Monday, February 9, 2009

poetry lessons

This is my favorite source for poetry lessons for 7th and 8th graders - Writing Process Activities Kit by Mary Lou Brandvik.  I realize there are writing lessons of various sorts in the book, but I have borrowed this book countless times from colleagues during the past six years for the exclusive purpose of teaching my favorite unit ever - poetry.

I never read much poetry until I was student teaching at a local high school and the cooperating teacher asked me, "Do you like poetry?  Who's your favorite poet?"  Ummm........

During my first year of teaching, a colleague/friend recommended the poetry unit in this book. Teaching poetry means writing poetry, and I enjoy writing poetry much more than reading poetry. Here's one previous post about this poetry unit and how (last year) I incorporated "nature walks" (on school property) into the unit.  Honest to goodness, when your students follow the prescribed poetry lesson forms, someone who does not know your lesson will read those poems and be flabbergasted at the depth of feeling and strength of voice.  They can't tell that your students were simply following your directions!!!

For example, the first poem in the unit is the "List Poem".  Students write a personal list of "don'ts" from their parents.  They LOVE writing this poem!!!  Another is the family metaphor poem, and students compare their family and individual members with some object or concept, such as "My family is a medicine cabinet/Mom is the band-aid/Dad is the glue/I am the shelves holding everyone up".  (I am paraphrasing the sample poem in the lesson.)

The best return for this unit is holding a Poetry Cafe event - invite parents, faculty, administrators, etc. to attend, provide snacks, and each student reads one poem.  All the adults will be overwhelmed and some will cry.  Promise.

I do NOT teach this unit in my current remedial course just because... some of my students have English teachers who teach this unit in their regular English class.  Oh well!  I pass along this absolute resource GEM to you!!!

1 comment:

ms-teacher said...

I will have to get this book! Thanks for sharing :)