Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Connected in the Classroom: Poetry Response

When I named my blog Connected in the Kitchen, I had every intention of only posting recipes. Now almost three years into blogging and I haven't posted a recipe in over a month - what!? I still do love cooking and baking, but this blog has become a reflection of how I spend my time. If I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I have a lot of recipes. If I've been on vacation, I have vacation recaps. Well, lately, I've been spending most of my time in a classroom, so I have a lot of classroom resources. I was going to try to spread these resources out, but I'm excited to share them and reflect on how they worked in my classroom in real time! So, I'm sharing!

Today, I'm talking about and sharing a resource that I made to guide students in responding to poetry. My students love poetry. Like they read poetry books during silent reading so I knew this would be a good place to start for responses. Eventually, they will have to respond to short stories and novels, but for now we're starting with poems. Poems are quick, they carry a ton of meaning and they are fun for my fifth graders to read.

I have to admit - I'm not the biggest poetry fan. In fact, if you asked me a month ago if I would ever teach a poetry unit, I would have told you no. That being said, these kids are guiding me in growing towards poetry because now I am doing a whole unit! I still find it challenging, but I'm growing to love it.

The four things my kids need to cover in a response are...
  1. The meaning of the poem (and not just the obvious meaning. I push them to read between the lines and search for deeper meaning).
  2. A connection to other texts, media or personal experience.
  3. The structure and features of the poem.
  4. Their judgement and justification (did they like the poem? And, why or why not?).
We just started these responses so below is the graphic organizer I used to guide them in responding poetry. Eventually, I will condense this and give it to them as a little checklist to use when they are analyzing poems. I was careful to create a resource that would carry them out of grade 5 and into grade 6 (even into high school!). These guidelines will help them in responding to texts as they grow out of grade 5.

These poetry response sheets are available for free download HERE.

I recommend going through this graphic organizer part by part, especially if your students haven't done poetry analysis before. I used Miss Misinformation by John Prelutsky to analyze and we really went though it step by step as a class. We started with the first question - I had them think on their own, talk with a partner, share with the whole class (think, pair, share), then I had them write. This really helped to guide my kids in their responses.

We did the first two questions last week and finished the last two questions today. Going through it slowly and as a group helped them to develop their ideas in a low stakes environment. I should also note that I did not grade these initial responses. Of course, I note their participation and effort but I did not mark their writing. That will come later once they understand what their supposed to be doing.

I have some more fun poetry resources coming your way! Let me know if you have any to share with me!

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