Saturday, April 23, 2011

Launching Our Poetry Unit!

We began to study poetry this week... and it was a short one!  We didn't have school on Friday, so I spent four days getting our feet wet.  We haven't gotten into any of the heavy, more involved components of my poetry unit.  Instead, I tore a page out of Deanna Jump's book.  We also spent time dissecting the genre, because I want to scaffold my kiddos A LOT before I expect them to be poetry connoisseurs!  

We discussed the meaning of poetry and how the sensory language in poems helps us to visualize.  I  used two posters from my poetry unit as anchor charts.  Then, we created Green Giants using the Jack Prelutsky poem.  I thought the idea was cute when I read about it on Deanna's blog, and it was so concrete!  It was perfect to launch mental pictures with poetry.  Of course, my students have been drawing mental pictures all year, BUT I want them to zone in on all of the subtleties in poetry when we get into more sophisticated poems.  This was a great launching pad.  We also worked with "My Neighbor's Dog is Purple".  If you'd like to use music to incorporate poetry and mental pictures into your genre study, I used Philadelphia Chickens, and the kids sketched Pig Island while the music played!  (I wish I would have snapped pictures, but we were so busy that day.  I forgot!)  I love all of the books/cds by Sandra Boynton!  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The little speech bubble in the corner says, "Oh my hamburger!"   Too comical!
We explored similes again, this time within the context of poetry.  I finally got a chance to use the little visual aids I made from the Lettering Delights Woody Whatnots set!  We read Crazy Like a Fox, and the kids got to complete each simile before I turned the page to find out which one the author actually chose to use!  Then, we used my poster set to create new similes that branched off of each example.  Lastly, the kids were able to make simile books or posters to create their own NEW similes!  They really enjoyed working on these, and I loved seeing how creative they were! One of my history loving students created a "Military Simile" book using similes like "as quick as a fighter jet" and "as sly as a guided missile".  Creativity!  As luck would have it, my camera died after this photo was taken. 

Another fun activity we did involved a wow words search after reading The Boy Who Loved Words! The kids were given a red piece of paper that they cut into the shape of a heart.  They looked around the room, through books, and in dictionaries for words that make them say "Wow"! They chose words that were fun to say, had interesting spellings, or sounded just plain fancy.  I told them to copy the words as carefully as they could, but of course, I still have students who struggle with this skill! So, the hearts were life-savers, because it allowed the kiddos to get their words down before coming to me with their wow words.  We added the words to our class chart (with conventional spelling) to help us pay attention to precise language as we examine poetry.  Poetry is concise.  Every word matters.  Every word carries weight.

I wanted to model finding poetic words and poetic language because I am in the process of creating poetry centers from Georgia Heard's Awakening the Heart.  It's an amazing resource!  Unfortunately, because of the copyright, I cannot post the complete centers here.  Ultimately though, the kids will be going on a treasure hunt for poetic words and phrases!  They will be looking through poems and picture books like Owl Moon or Twilight Comes Twice (books that we have already read together).  Then, the kiddos will record the poetic language they encounter before choosing one line to write and illustrate on a bookmark.  Viola!


  1. I love this! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Looks like they had fun!

    I'm already a follower! Great site!

    Little Priorities

  3. Amanda,
    Poetry is our final reading genre in our district so I'm super excited to see how you are kicking off your own poetry unit. I love the idea of using the Green Giant poem. We just talked about vivid word choice to help us revise our writing, so the mental imagery/Green Giant lesson will be a natural way to link what we've already been discussing. AWESOME! :)