April is National Poetry Month! According to poets.org, the goal of National Poetry Month is to “widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry.” Are you wondering how you can get a classroom of students to care about poetry? Besides the great tips found at poets.org, here are five more ways to encourage your students to read more poetry and to celebrate National Poetry Month in your school.
1. A Poem a Day Keeps the Boredom Away
Read or post a poem a day for students on the whiteboard, but hold off on discussion. First, have students write a brief journal response to the poem. Then, have a classroom discussion about the meaning of the poem and what students liked or felt when reading it, but keep the talk simple and quick so students don’t become bored. To quote Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”, you do not want to “tie a poem to a chair with a rope/and torture a confession out of it.”
2. Sidewalk Haiku
Teach your students simple haiku form (five syllables, seven syllables, 5 syllables) and provide examples for them to read. Then give them time to write their own haikus. Once everyone is ready, take him or her outside to write out their haikus on the sidewalk in chalk and share them with the entire school.
3. Have a Classroom Poetry Reading
Choose a day to have students either read their favorite poem that they have chosen from the library or share a poem they wrote during a classroom poetry reading. Be sure to include a podium and microphone for authenticity.
4. Extend an Invitation
Invite a local poet to share the excitement of National Poetry Month with your classroom by coming to speak to them about their career or just simply have them read one of their favorite poems.
5. Poetry Portfolio
Provide students with simple poetry forms to try out their own writing skills. Possible poetry forms could be an acrostic, a shape poem, a color poem, a sense poem, or limerick. Then publish a classroom poetry book for everyone to read and enjoy.
Finally, don’t forget to request your very own FREE POSTER from the Academy of American Poets to decorate your classroom!