Poetry Cafe

Well, all good things must come to an end… and our poetry unit is no different. Every year, at the end of her poetry unit, Jee Young holds a poetry cafe (as mentioned previously here). This year, I was super excited for it because she asked my class to be a part of it! The event was held in our school auditorium and it started with all the fifth grade students on stage, reciting poems to the audience. It was incredible to see so many students on the stage performing poetry pieces that they had memorized by heart.

After that, my students joined their book buddies, and one by one (or… should I say, two by two) they recited the two-voice poems they had been working on for a couple of weeks.

The idea of getting on stage with their book buddy, and reading into a microphone, was so significant for my students. What a great way to feel accomplished! After the two-voice poems, every fifth grader got on stage and recited a poem they had written during the unit.

The other second grade teacher and I were so inspired by the event, we are hosting a mini-poetry cafe with our students next week! We are going to bring a microphone into the classroom, invite the parents, and have our publishing party in that style.

Oh, and what I loved most about the fifth grade poetry cafe is when the two fifth grade teachers got up and recited an inspiring two-voice poem they wrote for their students! Talk about a tear-jerker.

Here is what the stage looked like:

Do you have any great ideas for a publishing party? Please share! 

p.s. Oh, and I had an amazing birthday last week!!! I especially loved my personalized stationary— Jee Young is awesome!

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Poetry Centers

To piggyback off of Jee Young’s post, I thought I would share what  I do during my poetry unit. I love, love, love, it when it is time to write poetry!

To kick off the unit I give my students a poetry notepad that they get to design, I purposefully make it long and skinny to help the students create line breaks. Here are a few examples of my students’ notepads from last year:

I love how each student’s is so unique (some of my students used three our four notepads throughout the unit!).

Since it is unrealistic to expect a child to write poetry for thirty to forty-five minutes, my teaching partner and I created centers. First, we have our mini-lesson (courtesy Lucy Calkins), and then we slowly introduce centers. For the first week, I explain a different center every day, or every other day. As the unit goes on, they are required to do each center a certain amount of times each week, along with their writing time.

I am including a few of the centers we do:

Missing Titles“- Students read a poem with the title missing and have word bank of titles to choose from.Click on the title for the link to the poems I use!

“Line Breaks”- Students are given a poem in paragraph form, they get the chance to create their own line breaks, and then they rewrite the poem. Here are a couple of examples: Beavers in the Bathroom,Hammock,Broccoli for Breakfast,Wavy Hair, and Shaking.

Visualize the Poem“- At this center, students read a poem and then draw a picture of the poem. Simple! The link is to the poems that I use.

“List Poem”- at the beginning of the poetry unit have each student bring in a random object from home (anything from an old watch, to a stuff animal, to a Pokemon card). Keep these objects in a basket, and allow students to look through the basket to create a list poem.

I also have a center where students can read poems to each other, practicing how to read a poem.

Here is a poem that I love to use when I start of my unit (poet’s look at everyday objects with fresh eyes), thanks to Lucy Calkins!

Pencil Sharpener
by Zoe Ryder White

I think there are a hundred bees
inside the pencil sharpener
and they buzz
and buzz
and buzz
until my point
is sharp!

Do you have a center you love to use during your poetry unit? SHARE!