Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Poetry: A Shared Writing Experience

My first graders have been busy reading, listening, noticing, and creating poetry.  I'm already considering different ways to tweak and improve this unit.  In my district we use Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Primary Writing.  I also use other resources, such as Kid's Poems by Reggie Routman.

Some of the key understandings that I want students to take away from this unit are: 
  • Write about things you REALLY care about
  • Consider word choice
  • Use only the words you need for your message
  • Poems can be short
  • Poems utilize line breaks, white space, and repetition
  • Endings are important-Poems need a sense of closure
Some important considerations for me are:
  • Start with lots of examples-exposure to poetry is important
  • Choice is important-allow students to choose what they'll write about and which poem they'll publish 
  • Give students the opportunity to share their work daily

As we finish up our poetry unit, my students are been busy polishing their own poems.  A few days ago we created a class poem about pizza.  This poem was inspired by Kid's Poems by Reggie Routman.  We brainstormed words first, like hot, red peppers, peperoni, cheese crust, Hawaiian, black olives, mushrooms, and pineapple pizza. This is what our working copy looked like.

This is our final product:

I Love Pizza
by Mrs. Ruckes' Class

Pizza, pizza
People like
different kinds of pizza.
Pizza, pizza
People like
different kinds of toppings.
Pepperoni and
Pizza, pizza
Everyone loves pizza!

The kids were so excited about our class poem, and couldn't wait to publish it.  So we did.  Now, who should illustrate it?  Perhaps I will... I think they'll like that.

Next Steps?  Creating our Poetry Anthology.  These will make great gifts for the end of the school year.

When writing a class poem, do you guide your students to write the poem a certain way?
Do you just let the magic happen?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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