Other than a recent mother’s day card, when is the last time you read a poem? Many people, teachers included, are intimidated by poetry. Let’s face it: if you have such a tendency, poetry within the curriculum can be easily avoided. And yet, poetry can be an engaging and creative part of your classroom.
If you are delving into poetry after a long absence, I do not suggest Homer or Chaucer. Try Silverstein or Prelutsky. Immerse yourself in poems for children and rediscover the playfulness of the language. Reading poetry out loud to children, listening to their candid giggles, can remind you of its pleasure. Once you have rediscovered this playfulness – or perhaps discovered it for the first time – only then consider exploring more serious or more difficult poems. The poems of Robert Frost, William Blake and Emily Dickinson are appropriate and accessible for children once the initial barriers of apprehension are broken down.
Before my students ever write their first poem, I surround them with poetry and let them read, explore and enjoy. This exposure helps them to realize that poetry can be fun and helps to squash any misconceptions they might have. No, poetry doesn’t have to rhyme. Yes, poetry can be about ANYTHING. No, poetry is not just for boys. Hmm… maybe it’s not as confusing as I thought. And yes, I like the sound of that!
Check out my website this week for specific poetry ideas: www.wordschangeworld.ca