Poetry in Motion

Thursday, April 24, 2014
beret-wearing* and coffee drinking, Suzanne
*Let's be real- I'm not really a beret-wearer.  My hair is way too big for that!

This class activity sent me to the floor of the children's section in my local public library.  Obviously, right?  Do you ever have those moment when you think to yourself, "How is this part of my job?!"  You know, times where you're learning how to operate a movie-theater popcorn machine or hopping on one foot balancing a ball on a small, plastic spoon or have marshmallow in your hair from toasting 75 of them for s'mores.
*Lori wants it known that she has a SCAR from the popcorn machine.

Well, as part of our research/historical poem activity, we needed to address and pinpoint poetic devices students should have mastered and be able to integrate in their poem.  Children's books would do the job nicely, don't you think?  Thus the public library.  

Aside:  If you don't have a copy of Using Picture Storybooks to Teach Literary Devices by Susan Hall on your campus, I highly recommend it!  It takes the guesswork out of finding mentor texts and points you to a plethora of good books that illustrate a term well that you just might having sitting on your bookshelf.  

The terms that we targeted were: diction, point of view, simile, metaphor, personification, and alliteration.

These are all terms that our students have learned and added to their visual dictionary throughout the year.  As a refresher, student pairs played a quick (seriously, 3 minute) pyramid review game.  This guided their thinking and prepared them to work more independently in stations.  

At each station, student read through the children's books pages and identified examples of the targeted device.  On their handout, they would write the examples they found.  Before, moving on, they were challenged to create a metaphor or sentence using personification that could be added to their drafted poem.  I like how students went from identify to apply all within a 10 minutes station.  

The last 15 minutes of class were spent choosing their best sentences and thinking about where they would fit in their draft.  We did not require them to use all 6 devices but to choose 4 that would best fit in their writing.

Are you ready for the best part?!  Here's everything you need to run this lesson in your own classroom.  I even saved you the trouble of driving to the public library (and getting up out of the floor while there).  
Station Directions
Children's Book Pages
Student Handout

Just for grins- what's the craziest thing you've done in the name of education??

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