Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Inspiring Writers with Student Poetry

It’s National Poetry Month, so teachers everywhere are sharing poetry and experimenting with poetry writing in the classroom. The challenge is that those two activities are sometimes at cross purposes. Reading poetry by the literary greats can silence the muse of even the most imaginative student.

Sharing poems written by students alongside those in the literature textbooks can be the solution. The process simultaneously tells students that their poetry is just as important as any other poets and provides students with level-appropriate models for their own writing.

National Gallery of WritingThe National Gallery of Writing is the ultimate resource for student poetry examples. Not only will you find hundreds of poems written by students from all over the United States, but you also can show students that their work is just as worthy of publication as those Shakespearean sonnets they’ve been reading.

The process is simple. Go to the The National Gallery of Writing, find some poems you like and share them with students. You might also send students to several specific galleries and let them find something they like.

You can search the Gallery for the keyword “poetry” in the description field. Narrow your search further by state and country, if you’d like to find local or regional student work.

Here are some collections that have a number of wonderful, classroom-ready poems. Note that some galleries also include fiction, memoirs, and other student writing.

After students write their own poems, you can invite them to add their work to an open gallery. The NCTE-CEE Commission on the Teaching of Poetry Writing, for instance, is open to all poets. You may find a specific gallery for your geographical area that is open for submissions as well. Additionally, you can still start a local gallery for students in your class or at your school if you like.


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