Adventures in Literacy Land: poetry

Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

Math and Literacy Connection: Poetry

According to LaBonty and Danielson (2004), "reading and writing poetry about math involves students with listening, speaking, reading, and writing in order to develop and demonstrate an understanding of mathematical concepts and relationships."
Using poetry in math can develop an understanding of mathematical concepts and relationships. Visit this post on Adventures in Literacy Land to learn more.

Patterns are important in math as well as in poetry and both are dependent on students' skill with language (symbols/signs and verse/rhyme).  Poetry is an alternative vehicle for students to fine-tune their skills with the language of mathematics.  Reading and listening to poetry about math allows children to be immersed in the language of math.  Collaboratively writing poetry helps children function as "problem solvers rather than information receivers" (LaBonty and Danielson, 2004).

What does this look like in the classroom?

  • Lakeshore Learning provides a "read and respond" version of "Arithmetic" by Carl Sandburg
    • This would be a great beginning of the year activity to get students thinking about how they use math every day.
  • Using Shel Silverstein poems in math lessons from We Are Teachers
    •  "One Inch Tall" could be used to introduce the concept of an inch and what that measurement looks like in real life.  Then students can use the poem as a mentor text to write their poem using a different measurement (one centimeter, one meter, etc.).
    • Using the poem "Smart," you could see if students understand the difference between number of coins and the value of coins.
  • Illuminations lesson using "Shapes" by Shel Silverstein
    • Great to use in kindergarten after learning about all the shapes - read the poem out loud to the students and have them draw a illustration that depicts what is happening in the poem. Then students can discuss with each other what words/phrases in the poem helped them decide what to draw.
  • For any topic that you are teaching in math, students can write a poem that shows their understanding of the concept being learned.  I suggest only doing this after you have given students multiple examples of poetry (math and non-math related).
    • Each student can write a poem and they can be collected into one class book with a title that encompasses all the poems (for example:  Multiplication in Mrs. Wilson's Room or Quadrilaterals in My Life)
  • Looking for students to use mathematical terms but in a different way, you need to read this article about a collaboration between a high school math and English teacher - loved it! 
  • A second and third grade teacher used The Important Book as a mentor text to have students write about a geometry term.  This article "Mathematics and Poetry" details what she did.
If you missed previous posts in the Math and Literacy Connection Series, no fear, I have linked them for you:
  • January - introduction on why the connection is important and learn about the vocabulary strategy: word splash
  • February - teaching academic vocabulary in math using strategies from your literacy instruction
Next month I will continue the series with writing strategies that help students in math.

Math and Literacy Connection Series at Adventures in Literacy Land

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Books in Verse- a Fun Option for Young Readers

Have you tried books written in verse with your students? These types of books have been around for a while but they seem to be gaining traction this year. Why are these books so hot right now? Readers are always looking for something new and these sure are. The books are often quick and easy reads which make them more accessible to busy children, parents who are doing the read alouds, and a great way to get reluctant readers interested!

If you look at the books written in verse out there, they are also really diverse. The narrators and content covers just about anything you can think of.

In order to help  you get started with types of books,  I have a few suggestions for you and some details about each book, including rough suggestions of what age level the books would be appropriate for. Of course with any book, teachers or parents should always look at it themselves to determine if it is appropriate for a specific child. Check out these selections and let us know if books in verse are in your library!

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech has been out for a while. The narrator of the story is a young boy who learns to use poetry to express himself. It makes for a great read aloud or for students in grades 3 and up.

 The Crossover by Kwame Alexander just won the Newbury. It is the tale of twin brothers and deals with issues such as the brother's new girlfriend, their relationship with their father sibling rivalry and all the ups and downs of playing basketball. Some of the verse has an edgy quality that would appeal to kids and sounds similar to rap lyrics. This is a book for older kids though, as it does have a sad ending so maybe try it for ages 10 and up.

  A good read for animal lovers or those who want to start a discussion with youngsters on community and relationships is Little Dog, Lost. There are several different things going on with the plot - a dog who needs an owner, a boy who needs a dog, and a neighbor who needs a friend. This is a great read aloud and I would say would work as one for ages 6 and up and maybe as independent reading for ages 7 or 8 and up, depending on the child's reading level.

  Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger This one is great for children in grades 1-3 as either a read aloud or independent reading. The story consists of poems of different forms to describe the day of fishing, and has fun illustrations to boot. Kids who dont know much about fishing will still enjoy the style and the story of a boy who is excited for his day fishing until he realizes his little sister is going to tag along too!

The Cat on the Mat Is Flat is another fun take on books written in verse. It is a beginning reader's books and consists of seven short stories. They are humourously illustrated and have gotten many a reluctant reader excited. They would probably be good for ages 4-8.

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes is the tale of a girl whose parents separate after which she has to go to a new school. Grimes is a wonderful writing and the story comes alive. The girl, Gabby, has an understanding new teacher who helps her get her thoughts in writing and a new word of possibilities opens up. This would be a good read for students in grades 4 and up (maybe third grade depending on the student, their reading level and if they were going to read it alone or experience it as a read aloud.

Thank you and happy reading!


Cause and Effect with Poetry

Happy National Poetry Month! It's Jen here from An Adventure in Literacy. There are just a few days left of Poetry Month. As quality educators, we know that poetry should be celebrated all year- not just in April. However, I thought I would end poetry month with some tips on using poetry to teach cause and effect.

Poems are short and simple. That makes them perfect for practicing cause and effect. Two of my favorite poets for elementary students are Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein. They are classic poets that I enjoyed as a child and my students continue to love their poems each year. Kids enjoy and appreciate the humor and silliness in their poems.

In Jack Prelutsky's books there are a lot of short, four line poems. Many of these have a cause and effect that young readers can figure out easily. We create a chart of poetry cause and effect and add to it as we're reading the poems. Most of these poems are silly, so students really enjoy the fictional cause and effect scenarios.

You can also use longer poems to analyze different causes for one effect . "I Should Have Stayed in Bed Today" by Jack Prelutsky is a great poem to discuss the causes of why the boy thinks he should have stayed in bed.

If you're interested in more great teaching ideas for cause and effect be sure to check out Bex's post on Literacy Land. Do you have a favorite poem to use for cause and effect? Leave us a comment and let us know. 


Using Poetry to Teach Figurative Language

Hi! It's Melissa from Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late.

We are rounding up third nine weeks here in Virginia while trying to catch up from three weeks of snow with only 6 instructional days spattered in between. Fortunately two of our final skills before review for fifth grade make for a perfect pairing: figurative language and poetry.

I don't know why we haven't already structured our pacing guides to just teach them together, but our school has unofficially done this. Students really struggle with both skills, so I love being able to spend extra time in each to really hit it hard.

Personally, I feel like the most important thing when teaching figurative language is that students can recognize it and begin to understand what it means. I do teach them the different types, and we go over definitions and examples, but I'm not too concerned if they have trouble naming it when they see it. I did create a quick figurative language booklet (the pink book below) for my students to use as a reference. You can read about it on my blog here.

Really, though, that booklet was just to prepare them for poetry analysis. I found this gem last year from Middle Grades Maven and feel like it's one of the best resources I have bought. You can use any poem or song, though. I know Erin from I'm Lovin' Lit uses a lot of popular songs to teach it, and I think that's an awesome resource, too!

 Poetry Analysis Booklet

I like this resource because the poems are short and simple, but the students are then challenged to find different types of figurative language AND EXPLAIN WHAT IT MEANS! Don't miss that. I feel like some teachers will use poems or songs to have the students find the figurative language, but then they move on. What's the point in identifying it if they still don't understand why the author said it? We spend a lot of time discussing why those specific phrases were used, which also covers author's craft without the students realizing it.

My favorite thing about this booklet, though, is that it helps relieve some of the anxiety my students tend to have when they see poetry. Poems are consistently tough when I look at test data, and I will do anything I can to try and help them along the way.

After we have finished the booklets (we're a little behind because of the snow), I want to find some longer and more difficult poems for them to explain. It would also be fun to have students try to mimic some of these poems to create their own. Poetry month is just around the corner. The possibilities are endless!

What plans do you have for poetry month?


Poet-Tree with Words, Wit, and Wonder

April is the perfect time to celebrate one of my favorite topics, poetry. I had the opportunity to observe my intervention students in their regular classroom this week.  In both reading and writing they are studying poetry.

Poetry Mentor Text

Miss Reisinger launched the unit with the book, Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing Your Own Poem

Author, Nancy Loewen
Words, Wit, and Wonder is recommended as a poetry mentor text by Lucy Calkins and The Reading and Writing Project.

  • In the first part of the book, rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, similes, metaphors, and onomatopoeia are explained in kid-friendly terms.
  • In the second half of the book, six poetry forms - acrostic, cinquain, concrete, free verse, haiku, and limericks - are introduced.
  • Each of the twelve tools presented is accompanied by an example poem.  

Writer's Workshop

As the unit progressed, students began writing their own poetry.  They referred to the mentor text during writer's workshop.

Words, Wit, and Wonder
Pictured here is Tool 7 - Acrostic Poems from the mentor text.  The explanation of an acrostic poem is given in the purple box on the left-hand side of the page; to the right is an example poem, "Spelling Test".

The student above is drafting his own acrostic poem, "Hobbits," while referring to the example from the text.

Words, Wit, and Wonder
Pictured here is Tool 9 - Concrete Poems.  

The student pictured above is drafting a concrete poem in his writer's notebook.

Publishing:  The Poet-Tree 

As students complete a published piece of poetry, it is added to a class book and hung on the Poet-Tree. 

A close-up view of the "concrete" branch of the tree.
A close-up view of the "couplet" branch of the tree.
Students are working on other types of poetry that will be added to the interactive bulletin board as they are published.  What a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month!

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day.  If you would like to learn more about it, Lauren wrote a great post about it {here}.

Would you like to read more about poetry across the grade levels? Andrea has an awesome post {here}, freebies included!

Do you have a favorite book or activity you use when teaching poetry? Our readers would love to know.  Please share your ideas in the comments.  :)


Five for Friday ~ Poetry Across the Grades

Hello, everyone!  Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars here today!  I have been on my Spring Break this week and am not ready to go back.  But, I am excited to share some fun poetry ideas for everyone, especially with Poem in Your Pocket Day next week!

This post is linked with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching.

Poetry can be used with even the youngest of children.  Nursery rhymes and other simple rhymes are perfect to use with young children.  I use them with my own daughter and kindergarten students to help them with rhyming.  Just listening to the poems and rhyming together helps them out so much!

I also use simple poems with my kindergarteners to work on concept of word.  I use nursery rhymes and simple songs to help them know where words are in print.  We progress throughout the year as we read poems.  Here are some examples of things we do with the poems.
Using stickers to mark words
Finding words in the poems
Here is a freebie of Weather Poems that are perfect for Concept of Word from Carla at Comprehension Connection.  Click {here} or on the picture below to grab it from her TPT store.
Weather Poems for Concept of Word and Word Work

Using poetry with beginning readers is always fun!  We use the poems as repeated readings to help with fluency.  I use one poem throughout the week with the students to help with fluency practice.  We also work through other activities as well, such as locating sight words or other words they need to know.  We continue to work with rhyming words as beginning readers too.

Em from Curious Firsties has a great post on using poems for repeated readings.  You can read her post by clicking {here}.

As children progress as readers, so do their needs as readers.  Poetry lends itself well for helping students with important reading skills.  Once students are more fluent as readers and have the basics for reading, they need to hone in on important skills.  At this stage, students really need more work on prosody, the rhythm of speech.  We really have fun with this as we highlight punctuation marks and other types of print to help them focus on HOW to read the words and phrases.  I posted about this in February, and you can read this post {here}.
Of course, once students become competent readers, they work with poetry in different ways.  Once students are familiar with the ins and outs of poetry, they can begin to work with comprehension.  Students in third grade and beyond can work on reading poetry and thinking about what happens in the poem.  Sometimes poems can be tricky, but if you start out with poems they know, like nursery rhymes {yes, nursery rhymes with older students}, they can understand comprehension skills easier.  Many nursery rhymes tell a story and have some type of cause and effect.  Think about "Jack and Jill".  Kids can learn so much from that one rhyme!

Problem:  They need water.  Solution:  They go up the hill to get it.

Cause:  Jack fell down.  Effect:  He broke his crown.

And as students go through the middle and high school grades, they can use that simple knowledge on more complex poems.

Even though many of these ideas seem to be specific for each stage of reading, readers in all stages can benefit from poetry.  The ideas in the various stages can be used for other stages as well.

All readers can find imagery in poetry and visualize what is happening.  Each week when we read poems in my groups, we spend some time drawing a picture of what is happening or what the students think about when they read the poem.  Here is an example of a student's drawing based on the poem we read.

Thank you to Lauren from Teacher Mom of 3 for this wonderful set of May poems,which is where I got the poem for the above picture!  You can grab them for free from her TPT store by clicking {here} or on the picture below.

Students of all ages can also write simple poetry.  Many start with the simple acrostic poem and work their way into some more complex types.  I like to use the Bio Poem with my students when they study famous people.  Here is a freebie template for planning a Bio Poem.

And in honor of Poem in Your Pocket Day, which Lauren wrote about on Wednesday in this post, here is a freebie you can use with your students for their poems in their pockets.

Bex from Reading and Writing Redhead also has a great freebie full of resources for helping to teach poetry in this blog post.

There are so many wonderful ways to use poetry in our classrooms!  What are some fun ways you have used poetry with your students?

**Thank you to Ashley Hughes for the cute kids in this post!

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