It's about time, teachers, ... to wrap up Using Poetry in the Classroom. As promised, today I'm posting my random thoughts about poetry centers.
Many, many teachers like to use composition books for student anthologies. They describe having the students paste the poem under study into the book and then use the facing page to write responses. I prefer to use 3 ring binders because no matter how many times you tell your students that "a dot is a lot," they still get glue on the pages. Carefully tearing the pages apart for them is not my favorite activity and it's way too time consuming.
But, you object, then the students can't write a response on the facing page. Au contraire! I have my pupils punch holes on the right margin of the poem. For many of the poetry responses, I use a Poetry Recording Sheet.
Other times, I have the students insert notebook paper. Either way, the kiddos now have the poem on the left and response paper on the right.
Earlier on this blog, I referred to supplies you may wish to have at a poetry center. Although I recommended markers, crayons, scissors, etc., I usually place only colored pencils at the center. I call them "Poets' Pencils," which makes them more special to the children. I love the metaphor that "Poets' Pencils" create colorful, figurative language.
Colored pencils are also preferable for highlighting and underlining words on the poem because they don't bleed through the paper, as markers can. Moreover, they are erasable, if need be.
By making colored pencils specific to our poetry center, I am also avoiding confusion (and arguments) over whether the markers and/or crayons are part of the center or belong to one of the students.
Poetry can be used in so many ways to enhance your teaching. It need not be saved for April, National Poetry Month. It need not only be used for studying the elements of poetry. Poems bring rainbows into your classroom. Visit the land of poems often. You'll be glad you did.