Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Verse Poetry

Do you teach free verse poetry to your students? It can be a difficult unit to tackle with young ones. Getting some kids to "think outside the box" can be tricky. After struggling to teach this to MANY literal thinking students, I came up with all of the ideas in my Looking Like a Poet pack!
I first want my students to begin looking at the world differently, like a poet. What does this exactly mean? It means looking at everyday things in life differently. Instead of a child looking at grass as just green stuff on the ground that grows, he/she sees grass in a whole new way... like a warm, soft, blanket for the ground! This can be very very hard for some young children, particularly literal thinkers and English Language Learners. So front-loading a free-verse poetry writing unit with LOTS of opportunities to observe the world in this new way, is imperative!

I created this mini- unit to flow into Lucy Calkins' lessons from her poetry unit. After students have lots of opportunities to observe their ordinary world through the eyes of a poet, they are ready for the mini-lessons from Calkins' book.

First, I begin by having my students understand the differences between seeing the world as a scientist (literal), and seeing the world as a poet (in a fresh new way). 
Students complete a scientist/poet observation sort to help them differentiate between the two.

I have students observe ordinary objects (they get to bring objects in from home to observe) and take notes on these objects in 2 ways, like a scientist first, and then like a poet. I ask them to look at these everyday objects in an imaginative way and record their observations on the notes pages included in my pack. After 3-4 days of doing this, students come away with "notes" that will become the springboard to their free-verse poems. See example below:
This boy brought in his flight pin to observe and imagine it in a fresh new way!
He used his notes seen above to write this wonderful free-verse poem called "The Pin"
I love what this little girl wrote about her heart hair tie!

This student looked at a pipe cleaner in a fresh new way!

A bell becomes something magical!
A pom pom ball becomes a creature!
After my students have observed everyday objects for a few days, we take our "poet eyes" outside! I love reading The Looking Book by P.K. Hallinan to my class and then handing them their very own pair of "lookers" (just black plastic glasses) to wear! Students take their Poet Notes pages outside with clipboards and begin seeing the outside world in fresh new ways!

This little poet records her outdoor observations on the Poet Notes page included in my pack.
This pack includes everything seen below PLUS 5 days of detailed mini-lessons not pictured here! Just click the picture below to take a closer look in my TPT shop :)