Do you want to make poetry so fun and engaging that your students will ask for more? Here are some simple activities to get you started.
1. Blackout Poetry
There are so many reasons blackout poetry is great: kids love it, it's creative, and it forces you to clean the falling-apart books from your classroom library without the guilt of tossing them in the trash.
What is blackout poetry? It's simple. Rip out the pages of old books. Give the students some basic instructions, then watch the creativity flow!
Blackout Poetry Examples:
2. Poet VS Poet
College basketball's March Madness is the perfect time to pit poet against poet for some exciting classroom debates, but any time of year teachers can create a similar feel by putting poets head to head and comparing their power.
Kids love competition. Creating competition with poetry naturally adds excitement and connects a sometimes intimidating genre with something familiar.
How do you implement a poet vs poet match up in your classroom? You could use an already created tool ( see Poet Vs Poet here ) or create your own match ups. For example, after a simple lesson on figurative language, ask your students to read the poetry of two different poets and rate their use of metaphors, similes, personification, and imagery. As a class, debate the poet's ratings using text based evidence.
If you are at all familiar with the basketball brackets of March Madness, poetry brackets work the same way (and you can find and download blank brackets by doing a simple Google search). I like to start with a sweet sixteen of poets, then narrow down to an elite eight, a final four, a championship, and a winner. Poets advance by having classes vote on the better poet in each match up. The reward of listening to kids debate poet's skills like the poets are athletes is worth any time it takes setting up this activity.
3. Found Poems
Found poems give language to students who may struggle to find the right words. Found poetry is easily accessible, hands on, and fun. Easy to set up, all you need to do to implement found poetry in your classroom is gather together stacks of old magazines, scissors, glue, and colorful paper.
First, instruct students to find powerful words in the pages of magazines, cut them out, and make piles on their desk. You could also assign cutting out powerful words from old magazines for homework and save yourself the time and mess in your classroom.
Next, students arrange and rearrange the words on their desk into meaningful poetry. This is a great opportunity to reinforce the power of form, shape, and line breaks in poetry and encourage students to be thoughtful in their choices. Talk to your students about choosing the best words, eliminating unnecessary words, and playing around with word choice.
Finally, instruct students to glue their poem into place on a colorful piece of paper and decorate your room with the beauty and power of poetry.
4. Poetry Escape Room