Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poetry Unit

So now we've been focusing on Poetry for the month of April.  I love this unit because the more reluctant kids seem to flourish when they write poetry.  They don't have to worry about punctuation and they can make it look as long or as short as they want.

Here is a picture of our anchor chart by the end of the unit:

One of the things we talked about were line breaks and shaping the poem so it looks the way you want it to.  I took this poem and wrote it on sentence strips.  Then I cut it so that each word was by itself.  We kept the words in the same order but changed where we wanted our lines to stop.  We kept rereading it and changing it until we liked the way it looked and sounded.  One of the students suggested putting one word on each line at the end because it made her voice slow down and it sounded like a good ending.  :)
I'm pretty sure I got this idea from the book,
 Awakening the Heart, by Georgia Heard.                                  

Another minilesson focused on personification.  I did this with fifth graders once so I was a little nervous about whether or not my firsties would understand what to do.  They did such a great job!  I was so happy.  First we wrote this poem together about a pencil:

 Then they went back to their seats to write independently.  I was so impressed with what they did.  Take a look at how one of my students wrote about a nice, fluffy cloud turning darker and darker until it rains (cries). I absolutely loved it!  (The poem to the right is the one we created together after the minilesson).    

Nice and fluffy
Cozy and soft
uh oh...
I turn 
now I am 

All the Small Poems and Fourteen More (Sunburst Book)All The Small Poems and 14 More, By Valerie Worth is a great book to use.  It is full of poems with personification, similes and metaphors.  
Finally, I can't talk about my poetry unit without mentioning my favorite resource:  Regie Routman's, Kids Poems: Teaching First Graders to Love Writing Poetry  This is my absolute favorite book to refer to during this unit.  There are a ton of poems written by other first graders that model a particular strategy.  The kids love to read other first graders poems.  
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