As a writer, I have always enjoyed poetry. There is just so much you can do with it! As a reader, you can make inferences, determine a theme, ask questions, explore the mood, and the list goes on. As a writer, you are able to use figurative language and add similes, metaphors, and personification to your work. So much can be studied and created with one simple poem. Additionally, if you are nervous about exploring close reading, you can begin with a poem. Students who are usually intimidated by long pieces of text with size nine font are suddenly ready to try a close read when it is the form of a poem. I have always found a place for poetry in my ELA classroom because it is so versatile!
With the new year quickly approaching, students may want to create their own resolutions. They may engage in goal setting activities to guide the remainder of their school year. A great way to encourage this type of thinking is to have each student create an "I Am" poem. Students will truly enjoy sharing who they are and what they are about. Spend some time discussing how the new year is a time for transformation. Students could even write two poems: one for who they were before the new year and one for who they are (or hope to be) after the new school year.
When I teach this, I begin by sharing a sample "I Am" poem such as the one below. Although I have provided a picture of this, I did not include a copy because I think it is best when teachers share about their own lives as a model. It is much more interesting for students to learn about you than it is for them to have a random model. To make, use a piece of chart paper set up like this:
Be sure to model your thinking as you create your own poem so students can use the same thinking as they are writing.
You can copy the template from the link below to create a poster to write on if your school has a poster maker. If not, chart paper will work! Don't forget the technology available to you! This could also be inserted into an interactive chart on the classroom whiteboard.
As another option, make the poem interactive! Here are some directions for making this activity interactive. Just click on the link to print your instructions.
Below you can click to have a copy of the this version. It would look great on patterned scrap paper or added into an interactive notebook! These could also hang in the hallway or on a bulletin board for a cute New Year's display. Hang them around the room and have the students do a gallery walk to learn about their peers. If you have an idea of how to use this creatively, be sure to comment and let others know about it!
For an extra special display, have students create a collage of photos to accompany their poetry!
If you like these poetry activities, you can find more like them in one of my latest resources, "The Ultimate Poetry Pack." There are over 100 pages of posters, journal activities, and poetry fun for your upper grades students!
I hope you have fun celebrating your students through poetry in the new year! Remember to take pictures if you choose to try these activities! We could display them on the ATUE Facebook page to share with other teachers. (Hint: Only photograph the poetry and not the students. Do not include any student names in your pictures.) Enjoy the holidays and have a Happy New Year!