Let's face it: getting kids excited about poetry can be a challenge. However, it's not at all impossible. Last year was my first year using poetry brackets during the month of March, and it was a hit. I gave kids a "Sweet Sixteen" of poets, had them find and research poems by each poet, predict winners, and then we voted on our favorites using Google Forms, advancing poets accordingly. The most rewarding part was hearing students throwing around poet's names like they were their favorite sports stars: "Langston Hughes could take Claude McKay any day!" You get the point!
Of course, since last year was my first time implementing poetry brackets, there were a few bumps in the road. Students were responsible for finding their own poems, which was great, but TIME CONSUMING! So this year, I decided to provide all the poems in one easy place, giving us more time to focus on learning how to read and analyze poetry. I designed a packet flip-book style, with competing poems side by side. The brackets are in the packet, making it easy for students to make predictions, then track winners according to class votes. Students can also cut the pages in the middle and flip through the pages to create new match ups. It's poetry, hands on, and so engaging!
The best part: so much learning is taking place! The kids are having a blast, and beneath it all what they are really doing is ANALYSIS! The analysis they are doing is authentic and fun. It pushes my students to think at a higher level, and it doesn't feel painful because they are MOTIVATED and CONNECTED. Poetry mission accomplished!
Check out March Madness Poet vs Poet by clicking on any of the graphics below. See your students get excited about poetry!