Welcome to Mentor Monday everyone! I feel as if Spring is slowly creeping in here. Temperatures are still in the high 40s and low 50s and the wind loves hanging around. If you’re like me, you’re eager to get out and enjoy some warmer weather and see all those Spring flowers bloom. In my garden crocuses appear first. Then forsythia, tulips, and later lilac and irises. By May June, things are really exploding! Spring is a most joyful time and what better time to celebrate poetry?
Over the years I’ve had several teachers ask what I use to teach children not only about the structure of poetry but to really enjoy writing it too. That may seem like a tall order, but I’ve narrowed it down to three teacher resources that I’ll share with you today. I’ve used many others but I’ve gotten lots of great ideas from these.
1. When I’ve kicked off National Poetry Month in my class, I’ve always read aloud Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. Let me tell you-I LOVE THAT BOOK.
Jack is a reluctant poet and has an ongoing conversation with his teacher about not wanting to share his own stories through them. It’s written entirely in free verse and will really hold your student’s interest. Miss Stretchberry, Jack’s teacher, introduces some classic poems to his class and through Jack’s conversations, your class be taken along for the poetic ride. There are several parallel stories going on within this one book which are worth discussing with your kiddos, but I won’t spoil them if you haven’t read it. Please pick up this book. You will not regret it. (I would not recommend this book for any class younger than third grade.)
OK- Now that you’ve heard about one of my absolute fav books to use during a poetry unit, here are my suggested mentor texts for you.
Regie is one of all time favorite literacy leaders. Boy, I’d love to sit down and have lunch with her sometime! Everything she writes just makes perfect sense to me in a non-overwhelming and refreshing way.
I used this book with my thirds to help emphasize that POEMS DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO RHYME! (sorry for all the caps) Furthermore, it’s actually harder to write rhyming poetry that will make sense and follow a rhythm and cadence. It’s darn hard sometimes for kids to write a rhyming poem that’s actually good. They’ll be sitting there for 20 minutes trying to find a word that rhymes with gorilla when they could be letting their ideas flooooow with free verse. With free verse, you’re free! Regie offers advice on how to use this large collection of poetry written by children about various topics. I projected a few poems from this book every day. You’ll notice Regie includes a rough draft and a final published draft, which I love so students will see the changes made before publishing. We had discussions starting with “What did you notice?” “What works well with this poem or not so well?” “Do you see a pattern in the poet’s use of white space?” After our discussion, my students had quiet time to work on their own free verse poetry in a poetry anthology we kept all year long. This notebook had a collection of original poetry and poetry written by others that I may have used in a lesson and asked them to glue in and keep. Please add this to your collection. It really is a must!
Please scroll further down right after this post and read my April Picture Pals post from 4/5/14. This is a brand new idea I have, and I really need your help. Thank you! 🙂
*Note to fellow teacher bloggers: If you’d like to link up your post with a mentor text about this literacy topic, THANK YOU!
Here is a link to the Mentor Monday button I’ve created.
Please use it at the beginning of your post to make it easily recognizable on all link-ups. Also, please name your post Mentor Monday Linky 4/7/14: Teacher Resources For Teaching Poetry. You’ll find the link-up at the end of this post. It will stay open until 11:30 P.M. Wednesday night 4/9/14.
I’m so excited to read your posts to learn about some other great picture books. Thank you for visiting my blog today! I’d love for you to follow me on Bloglovin‘ by clicking the heart on the blue book in the right sidebar. Please come back each week for Mentor Monday! :))