April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of poets and poetry during National Poetry Month. Admittedly, there are few students who will jump for joy at that statement. But the love poetry is definitely a skill that we want to develop in all of, including those sitting in our classrooms. So here are some resources, activities, and lessons to get them engaged and “waxing poetic!”
National Poetry Month Activities
The fabulous Eric Curts has created a Springtime Magnetic Poetry template using Google Drawings. This is an easy drag-and-drop activity that features a blank, spring canvas in the center of the screen where students can drag words. On the left side are 100 standard (non-themed) words in alphabetical order pulled from the Dolch Word List. On the right side are 78 springtime-themed words in alphabetical order. Students simply begin to “play” with the words to create their spring poem. The words can be copied and pasted if needed more than once. You can make a copy of the template to use with your class here.
Eric also offers more “Googley Poem Projects,” including a Random Text Prompt Generator in Google Slides, Black Out Poetry in Google Docs, and a beautiful Haiku Poem Template. He also shares how to create Pi Poems using Google Sheets and a study of Pi.
Students in grades 5-12 are invited to write letters in response to poems written and read by award-winning poets. They can submit their own responses or have their teacher submit for them. The site includes video walk-throughs for teachers, writing prompts, a lesson plan, and a short assignment, as well as samples from the 2020 letter writing campaign.
TCEA’s own Diana Benner shares how to turn your face into a PoemPortrait. This technique works with Artificial Intelligence to craft the poem. You then take a selfie and use that the background for the poem.
High school students might want to try Poem in Your Pocket Day, which will be held on April 29 this year. Select a poem chosen by the Academy of American Poets from this PDF and then share it with the world in a variety of ways. Students can read the poem on a Flipgrid, illustrate it using Google Drawings, or make a video of themselves reading the poem and share that via Google Classroom or their school LMS.
Shannon McClintock Miller has a wonderful Poetry Month Choice Board. “On the choice board, I included three different places where we can read and listen to poetry; a fun video with Kwame Alexander as he teaches us about the ingredients of a poem; two sites to create magnetic poetry; and The Poetry Machine which allows you to create dozens of types of original poems. ” You can share the board as is with your students using this link or make a copy to edit for yourself.
Verse by Verse from Google allows students, with the help of artificial intelligence, to create their own poem in the style of a famous American poet. Students can accept the recommendations from the AI or use their own phrases. To begin, you select up to three different poets whose style your poem will be based on. There are 22 different American poets to choose and each one provides information about the poet. You then design your poem structure (quatrain, couplet, free verse), the number of syllables for each line of verse, and the pattern for the rhyming sequence. You next enter a first line for your poem that your “muses” will use to help create the rest. The AI will then offer several suggestions for each line. If you don’t like any of them, you can use the Refresh button and see new choices. You can see my quick example below (don’t judge!).
Finally, Richard Byrne has more ideas for helping to get students to enjoy poetry. These include hand-selected, shorter poems to be read aloud, YouTube videos highlighting the works of six famous poets (Frost, Shakespeare, Yeats, O’Keefe, Gibson, and Elhillo), and poetry lesson plans for grades K-8.
What will you do to help your students develop a love of poetry?