Read. Read. Read.
Students need to hear and read poems—lots of them: poems that rhyme; poems that make us clap our hands and dance to their rhythm; poems that paint vivid pictures; funny poems; poems that speak to all their feelings.
Take a poetry break during the school day. Stop the class and read a poem. Read poems and orchestrate brief performances, snapping fingers and clapping hands to the rhythm of a poem. After you’ve tilled the soil with reading lots of poems, invite students to write their own. They’ll have learned a lot from the poems they’ve read and listened to.
One of the easiest and most successful types of poems for students to write is the list poem. Students make a list of words or phrases from a topic they know well and then write an ending which can be a summation, a metaphor, or a repetition of a word on their list. For inspiration and examples read my anthology Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems (Roaring Brook Press).
Give poetry time to grow in your classroom. Trust that it will bloom!
How to Grow a Poem
by Georgia Heard
Cradle a seed in the palm of your hand.
When you plant it,
don’t dig a hole too shallow.
Keep it moist
but don’t drown it’s tender magic.
Give it space to thrive.
Dazzle it with light.
Allow time for it to root.
Suddenly, a fragile green sprout
will spring up out of the soil.
Watch over it,
but don’t tend too much.
Believe it will bloom.
You are a gardener at heart.
Happy Poetry Month!