Poetry is a fun unit to teach with my first graders. There are many excellent books with poems perfect for visualization, rhyming, or just plain funny. Poetry can also be accessible for students who need shorter texts to comprehend a reading strategy. However, teachers can find that task needs to be more manageable when teaching students how to write poetry. But what if it could be easy and already planned out for you? What if teaching how to write poems could be differentiated and accessible for students of all learning levels?
In this post, I will share with you how I teach poetry in my classroom and how I make it accessible for all of my students.
Writing Poetry for Kindergarten and First Graders
Students have a much easier time understanding and visualizing poems than writing them. Yet once my students understand the formula for writing poems, they get excited about poetry and want to write as many as possible. It is a simple process and doesn’t involve a lot of prep time.
Differentiating Poems for Writing
I created this unit out of sheer need. I had a few students who were new to English, and writing poetry was hard. I found clip art that my students could use to create their poems. This was wildly successful in my classroom; all my students enjoyed the lessons and took ownership of their writing.
Different Types of Poetry for Elementary Students
I use three poems with my students, and they all have a theme of seasons. For example, when they wrote an acrostic poem, they wrote four poems, one for each season. This also tied in with our science unit of teaching about the seasons. Below are the poems I taught and examples of how I used them in the classroom.
I LIke, I Don’t Like Poems
I usually started with these poems because they were the easiest to do. I always used the season we were in to model for the students. I would create an anchor chart and have students tell me what they liked and didn’t like about, in this case, winter.
They might like the snow but didn’t like shoveling. I would write these examples up on the board. Then I would go through my poem about winter, including things I liked and didn’t like. Once completed, the students wrote their poems about winter.
If students need help with ideas, or if they are EL students who need help with vocabulary, I simply pull out clip art images with the winter theme and the words written underneath and have the students sort the pictures how they like. Then I give them a piece of paper with the sentence frames already printed on the paper so they can write their poem.
5 Senses Poems
This Is another fun poem that I use with my students. I have students think about their 5 senses and how they relate to the season we are in. I use a planning sheet to guide my students in their planning (as well as clip art cards for them). We think of what we can touch, taste, smell, see and hear in the wintertime. For example, they can see their boots at the door and hear the fireplace crackling. I then model how I would take that planning sheet and write my 5 senses poem with my students.
The final poem that I teach my students is Acrostic poems. Now these can be really difficult to create for my first graders. Thinking of words that begin with a particular letter can be challenging. This is where my clip art comes in handy for all of my students. I give them the cards and we sort through them together to write the best acrostic poem we can. Once they get the hang of it, I let them come up with their poems and words and phrases that they may want.
Teaching Poetry to Kindergarten and First Graders
Students have a much easier time understanding and visualizing poems than writing them. Yet I also find that once my students understand the formula for writing poems, they get excited about poetry and want to write as many as possible. It is a simple process and doesn’t involve a lot of prep time. I love using visuals and graphic organizers when planning to write any kind of poem. If I find them helpful when writing, I like, I don’t like poems, five sense poems, and acrostic poems. It makes it easier for my first graders to understand the formula needed for these poems.
If you like a copy of my poetry unit, click here!
What are your favorite poems to teach in writing? Comment below and let me know!