Are you looking for a Poem in your Pocket Day activity that’s fun and allows your middle or high school students to share poems with your entire school? Would you like your students to work with poetry during National Poetry Month (or anytime) but you don’t have time to teach a whole class poetry analysis lesson? Do you have just one single day for poetry, and you’d like your lesson to be hands-on and student focused?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions -- and you’re open to including a little coloring and doodling along with your poetry -- then this Poem in your Pocket / One Poem Up Close Doodle Notes lesson is just what you need!
Please Note: This lesson is not intended to be used as an in-depth poetry-analysis lesson. This lesson is for those times when you need a quality, standards-related activity to fill a day, want to do something visible and fun for Poem in Your Pocket Day, or want a low-risk, high-enjoyment activity for students to interact with poetry. This lesson works best after students have worked with other poems and they are familiar with poetry terminology and poetic literary elements. For lessons that are more rigorous and meet Reading Literature Standards, check at the bottom of this description.
Take a Poem for Your Pocket Activity:
• 12 different Poetry Pockets, some with color and some in black and white, that you can print on either white or colored card stock. Students will cut them out, color them in, and post them on bulletin boards, hallway or library walls, or bathroom stall doors, or they can carry them around and distribute poems to their friends and teachers. Pockets are labeled “Take a Poem for Your Pocket” and “Take a Poem” so that they can be used for “Poem in Your Pocket Day” (which is always in late April) or any time you want to have your students celebrate poetry and share poems with others in your school.
• 30 different positive poems, 3 to a page. They are easy to cut apart quickly and they fit perfectly into the poetry pockets.
Two different styles are included (Same poems with two different images at the bottom: Poem in your Pocket and Celebrate Poetry! to use anytime.)
All of the poems are uplifting and not too long. I have decided not to include poems that may cause distress, so you won’t find poems about grief, death, or the loss of family pets, for example. (While I understand the value of such poetry and teach it in my classes, I’ve decided to only include poems that would bring students some measure of joy, not unexpected shock or sadness.)
Editable blank poem templates in each style for you to use for poems of your choice.
One Poem Up Close
• 3-page handout that students complete as they independently read/analyze a poem. Two versions: Both versions allow students to doodle on the pages as they learn!
• Version 1: Pages are labeled 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Read Through. They encourage students to read and read the poem as they work with it.
• Version 2: Pages are nearly identical* to Version 1, but without the labels described above. (Use Version 2 when you would prefer to use the handouts in a different order or when you would like different groups of students to work with different handouts.
*There are slight variations in the formatting of Version 2 to allow a bit of space for Name, Class, and Date on each handout.
Poem Review Writing/Constructed Response – I page
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Here are some other poetry-related resources that you may enjoy:
Poetry Bell Ringers and Writing Responses Constructed Responses or Essays
Poetry: Mark Doty - A Display of Mackerel
Who would have ever thought that a poem about fish lying in rows could be so melodious? That it would be full of such delicious visual imagery? And who would have thought that a poem about mackerel can teach its readers something about life and about themselves?
Poetry: Burning The Old Year: Close Reading and Analysis
This lesson celebrates the burning of the old and the welcoming of the new. It’s not just for a new school or calendar year, but for any time during the year when you’d like a poem about starting over.
Poetry: Sonnet 97 Close Reading Analysis and Constructed Response
Poetry: Complete Lesson - No Prep! Tarantulas on a Lifebuoy by Thomas Lux
This cool poem brings up the issue of rescuing tarantulas despite the possibility of their showing up again in unexpected locations (like your sock drawer!) Can be used for high school, but is ideal for middle school classrooms.
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