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Sunday, January 20, 2019


If I were in charge of education (which unfortunately I am not!) I would like to see each grade level incorporate more poetry in their curriculum. Of course children can develop fluency, vocabulary, and many standards with poetry, but, more importantly, it can help them FALL IN LOVE WITH LANGUAGE! The Poetry Cafe is a "sweet" way to end a boring winter week.

How to get started!

Write a note asking each family to send in a box of instant hot chocolate and an old coffee mug. Explain that you will end each week with the “Poetry Café” where children can listen to poetry, recite poems, and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate.  

*If you teach at a school where no outside food is allowed check to make sure this idea would be permissible. If children have allergies you could ask the parents to send instant tea or another beverage that their child could enjoy.

*If you teach in a low-income area you could probably find a Sunday school class, civic group, education sorority, or grant money to help purchase the mix and mugs.   

Build children’s interest in the “Poetry Café’ during the week by talking about how COOL it’s going to be. “Yummy hot chocolate and poems! I can’t wait!” Display poetry books and give children sticky notes so they can mark the ones they would like you to read. On Friday afternoon heat water in a coffee maker. (Your school cafeteria might have one you can borrow.) Demonstrate how to cut the top off the package of hot chocolate and carefully pour it in the cup. Fill the cups with hot water (not boiling) and tell the children to stir them slowly as they sing their ABC’s or ZYX's (the alphabet backwards). When everyone is ready, turn off the lights, and let the magic begin!

*Explain that if they like a poem they can snap their fingers. 

(Apparently, that's what the beat poets used to do.)

*Invite 5 students each week to memorize a poem and recite it to the class. Make a poster that says “Poetry Club” and let children sign their name when they memorize a poem.

Poetry Notebook
Here's something else that I would do if I were in charge of the word of education.  First, I'd give each child a pocket folder to decorate as poetry notebook.  Each week I would select a poem that would be ENGAGING and appropriate for their skill level and do the activities below.

Monday - Introduce the poem as a shared reading experience. Reread the poem several times. Let children use pointers to find letters or words they can recognize, point out words that rhyme, punctuation, etc.

Tuesday - Give children individual copies of the poem. Let them illustrate the poem, hole punch it, and put it in their notebook.
Hint! Give children blank paper to encourage creativity and their imaginations.

Wednesday - Use the poem for skill work during small group. Highlight parts of speech, sight words, etc.

Thursday - Children bring notebooks to large group and reread this week’s rhyme and review previous poems.

Friday - Children read poems independently or with a buddy.

Weekend Homework - On Friday, let children take home their poetry notebooks. Ask children to read the poem to someone in their family over the weekend. Encourage parents to sign their name and write their comments and compliments on each poem.