Last year, we studied a poem each month in our homeschool. The boys really enjoyed this and I wrote about how we studied each poem in our Poem of the Month post. Since we had so much fun, we decided to study more poems this year. I borrowed several poetry collections from the library at the beginning of the summer to determine what poems we would study.
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I decided rather than picking 10 unrelated poems like we did last year, that I would buy one of the collections of poems and take all of our poems for the year from it. I chose the National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry based upon the gorgeous photographs, the emphasis on nature and the accessibility of the poems for children.
I also decided this year, that instead of just discussing each aspect of the poem, the boys would have notebooking pages where they could record our discussions. I was unable to find a set of notebooking pages that I liked, so I created them. And I made them open-ended enough that they can be used over and over again to study most poems in elementary school. You can download them below along with another FREE goodie.
Here is what is in the packet:
Visualizing the Poem
The first page has a place for the title of the poem, poet, and the years the poet lived so that there is some context to when the poem was written. There is also a large space for the students to draw a picture of the poem. This is where the boys and I always start when studying a poem to help them visualize what the poet is conveying. Sometimes, we need to have a discussion about the language of the poem before they are ready to draw. Sometimes, we divide our paper into various scenes depending on how many scenes are described in the poem.
Finding Descriptive Language in the Poem
The next two pages contain spaces to write examples of descriptive language. Definitions are provided for each type of descriptive language, including: imagery, alliteration, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, personification, idiom, metaphor, and simile.
We typically only discuss 1-2 types of descriptive language each day and there are usually only a few types of descriptive language for each poem.
Understanding the Tone and the Mood
Definitions are included to help children form an opinion about the author’s tone and how the poem makes them feel. My boys love to give ‘good’, ‘happy’, and ‘bad’ as their answers so I often give them some other options of feelings. It is a great time to discuss emotions!
Rhyme and Rhythm of the Poem
We always discuss the rhyme scheme and clap out the rhythm of each poem. I always write the rhyme scheme on the white board and this year, they will have a space in their notebooking pages to copy it down.
Poem Copy Work
There is a copy work page included in the packet. I use this to have Little Fish continue to practice his printing and to give Big Fish some cursive review. It also helps them memorize the poem, which we practice more verbally near the end of the month.
Learning New Vocabulary
Last year, we discussed ‘new to them’ vocabulary in the poems to help them better comprehend the poem. This year, we are going to be more intentional about writing down definitions to these words and making a personal connection with those words by using them in a written sentence or drawing a picture of the word.
Written Response to Poetry
Finally, there are two pages to write a response to the poem. One is blank and the other has the prompt “This poem makes me think of: “. We did not do written responses last year with our poetry, but this year we are going to be focusing on our writing skills more so this will be a good addition to our poetry study.
Download the Poetry Notebooking Pages
You can grab the Poetry Notebooking Pages below and get started on your own poetry study this month!
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More Descriptive Language Practice
Descriptive language is one of our favorite aspects of poetry and literature to study. Check out these other resources below for studying it in your homeschool!