Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yikes! Teaching First Graders to Be Poets!

We began our poetry unit last week. I spent Sunday afternoon at the library with my hubby and two children. We checked out 31 poetry anthologies for my pumpkins to immerse themselves. My husband just shook his head as we stood in line with a mile high pile of books. We paid my fine, (I swear, they should dedicate a new wing with the monies I pay in fines!) and then we went off to read some excellent poetry.
Monday morning arrived and I mentioned that I had put some new books in a basket and that each student needed a book to read from during Independent Reading time. We made our selections and began looking through our great poems. You know we couldn't keep those great morsels to ourselves so we spent a lot of time reading them to a partner. We worked all week on how to read poems, how to stop at the commas, and line breaks. We discussed what the author's purpose was during certain poems. We put some poetry in place in our classroom. We reflected on poems and who they reminded us of, always making connections. (How does one curriculum map all of this?) We even sent poems to our fourth grade friends and started a project at our school called, "Poetry in Place." Week one: poetry immersion.
This week we discussed what we notice about poetry. My favorite from a very insightful young man, "Poems say things in very odd ways." How about this one, "the words and lines are simple, but you know what they're talking about." Tuesday, we made a list of where poetry may hide for us. I made a list from simple to more insightful, these things made the list. Wednesday, I chose something from the list and made a list of feelings, and actions. I wrote about my dog Louie. Students did an excellent job with this, I was very impressed! Today, I took my actions and feelings list and modeled my poem about Louie.
Points from the mini lesson:
-poems are skinny
-poem words must be chosen carefully because you can't use a lot of them.
-poets like the sound of repetition, kind of like Keven Henkes!
So, off they went to give it a try. I was so nervous. You know I love poetry, it is my way of writing, it flows through my soul like a river flowing from a mountain. I know poetry, I don't know how to teach poetry. I was treading on uncharted territory...

My Fish
My fish
stopped breathing
stopped swimming
stopped living
My goodness was I impressed, I will post some for you later, especially my favorite poem.
There was a lot of listening today, something that is few and far between during these warm spring months. My kids did terrific. Where to go tomorrow?

1 comment:

Katie Dicesare said...

Wow!! I think you are underestimating yourself...isn't it funny how we question ourselves. I do it all the time. It sounds poetry lives in your room these days!!!