Skip to main content

Poetry Across The Curriculum

The Poet's Suitcase Revealed!


  • Collect poetry that reflects the cultural group you are studying –poetry by and about.

  • Collect pictures of areas your class is studying. Have students write a poem that matches a picture.

  • Do a shared writing session with your students where you a poem together about the heritage or customs of the people or region you are studying.

  • Ask students to organize a collection of poems relating to their own culture. You could organize them around such categories as celebrations, families, food, holidays.

  • Collect photo essays, newspaper and magazine articles, informational books, and historical fiction for students to use as source material for poetry

  • Have students dramatize poems by sharing lines or stanzas. Suggest that they vary solo voices with group voices to enhance meaning.

  • Make weather poems using weather reports as the basis for ideas.

  • Explore landforms through poetry by asking students to find poems about rivers, mountains, lakes, prairies, deserts or rain forests.

  • Write a paragraph about a famous person from history or some prominent present day individual. After they have written the paragraph help them to pare it down into a poem.

  • Encourage students to tell their own stories in poetic form

  • Use a science activity to launch a poetry writing activity. A poem about volcanoes for instance. Mix poems with informational writing and pictures.

  • Encourage students to write poems that express a particular point of view.

  • Have students work in pairs to turn prose into poetry

  • Have students compose a poem to go with a report on a particular social issue. This will help to better understand how poetry can convey strong emotions.

  • Have students write poems using two voices that convey different sides of an argument or issue.

  • Use newspapers to get students to write ‘found poems’ In this activity they look for a particularly engaging slice of language to enlarge into a poem, or they might look for an item or story that can be pared down into a poem.

  • Have students look for examples of alliteration, metaphor, or simile in anthologies and record them on a chart.

  • Deconstruct a short poem and have students reconstruct it.


Resources for Poetry Ideas:

Three Voices –An Invitation to Poetry Across the Curriculum, Bernice Cullinan, Marilyn Scala and Virginia Schroder, Stenhouse 1995

The Story In History –Writing your Way into the American Experience, Margot Fortunato Galt Teachers and Writers Collaborative 1992


Poetry Everywhere, Jack Collom and Sheryl Noethe, Teachers and Writers Collaborative 2000

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Old Jalopy POEM

Ideas exist in things, so the saying goes. This poem owes it's beginnings to a recent sighting of vintage cars driving in a parade through my town. As I stood watching these well preserved senior citizens of the road, my thoughts returned to our first family car all those years ago. We had an Austin A 40 and it was a rather cantankerous machine. It could be relied upon to shake and rattle when asked to travel at any speed above 'slow.' It required constant care and attention and sometimes without warning it would begin a convulsive lurch when out on the highway. 

 So, before I even finished watching the car parade, ideas began forming in my head. The word 'jalopy' floated forward and I found myself immediately in the poem zone. Sometimes a single word is all you need to get ideas flowing. Let me share what I built...


The Old Jalopy
Dad looks stressed Mum looks stroppy We're going for a drive In our old jalopy Kids pile in Dogs in tow Shut the doors And we're set to g…

List Poems Are Easy To Like

A list poem is one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it doesn't require a set rhythm or rhyme. But that doesn't mean you should write anything down helter- skelter.

Consider the inclusion of the following elements to make a list poem a poem instead of just a list:

• The writer is telling you something--pointing something out--saying, "Look at this," or, "Think about this."
• There's a beginning and end to it, like in a story.
• In other words, the poem needs to make sense and have some kind of flow to it.

List poems provide an easy and successful structure to get children feeling more comfortable with poetry. They are to be found in the poetry of many cultures and have been employed successfully by many contemporary poets.

Poetry is full of surprises. List also need to be full of surprises. Without the occasional surprise your list poems will have all the appeal of a supermarket shopping list on a day when you don't want to go shopping!

Here …

Opposite Poems

Opposite Poems


In his book, 'How To Write Poetry,' Paul Janeczko presents the idea of opposite poems. Paul suggests they could also be referred to as antonym poems. This is wordplay and it's fun to try.

Here are some examples Paul provides to help us see very clearly how these short little poems work.

I think the opposite of chair
Is sitting down with nothing there

What is the opposite of kind?
A goat that butts you from behind

Paul Janeczko

You will  notice the poems are written in rhyming couplets. They can be extended so long as you remember to write in couplets. Paul shows us how this is done.

What is the opposite of new?
Stale gum that's hard to chew
A hot-dog roll as hard as rock
Or a soiled and smelly forgotten sock

You might notice that some of Paul's opposite Poems begin with a question. The remainder of the poem answer the question posed.

Opposite poems are a challenge, but it is a challenge worth trying. Not every thing has an opposite and not every word has an easy t…