3 Reasons Why I Teach Poetry Writing All Year Long
When it comes to writing instruction in my classroom, each writing genre is taught in different units throughout the year. We always start the year with a narrative writing unit and move along to expository, opinion and persuasive writing units. Before long, we are out of time and the forgotten writing genre of poetry is either squeezed in during National Poetry Month in April or just not taught at all. I love poetry. I love reading and writing poetry in the classroom, I love watching students smile and giggle at a funny verse, and I love the excitement in their eyes when it is time to write a different type of poem each month. Although writing instruction is taught in units that can stretch across months, for a few days each month I pause the current writing unit instruction and we enjoy poetry writing activities.
Here are my top 3 reasons why I teach poetry writing throughout the year and why you should, too!
All Writers Shine
Poetry reading and writing is appealing to students of all ability levels. Students who struggle to write a long narrative or five-paragraph essay always shine when writing poetry. Its short nature and specific structure, or rules to follow, help guide students while writing. Students find writing poetry less intimidating and often feel less overwhelmed. Poetry writing is a great form of natural differentiation. Strong writers also shine as their vocabulary and writing strengths naturally come through when writing verse. It is easy to celebrate every student’s poetry writing piece each month, too! We do a quick poetry slam after everyone has finished writing. Each student sits on our classroom stool and students gather around. We dim the lights, bring in our classroom mic and share time begins. In no time at all, each and every student has shared their writing. Poems are collected and displayed on our class bulletin board for the month until the next month when the next poem is written. Each poem is collected in a student portfolio and at the end of the year, each and every student has a collection of poetry that they have written to celebrate as writers!
Application of Writing Strategies
By writing a different form of poetry each month, students are able to practice different writing techniques and strategies that you are teaching in your writing units in meaningful and authentic ways. For example, during our narrative writing unit, students learn how to weave figurative language into their pieces. During our poetry writing activity for that month, students would be expected to use figurative language in their poetry. It is a great way to carry over skills from different writing units into poetry writing. It is easy to modify directions for poetry activities to match what you are doing in other writing units of study. The more opportunities that students have to practice writing strategies and techniques the more you will see these techniques be utilized in their writing pieces. Writing poetry each month also gives students additional opportunities to take a writing piece through the writing process using brainstorming, graphic organizers, and editing and revising checklists.
Writing Poetry Easily Connects to Reading Poetry & Fluency Skills
Writing poetry means that students will have practice reading poetry. Poetry reading is a great way to practice reading fluency skills. The more poetry that the students write and read, the better their fluency skills will become. Upper elementary students benefit from the continual practice of reading fluency and there is no better way to get that practice in, than with poetry! Have students not only read their own poetry but partner them up and have them read their partners’ poetry, too!
Poetry writing is such an important and valuable part of writing instruction. Don’t let poetry writing getting pushed to April or pushed aside altogether. Take a few days each month to devote to writing poetry. Your students will benefit and so will their writing!
If you are looking for an easy to implement poetry writing unit to use each month, check out the activities that I use HERE. It includes everything you need to help students succeed each month: specific poetry directions, graphic organizers, editing and revising checklists and bulletin board kit.
Jeanine has been teaching elementary students for 16 years, specifically third and fifth graders. When it comes to teaching, Jeanine includes her love of reading and writing into every lesson. She loves teaching writing and having the opportunity to bring out the author in each of her students. Jeanine holds a BA from Western Connecticut State University in American Studies and Elementary Education and an MA from Fairfield University in Educational Technology. In addition to being a certified elementary teacher, she is also a certified Reading Specialist for grades K-12. Living on the north shore of Long Island means that her free time is spent at the beach where she enjoys outdoor activities, reading, and spending time with her husband and three children.