Poetry can be intimidating. As students, many of us were taught that the goal of reading a poem was to "understand" exactly what the poet was trying to say. No small charge.
What if we give up on trying to "get" a poem and explain its one true meaning? Instead, we can discover the richness of the text and learn from the questions and puzzles poems present to us. Once we make this shift, nearly any poem becomes "teachable" at nearly any grade, from Emily Dickinson to Walt Whitman to Maya Angelou and beyond.
Poetry IS part of the common core. A closer look at the grade-level standards reveals that poetry, poetic language, and poetry terminology (e.g., stanza, sonnet) are specifically mentioned in all grades. But there's more to it than that. The ELA anchor standards (anchor standard number in parentheses) call upon students to be able to:
• Make inferences (1).
• Cite specific textual evidence to support conclusions and answers (1).
• Determine and analyze the theme of a text (2).
• Analyze the way ideas develop over the course of a text (3).
• Interpret words and phrases (4).
• Analyze connotative and figurative meanings of words (4).
• Analyze how word choice shapes a text (4).
• Analyze the structure of a text (5).
• Assess how point of view shapes a text (6).
• Analyze how two texts address the same theme (9).
I look at this list and think, "poetry … poetry … poetry … ." And that's just the reading standards! There are anchor standards in Language, Speaking and Listening, and even Writing (even though poetry isn't mentioned once there) that also lend themselves to the use of poetry.
Now, knowing all of this, teaching poetry is still no easy task, but with the help of Operation EDU poetry CAN and WILL become a highlight of your literacy curriculum. Poetry writing, and reading, is a place where students have the opportunity to be creative, to think outside of the proverbial box, to push and test limits of grammar, and to express their inner thoughts and feelings.
Operation EDU has developed and designed a pretty fantastic group of poetry posters, student printables, and lessons that are sure to ignite the poet inside every student in your classroom. This How-To Haiku pack includes a classroom poster, student visual aid, and a haiku graphic organizer to support students while they master the structure and pattern of traditional haikus.
Like what you see? Look for our complete Poetry Unit, which includes posters, printables, graphic organizers, and lessons for several types of poetry from couplets to cinquains, just to name a few.
by Operation EDU
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License