Source of Poems:

The school faculty and staff will choose poems to be shared through various media at the beginning of each month. The poems may reflect a common theme or unit of study, demonstrate a particular form or style, or may just be good poems worth sharing.

Teachers' Reflections:

One of the challenges we face as elementary educators is how to deepen and maintain our students' exposure to poetry. There are only so many hours in the day and there is much to do. We know that the consistent use of poetry will increase our students' literacy skills. However, where and how do we integrate this strand? This lesson is geared toward a school-wide effort to increase students' level of exposure to quality poetry.

Teaching Ideas:

At the beginning of each month, someone on the school staff will choose a poem. The poem will be displayed on a bulletin board in the front hall of the school, published in the school newspaper and posted on the website.

Near the bulletin board, there will be a listening station with 3-4 headsets so that our youngest students, who may be unable to read the poem, can listen to it.

Children, parents, and community members will be invited to respond to the poem during the month. Responses can be emailed or written. Blank response cards will be provided at the bulletin board; once they're filled in, they'll be posted for all to see. The responses can take any form, including personal reflection, ideas the poem brings up, particularly striking lines and words, a comment on the formal quality of the poem or on its themes. Younger students may want to respond with visual art. We will also set out copies of the poems for those who want to keep them and make a collection.

Teaching Connections:

These poems could provide a link to any school-wide or individual classroom efforts to incorporate poetry into the curriculum. The poems highlight and reinforce study about their authors.

Lesson by Amy Bruns and Kevin Crowley, Johnson Elementary School, Natick, MA

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