Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Pocketful of Poetry for Poetry Month

Keep A Poem In Your Pocket

By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

Keep a poem in your pocket

And a picture in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when you're in bed.

The little poem will sing to you

The little picture bring to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when you're in bed.

So - -

Keep a picture in your pocket
And a poem in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when you're in bed.

I really enjoy using this poem to introduce poetry month (April).  It's a nice tool for explaining to young poets how a poem is able to "paint a picture in your mind."  Poems are so special because of their short nature.  The poet must pay careful thought to EACH and EVERY word in a poem in order to achieve the precise feelings and imagery sought.  We are talking pretty heavy stuff here!  Can you tell I have been reading Lucy Calkins?

To celebrate poetry month, I start by making sure each of my young readers (for those of you that don't know, I teach a combination of first and second graders in an innovation school) have a book of poems in their browsing boxes.  They love this.  Among my favorites are Jack Prelutsky and Shel Sliverstein, of course.  I let them "book shop" for their own poems even though some may be a little bit off with their reading levels.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I also celebrate an addition to our Morning Meeting routine.  I place a poem of the day on my morning message easel.  We share it after we read the morning message and solve my riddle/joke of the day.  After we choral read the poem, I ask my students what do they think, feel or notice.  This question is vague and open ended, but I do this on purpose.  I want my young poets to discuss what the poem means to them, NOT to me.

In addition to these two new routines, I put out my Pocketful of Poetry center and resources.  It includes 18 task cards good for any poem.  Students simply select a poem and respond to the task card on the stationary provided.  Tasks include searching for rhyme, figurative language and themes.  They also include writing a critique, discussing the poem's setting, visualizing and discussing feelings.  

I also use my cards for sharing poems to change up the way we read poems with partners, in a small group, during guided reading, etc.  We experiment with choral singing, cumulative choral reading, line-a-child reading, call and response reading, dialogue reading, impromptu reading and refrain reading.  All of these cards (with what they mean) are available as part of my Pocketful of Poetry resource.

For my second graders, or advanced firsties, they take some time to look at a poem in a more technical manner using my Pocketful of Poetry Student Glossary.  They hunt through a poem and answer the questions provided with help of the glossary (written in child friendly language).  The items include rhyming pattern, rhythm, author's purpose, speaker, descriptive language, figures of speech, summaries, audience and critiquing.  This part of my poetry study can be done over, and over again.  Once I model the steps whole class, it's a great "What to Do When You Are Done" activity.

I did want to share some pics of my putting together this product over the weekend.  I made it last year, but am finally implementing it this year in my classroom.  I'm a busy guy; things take time you know.  

Here I went printing away.  This took awhile as there are a lot of pages in this resource.  


Next up was laminating and cutting, laminating and cutting--repeat.  I have my own personal laminator at home and another personal laminator at school.  I was tired of transporting them back and forth.  I'm not the only one with two, right?

I had a mini-3D display board that a colleague gave to me last year (Thank you, Judith).  She knew I would find something to do with it and, and she wasn't joking.  I had some extra chevron borders from September, so I glue-gunned them to make a fun border that matches the heading banner pocket.  

I used Velcro patches to attach the pockets to the display.  I attached the task cards this way so that the poets could grab a pocket and a poem, take both to their seats and get right to work.  When done, they would just place the pocket back on the display.  I numbered the board so they would match the numbered pocket back up appropriately.

And this, folks, is what you call my classroom-bound, finished product. 

Stop on by my TpT store for a detailed description of this product by clicking HERE.  Happy poetry month!  What do you do to celebrate?


  1. Poetry time must be a hit in your classroom! It is so versatile! THANKS for sharing and stop by anytime!

    1. It sure is! I have various age ranges in my classroom, so it's really fitting for both writing and reading. Happy Poetry Month!

  2. I did this very similarly last year when I was a long term sub in 1st grade!

    1. Great! Good minds think alike. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment.


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