Karen Edmisten's blog, The Blog with the Shockingly Clever Title. Please visit there to find out what is happening poetry-wise in the kidlitosphere.
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