I am participating in #SOL19. Thanks to the twowritingteachers blog team for hosting this event.
“Poetry is the purest kind of reading. And what you do…is not advancing: it is spreading; it is circulating. You circulate through literature… And so you go, spreading, keeping up a circulation. But it must be, must always be, pleasure.”
A Swinger of Birches: A Portrait of Robert Frost
It’s easy to include poetry during the school day. It doesn’t take up much time or space. Make poems available and show a passion for it. For extra delight, a chunk of time can be given over to reading poems. I had a Poetry Corner in my room where stacks of poetry books – rhymed and free verse poetry – were located for quick and easy access. Students could always choose to end reading time or the morning or afternoon session of their day by sharing a poem with their talking partner.
Teachers can get into the personal habit of reading a poem-a-day for themselves. The Internet makes it easy: a poem-a-day delivered to you by email from our major organizations. I receive a poem a day from Jane Yolen. Today’s poem was about earrings. (See Jane Yolen Poem A Day at firstname.lastname@example.org)
All you have to do, is read. Copy ones you like for your collection. Poets without poems won’t work. So we need to build our own collection of poems that grow out of interest and inspire more reading and writing. Students can collect in personal folders or virtual ones. They can tag each poem, explaining how it speaks to them. They can revisit these poems, share with others, and prepare a few to read aloud. They can include poems originally read together as a class, too. These poems are a shared history of reading done in the community. The conversations about them are more inclusive and connected.
Students need opportunities to:
- read some poems without an expectation to “do” anything but enjoy their rhythms and rhymes.
- choose their own poems to explore and talk about with others.
- copy poems that “speak to them” in their notebooks or their ipads.
- write lines they like in their writer’s notebook or poetry journal —for their sound, as trigger for thought, image, or memories they evoke, for their appeal to the senses or our emotions, for their organizational structure.
- read poems more than once and revisit poems they’re attracted to for different reasons.
- read different types of poems and different poets, to broaden their understanding and appreciation of poetry
- develop their voice for poetry by reading poems aloud.
Today, I will close with a poem I wrote:
Since the beginning of time,
Flowers have intrigued us.
Their unique beauty,
Their enticing scents.
Exceptional gifts of nature,
Often used for everything imaginable!
Cures for colic and indigestion,
Even for breaking spells and hexes.
Flowers, gifts of true love or friendship,
“I love you!”
“Thinking of you today…”
Flowers have intrigued us
Since the beginning of time.