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Resources for Teaching Poetry

Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 in Good Reads, poetry, Writing

Last year we really enjoyed our exploration of poetry.  We tried out several poetic forms, read and copied favorite poems, and our 9 year old even won the local NPT story and illustrators contest for her collection of original poems.  You can see a video of her art and poems here (she’s number 2 on the video list, “Jael”).

Although we often keep a tradition of “poetry tea time” that is popular amongst homeschoolers, we’re looking forward to once again delving deeper for the next six weeks.

One outward motivation is the River of Words Poetry and Art Contest which all of the kids would like to enter this year.

Here are some of the resources that already have me feeling inspired and we haven’t even started yet:

At the River of Words website you can download a poetry lesson guide for free.  The guide suggests using a compilation of art and poetry they’ve published called River of Words: Young Poets and Artists on the Nature of Things.  It’s twenty-one dollars on the website but I found it used on Amazon for only a few dollars.

 

Poetry Tag Time is a compilation of great poetry for children.  The collection begins with a poem by Jack Prelutsky and then he “tagged” the next poet and she submitted a poem that was related/inspired by Prelutsky’s poem and so on as each poet tagged the next.  Thirty poems in all are included and there are short explanations between poems as to how they’re related.  If this doesn’t make sense (it didn’t to me right away), just go ahead and take a look.

The book is only published for use on Kindle and such, but I was able to download a free app to view it on my computer instead. I purchased this resource for a grand total of 2.99 on Amazon (no shipping of course since it’s digital). If you go to the Poetry Tag Time Blog, you will find suggested activities for each of the poems.  This resource is going to help our poetry time stay accessible to our six year old. The same women that compiled Poetry Tagtime, also compiled a similar resource for teens called Poetry P*Tag.

 

A Kick in the Head, edited by Paul B. Janeczko, is an introduction to the main poetic forms, from haiku to cinquain and sonnet, to many other forms I’d never heard of before!  Each page contains a poem along with more information about the form in small print on the page and an illustration by Chris Raschka. Janeczko has many poetry books worth looking at, but I highly recommend his other two books in this series,  A Poke in the I and Foot in the Mouth.

 

Wishes, lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry by Kenneth Koch has some interesting and simple ideas.  At the end of last year, we wrote “I wish” poems and they revealed the unique hearts of each of us.

Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School by Georgia Heard is the best book I own on teaching poetry.  It takes us beyond “just copy the form” to teaching the kids about expressing their heart, experiences, and reactions to the world through verse.  Filled with exercises, poetry stations, editing suggestions, it was worth the full price that I paid on Amazon (I think there are used copies available now).

 

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan is a story based on the childhood of poet Pablo Neruda.  It’s a magical novel about words, dreaming, and following your passion.

Websites:

Poetry for Children, a blog by one of the creators of Poetry Tag Time, regularly posts new poetry books and novels written in verse.  Many of her posts on poetry books include suggested activities to go along with the book.

Poetry at Play includes a Weekly Poet highlight, interviews, and articles on the world of poetry.

Notebooking Fairy, Jimmie’s other blog, has several free poetry notebooking pages.  As a note, Jimmie’s collage is hosting 10 days of Language Arts, go check it out. In two more days, poetry will be the focus of her blog post.

Practical Pages inspires me in many ways, but one area is how her family “plays” with Poetry.  Check her out-you’ll be hooked.

Find a source for nature poetry on this post.

Do you have any favorite poets you’ve studied in your home or other resources that have helped your poetry exploration?

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