There’s a little known secret about April that I just happen to love. It’s National Poetry Month! I am a big fan of words, so I love the idea of finding great ways to celebrate National Poetry Month. To that end, I’m compiling some great poetry activities for kids to do throughout the month of April.
Related Page: Printable Poems for Kids
Week One – Getting to Know Poetry
Of course, it makes sense to start off National Poetry Month by talking about what poetry is. Because it’s a form of art, the answer to that question can be pretty subjective. Some common aspects of poetry include rhyme and meter, but there is also such a thing as free verse. A great way to start off week one would be to share a variety of short poems with your students, showing how there’s a really wide range of options and discussing what they all have in common.
Throughout the week, spend a little time each morning reading poetry with the class. The age level of your students will obviously come into play, but everything from Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein (this site has tons of ideas for teachers and librarians, by the way) to ee cummings and Emily Dickinson could have a place.
Week Two – Create Your Own Poetry
After learning that there are so many different types of poetry, it’s time to get to know some of them better. Again, your expectations need to be based on what is realistic for the age of your students, but here are some fun things to try out:
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- Monday – Acrostic Poems
- Tuesday – I Am Poems
- Wednesday – Cinquain
- Thursday – Rhyming Couplets
- Friday – Quatrains
Week Three – Imagery
Poetry is all about creating images and feelings within the reader. This week, allow students to explore what that means by having them illustrate poems—either those you’ve assigned or ones that particularly enjoy. Try to choose poems that don’t already have illustrations (like Shel Silverstein’s) so they can create their own images.
Now that students better understand what imagery is all about, have them create their own poems (either the types listed above or something new) that use concepts such as similies, metaphors, and personification.
Toward the end of the week, students can illustrate their own poems, or if they’re comfortable sharing what they’ve written with others, it could be very interesting to see what happens when someone else interprets their poetry in this way.
Week Four – Bringing it All Together
Throughout National Poetry Month, students have had the opportunity to discover and create a variety of poems for themselves. During the last week, have them go back through what they’ve written in order to pick out some of their favorites. Some may be illustrated while others are not. All of these poems should be rewritten or typed nicely to be compiled into a classroom poetry book. You can title it National Poetry Month 2012 and have your class create one every year for a really wonderful memento for you, as well as something that could be passed out at conference time.