There are many reasons to teach poetry in the classroom. Whether it’s National Poetry Month or just another day, arts integrated poetry ideas are a great teaching strategy to use across the curriculum.
Poetry can be used in your classroom regardless of what you teach including this simply poetry activity you will learn for your classroom.
In this video I’m going to show you 4 reasons to teach poetry in your classroom and give you one easy-to-implement activity you can use no matter what subject you teach.
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Do you have your students create poetry in your classroom? It doesn’t matter if you teach ELA, Math, Science, Visual Art or any other subject, poetry can be a great learning tool for your students! I want to share with you 5 reasons to use poetry in your classroom AND the easiest way to do it, no matter what subject you teach!
Poetry is a great way to express a wide range of emotions! It can be sweet and rhyme-y or in-your-face and raw. It contains so much passion and so many illusions. It can tell a story, describe an emotion, explain a situation or throw down the truth.
As an educator, how much time do you dedicate to teaching poetry in your classroom? If you’re not an ELA teacher or maybe you just simply get bogged down with other parts of your curriculum, you may not have really had the time! I get it.
As an upper elementary teacher, it’s always around this time of year that I give myself a kick in the pants and say, “Get that poetry going hard core in your classroom again, girl!” Sometimes we just need a little reminder of what a great tool learning poetry can be!
April is National Poetry Month. That makes it the perfect opportunity to devote some extra time to the study and creation of poetry, or at the very least, to sneak some poetry creation into our lessons. Poetry is simply another artform that can be integrated into your classroom, providing great results for students!
Listed below are 5 reasons why you should be integrating poetry into your lesson plans! At the end, I’m going to show you the easiest, and one of the most fun ways to create a poem in any class, on any day! And, it takes little to no prep time!
Ready? Here we go!
- Poetry Study Feeds the Mind.
It gets you thinking. Oftentimes, good poetry is not cut and dry. Just like a good story, poems don’t just tell you what is happening, they paint a picture with words for the reader. They make you visualize and infer what is going on as you read.
It’s easy to find lots of poems that can integrate with any subject and really get your student’s brains going!
For example, after searching online for “poem about World War I,” I came across this gem:
“Reconciliation”, by Siegfried Sassoon
“When you are standing at your hero’s grave,
Or near some homeless village where he died,
Remember, through your heart’s rekindling pride,
The German soldiers who were loyal and brave.
Men fought like brutes; and hideous things were done,
And you have nourished hatred harsh and blind.
But in that Golgotha perhaps you’ll find
The mothers of the men who killed your son.”
When I searched for “poetry about math,” I came across this poem by Poet Laureate, Howard Nemerov.
“To lay the logarithmic spiral on
Sea-shell and leaf alike, and see it fit,
To watch the same idea work itself out
In the fighter pilot’s steepening, tightening turn
Onto his target, setting up the kill,
And in the flight of certain wall-eyed bugs…”
Many poems deserve a second or third read allowing the brain to take things in and let them steep.
- Poetry Becomes Personal.
Another great thing about poetry is its potential to touch readers on a personal level. As you read certain poems, they start to speak to you. You bring your own experiences to the poem, creating your own specific meanings and making it your own. This is something that can become real for students and adults of all ages. (When you find that special poem that speaks to you, keep it close so you can read it over and over!)
- Poetry Feeds Your Creativity.
Creating a poem is an art form. You can learn all kinds of forms or take your own. You can craft lyrical lines that flow to a rhythm or simplify the beauty of nature in a few syllables. It takes thought and skill, yet anyone at any age can make it. It’s a developmental process in and of itself. No matter what stage of life you find yourself, your poetry will reflect your thoughts, your experiences, your perspective, and who you are. Poetry is truly an amazing art form!
- Poetry Can Be Created by All.
Short, long, simple, complex: there are no limits on how you can write a poem. Sure, if you want a template, there are certain forms of poetry you can follow and rhyming schemes to match. However, this is not always the case.
Some of the best, most fulfilling poetry I have ever created, read, or heard is that which is straight from the gut. It’s not always sing-songy, but it does have flow. It may not have rhyme, but it rolls off the tongue.
Introducing various types of poems to students in all grade levels is an important thing to do. That way they get exposure to limitless possibilities and then are able to find their own voice.
In the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing all sorts of videos on various poetry ideas, so make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel and keep checking in to get all the good ideas!
- Poetry is Something You Can Do Forever.
Once I learned how to free myself from the shackles of forms, and set rhythms and rhymes into thoughts and ideas that were put on me during my childhood, my poetry came alive!
I’m no slam poet, but I have a lot to say and sometimes saying it with poetry is just the way to do it. I find myself writing a poem every so often for a blog post or jotting one down in a journal somewhere.
I even enjoy writing a couplet or two, jammin’ to the rhythm of my own little rap. It’s a great way to reflect on or to capture a moment. Knowing that I can write out a poem and have it be written just for me, or to share with the world, is a really special feeling!
That’s what I make sure I do for my students, whether they are a 3rd grader writing for a poetry project or they are a forty-year-old adult at one of our Teacher Art Retreats. I love to let them know the possibilities of poetry. To show them that it can be for any subject and for any time.
I’d like to share with you a fantastic form of poetry that can be used for ANYTHING! It’s called Dada Poetry and it is so much fun!
Dada Poetry was first written by artists and poets in Paris, France. They clipped words from newspapers, scrambled them and then arranged them in lines to form nonsense poems.
I use Dada poetry for all ages and for just about any topic or subject. You can cut up song lyrics and rearrange them. You can use vocabulary terms to create something interesting and new. You can cut up articles about your subject or collect your own stash of fantastic words to use in your poem.
This poem is an example from one of my 4th grade students during our unit on erosion. We started with science vocabulary and threw in some extra words from our reading. Then we mixed them up, pulled some out, and started arranging. Here is what came from it:
flow with land
Elegant and Daring!”
Dada is a style of poetry you definitely need to try out in your classroom. Just trust the process and know that each student’s poem is going to come out unique and amazing!
If you DO try Dada Poetry with your students, be sure to share a picture of the poem in our “Inspiring Teachers Facebook Group!” (If you aren’t part of the group yet, what are you waiting for? We’d love to have you! Join us today!)
We’ve gone over 5 great reasons why you should implement poetry into your classroom no matter what you teach, and you now have some great advocacy pieces for bringing poetry into your classroom. If you want to go even further, be sure to check out my Independent Poetry Project ebook. It has everything you need to implement a quality poetry project into your classroom.
Poetry Project – Independent Poetry Series
This 14 page resource is a ready-made project waiting for you to make copies and get started.
With this independent project, you can assign a self-propelled project to any number of students and let them work purposefully on their own. Use these projects as enrichment for a few or something special for all.
It includes activities for students to appreciate, study and create poetry. A handful of creative poetry forms are explained and a number of hands-on, interactive poetry activities are included. You decide how many activities each student completes making this an easily differentiated project you can assign an entire class.
Use this for your unit on poetry, for Poetry Month (April) or any time of the year when you want your students to work on something independently.
Great for grades 4-12.
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