National Poetry Month in April is perhaps the best time to celebrate poets and their poetry and also teach poetry to your students. There are many fun ways to teach poetry in your classroom.
But poetry doesn’t need to be taught only during National Poetry Month.
If integrated into the daily curriculum, it is an effective medium of promoting literacy and also a medium whereby students express themselves unreservedly.
Besides, reading a poem aloud to the class at the start or end of the day creates an appreciation for the elements of poetry, namely rhythm, and rhyme.
So here are three main ways that we can teach poetry and inspire a love for poetry in our students not just during National Poetry Month, but all year round.
Ways To Teach Poetry: Inspiration From Nature
Much of writing poetry stems from the stimulation of our senses. So, for students to get inspiration for their poems, take them outside – away from the four walls of the classroom and out into the great outdoors.
Mother nature has her way of bringing out the best of human emotions and this is the moment when students will understand the poetic devices of simile, metaphor, personification, and the rest.
I recall, when I was teaching my students to write a Haiku, I provided a modeled sample of the poem so they could study the structure (number of lines, syllables). Then we went outside and students got to pick any one object of nature to write a haiku on. Interestingly, most of them picked the big tree that was a particular favorite during recess.
The end result was that students did a good job of writing their haikus as this was a meaningful way to connect with the teaching of poetry and the poem.
Ways To Teach Poetry: Through Dance
To target your kinesthetic and visual learners, you can teach poetry through dance and movement.
Students will be able to derive meaning from poems when they are performed.
Through the dance teaching methodologies, students will learn to appreciate a poem’s form, content, narration, and style.
Perhaps students could watch a dance performance and write a free-verse poem expressing a particular feeling.
For many students, this is a fun way to express their feelings through a poem. For teachers, it’s one of many effective ways to teach poetry to their students.
Ways To Teach Poetry: Explicit Teaching
One of the best ways to teach poetry is to teach it explicitly. I have found that by scaffolding the structure of different poem types, students have a better understanding of poem content leaving more room for creativity.
Teaching students about the structure of a Cinquain, for example, involves telling them that it is a 5 line poem on a specific subject. Each line has a specific language device and the poem may tell a story or have an action happening.
The same goes for a limerick that is also 5 lines long but follows a specific rhyme scheme of A,A,B,B,A and is usually funny.
A favorite poem that my students like to write is the Bio Poem. They like to write about themselves and I like to think this self-expression is exhilarating for them.
Reading their poems, I get to know a lot more about each one of them and that definitely builds a connection and makes it easier to think of many more ways to teach poetry and make learning fun in the process.
An Acrostic Poem is a particular favorite too. This is the easiest to teach as acrostics can be written on any topic and each letter of the topic word begins a line. Students love writing about anything related to family and – yes school.
As students write their poems, it is also important to provide them with a rubric so they can keep in mind the expected criteria as they edit and revise prior to publishing. This poetry marking rubric is also useful when grading students’ writing and justifying the score.
There are many ways of documenting the teaching of poetry, but one way to record explicit teaching is by having students compile an anthology of all popular poem types. This is definitely a valuable keepsake for students to cherish, appreciate poetry, and above all a creative outlet for their thoughts to become words.
👉🏼 Try this Bio Poem with your students and get to know more about them.
Need to also teach your students how to write creatively? Read this post on ‘Ban the Boring..’.
Until next time…