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April 2, 2015

Creating a Collaborative Community Around Poetry

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    College- and career-ready students need a large number of opportunities to take part in rich, structured conversations. Celebrate National Poetry Month by encouraging poetic student conversation with these collaborative engagement opportunities.

    Set the Tone

    Before starting this monthlong tribute to poetry, make sure that poetry is really present in your room. Georgia Heard shares in her book, Poetry Lessons to Meet the Common Core State Standards, “If we make poetry visible — instead of poetry sitting quietly on a library shelf . . . — students will read poems every day.” Have your poetry out where students can engage with it. Make a copy of a poem and post it or write poems on 3" x 5" note cards and tape them on the walls and windows. The presence of poetry will spark conversations long after Poetry Month is over.

    Once you have made sure that the room is set, create a poetic environment for sharing that students will feel comfortable in. 

    Partner Read, Reflect, Respond

    Prior to partnering students, have a discussion about the language one should use when discussing poetry. Ask students to share what types of conversations they could have with each other about poems they read.

    Responses might include:

    • Understanding the poet

    • Finding words that caught my eye

    • Rhyming

    • Parts I might not understand

    • Lines that I liked

    Guide students with starters like:

    • I noticed . . .

    • It made me think of . . .

    • What I didn’t understand . . .

    • It reminds me of . . .

    • It made me feel . . .

    • I connected with . . .

    • When I first read the poem I felt like . . . Now I feel like . . .

    Tell students that they will be partnered with the same person before, during, and after the reading of the poem. Explain that they will need the same partner in order to go through the reflection process completely. This also creates a constant for students when they are sharing. By going back to the same person for reflecting while reading, partners can see a change in perspective from the beginning to the end of a poetry reading.

    After students are paired, share the title of the poem. Have partners connect face-to-face, on paper, or through a shared document to start their conversation. If there is an image of the poem, that can be shown as well. Guide students with the starters listed above and set a timer; five minutes is usually a good amount of time to share initial thoughts.

    Have partners read the poem together. Model the strategy: stop, think, and share. This is where students might read something that they have a question about or have made a connection to. Instead of waiting until the end of the poem, they can stop right at that moment and share. Partners can either respond or paraphrase back what was shared. Additionally, you might consider designating a stopping point within the poem. A prompt can let students know that you have arranged stopping points for students to stop reading and reflect with their partner. Again, reflecting can be face-to-face, digital conversation, or sharing notes in a poetry notebook.

    Students should continue doing this until they finish the poem. At that point, students should share final thoughts. Remind students that the conversations they are having is about the poem. Monitor conversations while students work.

    This partner shared activity is a great way to start or end your day with poetry. The tasks of reading the poem from beginning to end can be broken up through out the week. Make it work for your learning environment.

    Other Ideas for Collaborative Poetry:

    Acting Out a Poem

    Create small groups of students to interpret a poem and then act it out for the class. 

    Shared Writing

    Students can share a document and recreate an element that was studied (alliteration, rhyme, simile, metaphor, etc.) in a partner writing piece.

    Record Favorite Poems

    Have students partner up and record each other reading the poem. Students can create a background scene, or stand in front of the camera while they read. This activity will help students practice their fluency and address an ELA Speaking and Listening standard. #winwin

    Illustrate the Poem

    Creating a visual interpretation of the poem brings thoughts to paper. This is a great way to gather student comprehension of what was read. What did students see and understand when they read the poem? I always start this task by saying, “There is no 'right' way to draw your understanding." This helps those who are feeling less confident in expressing their artistic skills with a partner. 

    Turn a Poem Into a Readers Theater

    Have a small group of students take a poem and turn it into a Readers Theater. Students will need to collaborate on parts and how to present their performance to peers.

    Students thrive when a love for poetry is evident in a learning environment. While April is National Poetry Month, many of these ideas can be used throughout the school year. There are even more amazing lessons all over Scholastic’s Teaching poetry site. How do you celebrate poetry in your classroom? Please share an idea below.

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

    College- and career-ready students need a large number of opportunities to take part in rich, structured conversations. Celebrate National Poetry Month by encouraging poetic student conversation with these collaborative engagement opportunities.

    Set the Tone

    Before starting this monthlong tribute to poetry, make sure that poetry is really present in your room. Georgia Heard shares in her book, Poetry Lessons to Meet the Common Core State Standards, “If we make poetry visible — instead of poetry sitting quietly on a library shelf . . . — students will read poems every day.” Have your poetry out where students can engage with it. Make a copy of a poem and post it or write poems on 3" x 5" note cards and tape them on the walls and windows. The presence of poetry will spark conversations long after Poetry Month is over.

    Once you have made sure that the room is set, create a poetic environment for sharing that students will feel comfortable in. 

    Partner Read, Reflect, Respond

    Prior to partnering students, have a discussion about the language one should use when discussing poetry. Ask students to share what types of conversations they could have with each other about poems they read.

    Responses might include:

    • Understanding the poet

    • Finding words that caught my eye

    • Rhyming

    • Parts I might not understand

    • Lines that I liked

    Guide students with starters like:

    • I noticed . . .

    • It made me think of . . .

    • What I didn’t understand . . .

    • It reminds me of . . .

    • It made me feel . . .

    • I connected with . . .

    • When I first read the poem I felt like . . . Now I feel like . . .

    Tell students that they will be partnered with the same person before, during, and after the reading of the poem. Explain that they will need the same partner in order to go through the reflection process completely. This also creates a constant for students when they are sharing. By going back to the same person for reflecting while reading, partners can see a change in perspective from the beginning to the end of a poetry reading.

    After students are paired, share the title of the poem. Have partners connect face-to-face, on paper, or through a shared document to start their conversation. If there is an image of the poem, that can be shown as well. Guide students with the starters listed above and set a timer; five minutes is usually a good amount of time to share initial thoughts.

    Have partners read the poem together. Model the strategy: stop, think, and share. This is where students might read something that they have a question about or have made a connection to. Instead of waiting until the end of the poem, they can stop right at that moment and share. Partners can either respond or paraphrase back what was shared. Additionally, you might consider designating a stopping point within the poem. A prompt can let students know that you have arranged stopping points for students to stop reading and reflect with their partner. Again, reflecting can be face-to-face, digital conversation, or sharing notes in a poetry notebook.

    Students should continue doing this until they finish the poem. At that point, students should share final thoughts. Remind students that the conversations they are having is about the poem. Monitor conversations while students work.

    This partner shared activity is a great way to start or end your day with poetry. The tasks of reading the poem from beginning to end can be broken up through out the week. Make it work for your learning environment.

    Other Ideas for Collaborative Poetry:

    Acting Out a Poem

    Create small groups of students to interpret a poem and then act it out for the class. 

    Shared Writing

    Students can share a document and recreate an element that was studied (alliteration, rhyme, simile, metaphor, etc.) in a partner writing piece.

    Record Favorite Poems

    Have students partner up and record each other reading the poem. Students can create a background scene, or stand in front of the camera while they read. This activity will help students practice their fluency and address an ELA Speaking and Listening standard. #winwin

    Illustrate the Poem

    Creating a visual interpretation of the poem brings thoughts to paper. This is a great way to gather student comprehension of what was read. What did students see and understand when they read the poem? I always start this task by saying, “There is no 'right' way to draw your understanding." This helps those who are feeling less confident in expressing their artistic skills with a partner. 

    Turn a Poem Into a Readers Theater

    Have a small group of students take a poem and turn it into a Readers Theater. Students will need to collaborate on parts and how to present their performance to peers.

    Students thrive when a love for poetry is evident in a learning environment. While April is National Poetry Month, many of these ideas can be used throughout the school year. There are even more amazing lessons all over Scholastic’s Teaching poetry site. How do you celebrate poetry in your classroom? Please share an idea below.

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

     

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