Last year, the Fish and I studied a poem each month. I wrote about how we studied each poem our Poem of the Month here. They really enjoyed this part of our studies, so I decided to go ahead and 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 this year.
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I decided rather than picking 10 unrelated poems like we did last year, that I would buy one of the collection 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.
Another change I decided to make for this year is that instead of just discussing each aspect of the poem that 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 decided to share them here on teacherspaysteachers.com. These pages can be used to study most poems in elementary school. Here is what is included in the packet:
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 fish and I always start when study 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.
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. If your students need examples of each type of descriptive language to fully understand them, download this resource guide for free.
Tone and 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
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.
There is a copy work page included in the packet, if you would like to print it. 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.
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.
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 any 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.
If you will be studying poetry this year with your elementary students, download these notebooking pages here:
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