Monday, April 23, 2018

Librarian Confessions

Here goes...I don't particularly like poetry.

(My other one is that I've never read any of the Harry Potters, though I hope to change that this summer!).

But, April is National Poetry Month and it makes a natural connection to spend a few weeks focusing on poetry so I had to try extra hard to not feel like I was a complete faker.

In retrospect, I think I had more hits than misses. First the hits:

Kindergarten - This one is a work in progress (stay tuned for the final product), but I think it's going to be a hit. I made some cards with Rhyme and Repetition and we talked about how these are sometimes seen in poetry. As we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, they raised their card when they heard either rhyming or repeating words. Our extension activity uses knowledge I got from the recent MSLA (Mass School Library Association) conference I attended and I can't wait to wrap it up this week.

3rd grade - I tried Spine Label poetry with these guys for the first time and it was so fun. Definitely a hit! Some of them struggled, but others really embraced it and kept going back to make more of them. A few of my favorites below:

The next week, we talked about different rhyme schemes and practiced identifying them in some funny Prelutsky poems. Next, we divided into groups and each group had a poem that was cut into couplets, so they had to work together to identify the rhyming scheme and piece the poem back together. Once they had it right, they illustrated their poems and I added them to my new display. I really loved the illustrations and the teamwork. Very cute. 

And the misses...

1st grade and 2nd grade - I absolutely love the Reverso poem format (for real, I am not just saying that) and Marilyn Singer's Mirror Mirror offers a great example of it. I just haven't quite figured out the best way to use it in class. We read several of the poems, identifying the narrator in each poem and comparing and contrasting how the meaning of the poem changed based on the narrator. But, this didn't take very long. My follow up activity varied by grade. For 1st, they chose one character and illustrated their point of view. For 2nd, I had classes split into groups and illustrate both sides of their poem on chart paper. Some of them really got into it, but others...didn't. So I'll grade this one a miss, and it's back to the drawing board to see if I can figure out how to make this poetry format more interesting for all students.

1st grade - The 2nd week, I introduced the limerick format. After reading a few, I put up the formula for making our own and we played a game where we tried to create our own. It sort of worked, but truthfully, was a little painful. They didn't quite get choosing an easy-to-rhyme word for the 1st and 3rd lines, and then got fixated on the same rhyme so it felt pretty repetitive. Not a repeater! 

2nd grade - The 2nd week, I introduced the concrete poem format. We spitballed the definition, and then read a few examples. After brainstorming some potential topics, they were on their own to use the brainstormed ideas, or one of their own to write their own. They got ridiculously silly (chicken wings, anyone?) so the finished products were by and large not what I was expecting. I think this format is pretty cool, and has promise, so I'll probably try to retool for next year. 

4th and 5th grade got a pass on poetry this year - too much research this time of year!

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