Friday, September 07, 2012

Poetry Friday in the Classroom

For my mini-lesson today in Reading Workshop, I'll project the 5th grade Week 2 poem from
The Poetry Friday Anthology (Common Core ALL GRADES (K-5) e-book) (The Poetry Friday Anthology E-book Series (Grade-by-Grade))
It's a fun poem by Irene Latham in the voice of a backpack. It will get us talking about personification.

And about that talk...I've had great success with what Ellin Keene calls "Open Forum" in her book, Talk About Understanding: Rethinking Classroom Talk to Enhance Comprehension
When we're sitting in a circle (in chairs or on the floor) and I call for an "Open Forum" discussion, it lets the students know that they will "pass the conversational ball" from student to student, rather than every comment going through me. They do not raise their hands to take turns. After the first person speaks, the next person says that person's name, along with a statement of agreement or disagreement, or some other conversational segue. ("Billy, I agree with what you said about your backpack. I had the same thing happen one time...")

During the independent reading time on Poetry Friday, students read poetry alone or with a partner (or two). The goal is for everyone to participate in the oral reading of a poem at the end of the period during share time. Eventually, we will work together to develop a rubric to use for self- and teacher-evaluation of their presentations, but at the beginning, it's all for fun.

Last week, I limited the students to only the books in my poetry collection by Douglas Florian and J. Patrick Lewis, so this week I will choose books by topic -- perhaps only putting out books of nature poetry from which to choose. And, in keeping with the poem in the mini-lesson, we'll keep our eyes peeled for examples of personification the poems we read.

Poetry Friday is fairly informal and definitely a lot of fun. Even if you don't have a large collection of poetry in your classroom library, you can check 20-30 books out of your school or public library and be ready to have fun reading poetry once a week throughout the school year. Infect your class with your enthusiasm for having fun with poetry!

For fun with Poetry Friday on the blogs, go to Katya's blog, Write. Sketch. Repeat. for the Poetry Friday roundup of posts.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Mary Lee - Irene's poem is so much fun; the kids will love it. What great activities you're leading them in - love that "open Forum" idea. And it's fun to hear ways the Anthology is coming to life in classrooms!

  2. I like the idea that you are grouping so that everyone will have a chance to read at least one poem to the others. It all sounds great, Mary Lee. I don't know the backpack poem (guess I'd better get that Anthology!), but used to have students sketch their packs & they loved it! Backpacks are special to them. Thanks for sharing what you do.

  3. Thanks for explaining the way you're sharing poetry! I really like your goal of having every student participate in the oral reading of a poem. Reading poetry aloud is perfect for developing confidence. It works the same the way as when you try on pretty clothes and feel pretty. When you hear words that go together perfectly tumbling out of your mouth, you learn to respect your voice and to love speaking or reading aloud. Your students are very lucky to have you!!

  4. Love the idea of "Open Forum" I have never tried that format on Poetry Friday. Also the sense of having to listen to each others comments is HUGE for me. I am writing a blog post about the change I am making in my class this year.

  5. Thank you for sharing your plans. Poetry Friday in your class sounds like a wonderful way to end each week with the celebration of poems. I am looking forward to using the Poetry Friday Anthology this year- downloaded the e-book and won a copy of the book!!


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