April is National Poetry Month, so we do lots of things with poetry:
- The Best Part of Me
- Poem in your Pocket
- Poetry Podcast
We read The Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald. It’s a collection of poems and photographs of the best parts of each of the individual authors. One boy has a picture of his eyes and all the things he sees and appreciated with his eyes. Someone else tells of long legs that run and play and get mosquito bites and feet with cut and painted toenails. I bought this book at Amazon with a gift card I had received from a student teacher. Thanks, Cody!
We read the book together and I use it in our Daily 5 Read with a Partner Station for a week. The next week, the students choose the best part of themselves and write poems in Google Docs. I let them choose the type of poetry and length of the poem they like. The poems they write are amazing! They have great insight on their best parts. We take a photo of their best parts and they include them on their poem page. I made a web page for their Best Part of Me Poems and have them posted there for the world to see. They like being able to share their work with parents and friends.
National Poem in your Pocket Day is lots of fun. My students write short poems or they choose one from a book or website and rewrite it on a yellow paper with a listening log on the back. On the designated day, they carry their poem with them wherever they go - playground, soccer practice, whatever - and they have to read their poem to at least 10 people using inflection and expression. I challenge them to read their poem to 30 people and have them sign their listening log. Maybe you’ve read about our Classroom Economy. I give a $50 bonus to anyone who meets my 30-listener challenge. It’s so much fun to hear poetry being recited all day long. Parents have commented about how much they love this day, as well. My Poem in your Pocket Day project is available HERE.
My favorite part of April is when we make our Poetry Podcasts. The kids love it and the parents love to hear their kids online. Students choose a poem from a book or write their own. We have a set of Chromebooks that we use for recording. We use an app called Twisted Wave and save the recordings into Google Drive. Twisted Wave can be used as a website and saved into your Documents Folder on a Desktop Computer, too, if you use a microphone. I give them a script for introducing their poem and citing the source. Even your most introverted students can shine in this project because they record all alone. After everyone has recorded, I add their podcasts to a web page on my classroom site. You can hear some of their podcasts HERE. We can tweet and share on Facebook, increasing our audience base, and they are shared on our Cougar News Broadcast. In class, we listen to each one and use a rubric and accountable talk to give feedback to each student. The directions, scripts, and rubrics are available HERE.