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Celebrating World Poetry Day

by Dr. Bruce Ellis

While I don’t consider myself a true poet, when I see that World Poetry Day is March 21, I feel the nostalgia of favorite poems from my past; to recite them, read them slowly and feel the emotions evoked, to enjoy the words on my tongue as a tasty morsel. Though my favorites are not ones that you study if you are an English major in college, they touched emotions in me. And isn’t that what we want to happen with our students in whatever content we teach – that they have an emotional connection to it? Poems on my list include Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe, Caged Bird by Maya Angelou, Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout by Shel Silverstein, and The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall by L. Frink.

This year for World Poetry Day, regardless of what you teach, here are a few tools that you and your students can use to articulate your content in ways that tickle the ear and spark the imagination. You even have a choice of at least 55 styles of poems that you can write! And even if you don’t have a chance to have your students read or write poems on March 21, still consider how they can use poetry to communicate truths in mathematics, science, social studies, and English language arts.

iOS and Android Apps

ipad app iconDiamante Poem – This type of poem is in the shape of a diamond. Each line uses specific types of words (adjectives, -ing words, etc.). What makes it especially nice is that it doesn’t have to rhyme. This app has some examples to illustrate how to write a diamante poem, and it leads you through creating your poem step by step. When you’re finished, you can save the poem as an image to your photo gallery. iOS and Android

acrostic poem iconAcrostic Poem – Think of a word and then write a word or phrase for each letter in the word. This app will lead you through creating an acrostic poem and even helps you brainstorm words. Acrostic poems are often used when students write their name vertically and then write out adjectives going across that describe them, but the uses are endless. iOS and Android

haiku app iconHaiku Poem – This app makes writing this Japanese-style poetry super simple. Walking you through the steps of brainstorming words and phrases and making note of the syllables, you’ll find that constructing one is easy and can be very profound. iOS and Android

poems iconPoems By Heart from Penguin Classics – This well-crafted app introduces students to a wide variety of poetry. Even without the premium downloads, the free ones supplied each come with audio that highlights the lines as the poem is read with inflection. Students can record themselves reading the poem and even earn poetry points by memorizing them. iOS

poems iconPOETRY from The Poetry Foundation – Let students encounter a wide variety of poetry in this app. They can discover titles by spinning the category wheels (emotions and events) or by searching for a specific author in the index. Poems that have audio are indicated with a small speaker icon, great for extra support for struggling readers/writers as well as students who may benefit from hearing it read aloud. iOS

Poetry Websites

28 Must-Share Poems for Elementary School –  A nice list of poems that elementary students can relate to and enjoy.

24 Must-Share Poems for Middle School and High School – Use these poems to start deep, reflective discussions in your classroom.

A Poem A Day: 30 Poems for Secondary Students During National Poetry Month – This list has a wide variety of authors, styles, and themes to enjoy.

Five Favorite Poems to Teach in Middle School – Mary Beth shares five poems, each including a connection to a story to read or additional resources to support analysis and writing.

12 Best Poetry Websites for Kids – Interactives and Collections – Check out this great list of resources and pass on to your peers.

Teaching Slam Poetry – If you don’t feel like you are a poet or even a poet-wannabe, then take a look at this lesson plan. You’ll appreciate the pre-instruction resources and other scaffolded help that Scholastic provides.

What Will You Do?

Will you take advantage of March 21 and offer a change of routine by teaching your content coupled with poetry? If that’s a little too soon, or you would like more than just a day, then spread it out and enjoy the whole month of April; you can even request a free poster to help advertise National Poetry Month!

We’d love to hear from you! Share with us your favorite poem and the connection. Or write a short poem in the comments section…limerick, haiku, whatever! Just drop it in the comments below.

closing poem


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