I’m not a poet, and I certainly do know it. But long before the times when I was asked to analyze the symbolism of “The Raven,” back when I was an eager pupil who thought “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was about Santa Claus, poetry was fun.
Part of what made it fun was the activities my teachers would assign. From drawings to dioramas, the crafts would give me something to look forward to. Today, there are multiple ways to keep kids interested in poetry: ReadWriteThink.org has combined crafts with technology into a program that encourages kids in grades K–5 to write their own “Theme Poems.”
Students begin by simply typing in their names, then proceeding to select a category; they then have their choice of 32 category-specific “objects.” From there, the program provides eight spaces to write “some words or phrases that remind you of this [object],” promoting the brainstorming process and allowing kids to think outside of the box. The final step involves the actual writing of the poem by typing directly into the object. Users are encouraged to apply the words from the previous step, a reminder of their thoughts on the subject. Finished? Students can print their poem immediately. Want to go back? They can just save their progress and return at any time.
The site presents new activities for all sorts of lessons, be it a regular lesson on poetry where students can pick their favorite topic, or something specific like Flag Day, where the flag object would be ideal. Teaching the basics of photosynthesis? Why not have students create poems about the process using the flower, leaf or sun objects?
Further approaches to fun poetry can be found with a quick Internet search. Scholastic provides students and teachers in grades K—8 with templates to be printed for various poetry topics. PoetryTeachers.com provides a wide range of inside- and outside-the-classroom activities, from tongue twisters to poetry “theater.” And PBS has a poetry aspect of its site where one can submit poems or browse through some lesson plan ideas. Whether students need a break once in a while from the typical approaches to writing poetry, or parents are trying to keep their kids’ brains active during a long school break, each of these ideas is a great new way to remind students—and teachers and parents as well—that poetry can, in fact, be fun.
“Theme Poems,” ReadWriteThink, accessed on February 05, 2013.
“Poetry Printables,” Scholastic, accessed on February 05, 2013.
“The Number One Site for Poetry Teachers on the Web,” PoetryTeachers.com, accessed on February 05, 2013. http://www.poetryteachers.com/
“News Hour Extra,” PBS, accessed on February 05, 2013.