Sharing the Love of Poetry with Students

By Alyssa Toomes

Poetic Terms to Teach

Teaching young children the academic language of poetry helps them to understand the complex craft a poet uses to evoke meaning.

Using Focused Poetry for Spiral Review

Short Notes on Focused Poetry

by: Elizabeth Martin

Focused Poetry came from New Zealand.

Focused Poetry is a form of Shared Reading.

It should take 5 minutes.

It is useful during transition times of the daily schedule.

Students who struggle with reading can feel successful, because it's a "we" read, and  we invite everyone to the table.

Through the rereading we build fluency.

It's a tool to teach anything they need and build fluency.

The "formula" doesn't really exist.

The 5 day schedule can be adjusted to your students' needs.

Focus Poetry Tips

  • Glue week's lesson plan to back of poem.
  • Cover last lines if they are a punch line for predicting or inferring lesson.
  • Plan Focused poetry over 3-5 weeks so you can spiral skills.
  • Keep color family low……- only 3 or 4.
  • Use ladders to hold terms and academic language.
  • Hang ladders  separate so colors are not sitting next to another ladder the same color.
  • Ladders stay up from week to week during a 3-5 week plan because you add on to it each week.
  • Poems can be turned into a literacy workstation.
  • Use banners  to hold students' thinking about the poem. (don't write on them so you can reuse)

Three Weeks of Plans Example

Day 1

  • Introduce poem, connect to prior learning, read, enjoy
  • Teacher reads the poem to the students
  • Discuss topic of poem
  • Reread the poem

Day 2

  • Reread poem
  • Vocabulary
  • Define for the kids
  • Beware of phrases of vocabulary
    • Give it to them if it's too difficult
    • There doesn't have to be a dictionary involved
    • Use context to infer the meaning of the vocabulary word or phrase

Day 3

  • Reread poem
  • Poetry Term
    • Define the term
    • Use the devices in an active engagement (post-its with kids envisionment)

Day 4

  • Reread poem
  • Literary Devices
    • Identify it  in poem
    • Define it
    • Discuss it's purpose in the poem

Day 5

  • Response to reading
    • Reread: boys/girls
    • Illustrate poem (homework)- keep this holy, don't kill it
      • Don't have them deface their poems

Next Week:

Day 1

  • Discuss why you picked the poem
  • Read poem to students
  • Identify structure that may be new to students such as:  parenthesis (parenthetical expression)
    • Reread to show expression
  • Discuss anything that affects the meaning of the poem

Day 2

  • Reread poem
  • Vocabulary
    • Grammatical moves the writer uses to help with meaning of unknown words

Day 3

  • Reread poem
  • Poetry Terms (Fletcher's book is a good resource)
    • Ex: alliteration
      • Define
      • Find examples- build a ladder                                                                 

Day 4

  • Literary Devices
    • Imagery- again to compare from poem to next
    • Banners (don't write on them so you can reuse)

Day 5

  • Grammar Skill
    • Commas in a series
    • Avoid parts of speech

Next week:

Day 1

  • Teacher :Read the poem
  • Define topic if unclear or beyond students' schema

Day 2

  • Read poem together
  • Act it out
  • Inferring feelings

Day 3

  • Reread poem
  • Grammar Skill
    • punctuation

Day 4

  • Reread poem
  • Poetry term
    • Internal rhyme
    • Make a ladder

Day 5

  • Reread poem
  • Contractions

*Day 5 could bridge to STAAR with response to reading

Ladders Hold on to Academic Language

Scroll through examples of ladders used in writing and poetry instruction.

Helpful Websites for Teaching Poetry

Poetry is the Soul of Art

Poetry is more than words
It's the art of expression
Poetry is rhyme and chords
It's an artistic impression

Poetry is an untold story
It's a path with many turn
Poetry is a natural theory
It's a field with many thorn

Poetry is a self-discovery art
It's the witty length
Poetry is a self-explanatory chart
It's the untailored width

Poetry is the soul spoken word
It's the beat in each chord

by Matthias Pantaleon