Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Peek at My Week {4-20-14}

Happy Easter!!  I am posting this week's A Peek at My Week linky party a day early because I will be spending Sunday enjoying the day with my family.  Feel free to link up any time!
I'm also going to link up with the very talented Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Saturday Student Motivation linky because we are having fun, fun, fun with poetry.
Right now, we are in the middle of Poetry Month and my students are loving it! I have discovered a fun way to teach fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and critical thinking skills in just 10 minutes a day using poetry and have put my ideas together into a a new product, Pausing for Poetry.
Each week, I choose a new poem for the class, which students add to their fluency folders so they can practice it throughout the week. I also put a copy on our "Poetry Posts" bulletin board.
Each day of the week, we spend about 10 minutes reading and discussing the week's poem.  Each day has a different focus -- meaning, vocabulary, structure, figurative language, etc. -- so students really get to understand the poem by Friday.  Students then complete the day's response which is photocopied to the back of the week's poem.   As you can see, the responses are short yet very targeted to a specific element.
Our Poetry Posts bulletin board is very interactive.  One day a week, usually toward the end of the week, I have students complete a Poetry Think-Shot to add to our Poetry Posts board.  This is where they get to publicly respond to the poem and rate the poem--thumbs up or thumbs down.  (It is interesting to have students discuss why they like or dislike a poem too!)  They love reading each other's responses and it's very interesting to see which poems are most popular based on their rating.  I was very surprised by last week's poem -- I thought the kids would love it, but most gave it a "thumbs down."  Hmmm....

To get extra fluency practice throughout the week, students read their poems to others and ask for their autograph on a Poetry Pals page.  The student with the most signatures wins a small prize like a pencil or a piece of chocolate from my secret stash.

I have found that teaching poetry this way has helped my students realize a few things:
  1. Not all poetry has to rhyme or be silly.  We can learn from poetry too!
  2. We can use elements of poetry (imagery, personification, similes, metaphors, etc.) in our own writing to make it stronger.
  3. Close reading of a poem reveals more and more meaning each time we read it.  We love to put on certain reading lenses to look for particular elements in a poem as we read it.
  4. Reading all kinds of poetry helps us improve our fluency.
  5. Poetry can be fun!
If you are interested in seeing more of my new  Pausing for Poetry unit, you can find it ON SALE through Monday in my TPT store.

So, what does your week look like?

Don't forget to stop back on Thursday for my other linky party, Positive Thinking Thursday.  Lots of fun inspiration and positive thoughts to carry you through the week are shared by some wonderful bloggers. Start getting your positive thoughts ready!
See you then if not sooner!  


  1. Your new product looks awesome! I use a poem a week from the beginning of the year to help my students with writing. And, I agree, it's so quick, but such an effective teaching tool! I love poetry to build fluency and my struggling readers feel success this way too! Poetry Pals is a great idea! You're so clever Jennifer! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. Poetry is fun and very effective - hoping to use it with Catching Fire. :)

  3. Love your poetry bulletin board!

  4. I always loved poetry units as a kid. I also like seeing the boys get into because many times that is the only time they'll really be allowed to explore it and try all the forms of poetry.
    Thanks so much for sharing!
    I used to write the silliest poems in grade school--aww--memory lane

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  6. I love using a Poem of the Week. At times, my language arts block becomes a little too crammed to fit it in, but we use it as much as possible. I like the way you have students record their thoughts/responses in writing. I need to start doing that. Right now we just discuss it, but writing it would hold the students more accountable. Thank you!

    Fit to be Fourth

  7. I already downloaded your poetry freebie! Thanks so much, and congratulations on reaching a TpT milestone!

  8. I love how you have adapted the poem of the week in your class. I have been doing using a poem of the week all year to build fluency and in the past few weeks I've had a focus lesson for the day pretty similar to yours. I love how you have the poetry post and how the students can interact with the bulletin board! Also the poetry pals is super cute!

    Adventures in 4th Grade


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