TIPS FOR TEACHERS
Read: Read aloud. Read slowly. Read each poem more than once. Invite your students to close their eyes and picture what you’re reading, if they like. Bring props. Bring pictures. Define unusual words. Read the poem together. Read it and have students join in when you get to their favorite parts. Have student volunteers or groups of students read different parts. Read different parts in different voices. Have students read the refrain. Have students fill in the rhymes. Read all kinds of poems by lots of different writers with different backgrounds. Ask students to bring in favorite poems.
Discuss: Instead of analyzing a poem, try to enjoy it and experience it with your students. What did you experience as it was being read? What did you feel? What did you think? What did you notice? What was your favorite part? Why? What confused you? What surprised you? What seemed new to you? Read a poem and don’t discuss it.
Write: Read mentor poems. Do prewriting activities. Brainstorm ideas. Make word banks. Draw pictures. Write about things you can see and touch and hear and experience. Write together as a class. Write in pairs. Try a different point of view. Try a different voice. Try a different form.
Give Feedback: Give feedback as a reader. Tell the writer what you experienced as you read the poem. What did you feel? What did you think? What did you appreciate? What confused you? Provide instruction and structure for students to give feedback to one another.
Revise: Revision is always part of writing. Ask students to take another look at their language, metaphors, line breaks, and punctuation. Is there language that could be more specific or interesting? Is there language that could be clearer or less familiar? Ask students to experiment with different line breaks and different punctuation.
Share: Make a bulletin board. Make a book. Include a poem in a letter to a friend or family member. Share with another class.