Throughout the year we've been reading poetry in our classroom. Honestly, not as much as I would like or should have accomplished, but at least a touch of poetry each week. I'm so excited to be starting an inquiry unit about poetry with my class next week. I'm nearly about to burst.
I've joined Mary Lee, Linda and many other Kidlit bloggers in writing a poem every day in April at Merely Day by Day. Though I'm not a huge fan of rhyming poetry - well I am but it is a difficult format for young writers - I find myself making silly rhymes as I work, "Cooking, cooking it's no fun / It's the cleaning when I'm done / It's the choosing what we'll eat / Is restaurant eating not a treat?" Yes, that was really pathetic, but I do what I can. As I said, I'm just giddy with excitement about sharing poetry with my students.
Since I like to spend time reading a lot of poems to students before I even begin to introduce poetry into our Writer's Workshop, I have been building a Listmania list at Amazon of many of my favorites. I'm trying to remember to pin mentor poems and poetry resources I am finding on Pinterest. I'm always looking for poems that will be good mentor poems for my young poets. I want to share poetry with them that they can envision themselves writing.
Here are a few books I like to use as mentor poetry with the young writers in our classroom:
Wake Up House by Dee Lillegard and illustrated by Don Carter (2000). The poems in this book, as well as her Hello School! poetry book, are perfect for young writers. Lillegard has used short stanzas to describe common objects. She has carefully chosen her words to describe a variety of things that can be found at home (and school). Young writers can envision writing poems like these. Just looking around the classroom can inspire some beginning poems to hang around the room. One of my favorites in this book is Night Light / Gladly glows / because he knows / he makes things safe / for eyes to close.
If You Should Meet a Crocodile: Poems About Wild Animals by Joy Peskin and Anna Currey. This book is a collection of animal poems written by a variety of poets. What I like about this collection, besides the fact that it is by many poets, is that is about something young readers and writers are very interested in --- animals. Oh, the possibilities. I Speak, I Say, I Talk by Arnold L. Shapiro is a poem about the sounds that animals make. It has a structure students could easily use for writing other kinds of poetry.
From the Doghouse: Poems to Chew On by Amy E. Sklansky with illustrations by Karla Firehammer, Karen Dismukes, Sandy Koeser and Cathy McQuitty (2002). This poetry book is written from a dogs point of view. My favorite in this book is Doggy Nightmare in which doggy has a terrible dream that he is, of all things, a cat! He finds himself meowing, wanting a bowl of cream, and wishing for fish. He was happy to wake up to find he is still a dog. This book demonstrates the possibilities for writing about one topic in many different ways.
In the Wild by David Elliott and illustrated by Holly Meade (2010). In this poetry book, many animals of the wild are shared. This poetry book is perfect for talking about visualization. The poet has so carefully chosen his words to help you picture the animal and the setting. The illustrations are bold with the animals the prominent feature on each page. In The Wolf, wolf calls out into the night. Will there be a reply?
What poems do you like to read to inspire your young poets?