Writing is such a balm when the spring sun shines or even when April is “cruelest of all.” Even our toughest students can usually be persuaded to pen a poem this time of year. There are so many resources for teachers and students to use, and I’ve gathered up a few to share.
The National Gallery of Writing awaits more writing and more galleries. The Gallery will be open at least until June 2011 AND on October 20, 2010, we’ll celebrate our second National Day on Writing! What better affirmation for writers than to be published in a national gallery for people all over the world to see and read?
Maybe you and your students want to take a look at the Gallery before you decide what to publish. There are several local galleries and poems listed in the ideas section of the March 23 edition of INBOX. I’d start there.
You might try the website of the Academy of American Poets for a wealth of information and ideas for reading, writing, and learning about poetry and poets. I really like the Poetry Map and, of course, there’s the April 29 Poem in Your Pocket Day including many resources, even pocket-ready poems.
You might like to share in one of my fun activities. I compose haiku in my head when I’m walking my dog! I just observe something along the way—the sunrise, the breeze in the trees, the ducks on the pond—and I begin a line working toward a succinct 5-7-5 description. I hope you’ll improve on what I do by remembering to write the poems down when you get back from the walk! Or even better, students could carry a cell phone and either text (watch out for bumps along the path!) or call a friend with their haiku; they could carry an old-fashioned notebook.
I’d like to recommend three of the many NCTE books on poetry and teaching poetry:
Stephen Dunning’s and William Stafford’s time-tested NCTE book Getting the Knack is still among my favorites for down to earth ideas for getting our students writing poetry.
Bea Cullinan’s A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets is an excellent collection of sample poems by children’s poets.
Jaime R. Wood’s Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom hooks in middle schoolers with lessons about poems by contemporary poets of color.
Mostly, I’d like to recommend you and your students join me in writing poetry for National Poetry Month in April!