Friday, October 26, 2012

Poetry Fun!

This week we started our unit on poetry. It has been F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S!  Mostly because I completely lucked out!! The past few weeks have been hectic to say the LEAST! On the way home from visiting my grandmother in the hospital last Sunday, I stopped by Barnes and Noble to pick up the beloved Shel Silverstein book Where the Sidewalk Ends - my copy had mysteriously disappeared after our poetry unit last year- shocker! Some lucky kiddo is enjoying it somewhere (I hope!) :) Anyway, I had planned on going in for just that one book- just the one! Wouldn't ya know that Barnes and Noble's deceptive powers took hold and I walked out with an armload of poetry books that I just *couldn't* live without! Thank goodness for my educator card! I really had no idea what a goldmine I had until I got home that night!

During my much deserved shopping spree (lol) I picked up several new poetry books, but I have to say my favorite was  Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry With a Beat.

I had never seen this book before and I am SO glad I found it! My kiddos are used to listening to rap and hip hop and to introduce poetry I always start with song lyrics. But this book took that to a whole new level! 

To backtrack a bit, on Monday we did a poetry exploration to kick off our unit. I put out tons of poetry books with poems of all types and the kids just read, read, read! They loved having the freedom to pick through the books until they found a poem they liked. I made sure that several types of poems were represented and that the kids had adequate time to encounter different types of poems. During this process, I continued to ask the students to think about their definition of poetry. At the end of our exploration time, we came to the carpet to summarize our findings and write down some of the things we noticed. 

The kids did a great job noticing the characteristics of poetry. They realized that some of the poems had rhyme, some didn't; some had rhythm, and some didn't. I was very pleased. The definition at the bottom was kid-generated. Not too shabby!! 

But the best part came on Tuesday...

The book I mentioned earlier came with a CD so you can hear the poems read aloud by the poets themselves! Too cool, right!?!  The kids got to hear the poems the way they were meant to be heard- and the best part was that some were true song lyrics with music and all! I could display the poems underneath my document camera so they could read along as they listened. To say my kids enjoyed it would be the understatement of the century- I had to do the whole "Ok boys and girls, settle down!" bit a few times to calm their excitement! But never before had I seen the kids so excited to read poetry! We listened to and read along with "Principal's Office" by Young MC, "Ladies First" by Queen Latifah, and "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. Of course, they immediately picked up on the rhythm and rhyme, but they also began to notice repetition- which is a great start to day two!

After we listened to the those pieces, we listened to and read several other poems. The editor of the book, Nikki Giovanni, is an award-winning poet herself, and she included fabulous poems by several famous poets including Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and other poetry greats. My kiddos were introduced to metaphors in the poem "Waitin' on Summer" by Ruth Forman and discovered the importance of word choice while reading and listening to "Dat Dere" by Oscar Brown Jr. The book offers such a wonderful variety of quality poetry with beautiful sensory language and the sound that accompanies it is just the icing on the cake. My kids are officially hooked on poetry! 

For the rest of the week we explored all different types of poetry.  My kids have fallen in love with poetry and have really enjoyed searching for poetic devices. I found great resources from Amanda at  One Extra Degree with her Poetry: The Music of Our Hearts unit as well as from Hope King's iPoetry unit. I combined the two and put together a poetry packet that I am loving!. Amanda's unit has some great resources that help teach specific poetry skills- my favorite is one she calls 'Speaker Seeker' for those tricky poems where the speaker is something other than a person. I love it! To check out these units, click on the links below the graphics.

Some of the other books we used to explore poetry this week include (but surely are not limited to:)

Next week we will continue our poetry exploration and have a little poetry "Shel-abration" (many thanks to Amanda for the cute and creative idea!) I can't wait to share more!

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

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