TeachersFirst's Editors' Choice Poetry Month

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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected by our editors from the hundreds of reviewed poetry resources and creative tools listed on TeachersFirst. Now April can be Poetry Month in any classroom. Even if you teach science or math, there is a place for poetry in your curriculum. Poetry is as brief and economical as a number sentence, but with feelings or messages between the words. Why not throw some poetry lines amid your chemical or algebraic equations to connect with verbal/linguistic learners and spark a new way of seeing any subject? Take time to plan a "poetry break" using these ideas from the TeachersFirst Editors. View all of our resources tagged for Poetry here

Here are some poetic possibilities to get your students' creative juices flowing: Have students compose a limerick explaining a science term or historic figure. Have students collect a list of words from your current unit. Then offer extra credit for a poetic interpretation to be shared as a daily "poetry break" during April. Use one of the tools featured here to share poetic visions of biology, geometry, and more during April. Cover a classroom wall with white paper for "curriculum poetry" during April: encourage students to share poetry graffiti (classroom appropriate, of course). Need other poetic ideas? Check out our "In the classroom suggestions" included in these reviews or try our keyword search for poetry AND a specific topic or grade level.

 

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Poetry Everywhere - WGBH and David Grubin Productions

Grades
3 to 12
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Poetry Everywhere includes a mini biography on numerous poets followed by one of the poet's poems. Be sure to select poets and poems that are age appropriate for students. ...more
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Poetry Everywhere includes a mini biography on numerous poets followed by one of the poet's poems. Be sure to select poets and poems that are age appropriate for students.

tag(s): poetry (224)

In the Classroom

Share several poems with students and then have them create similar poet and poem podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here) to present to their classmates. Post the podcasts to a class wikispace or website. Not familiar with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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Poetry Teachers - Meadowbrook Press

Grades
K to 6
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Poetry Teachers aims to assist teachers in teaching poetry. The section entitled Poetry Fun provides students with engaging activities like tongue twisters and fill in...more
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Poetry Teachers aims to assist teachers in teaching poetry. The section entitled Poetry Fun provides students with engaging activities like tongue twisters and fill in the blank poems. Poetry Class includes lesson plans to help teachers with different poetry forms. The Poetry Theatre section provides teachers and students with poems and ideas on how to present poetry in a theatrical way.

tag(s): poetry (224)

In the Classroom

Small groups of students can use the Poetry Theatre section to put together a theatrical presentation of poems. Film the presentations and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here. Post them onto a class wiki. Not familiar with wikis? Have no wiki worries,'? check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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Rhyme Brain - Steve Hanov

Grades
4 to 12
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This dynamite site makes rhyming alright. Save it as a favorite quick pick to have a slick trick for poets to click. The process is simple; just type in a ...more
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This dynamite site makes rhyming alright. Save it as a favorite quick pick to have a slick trick for poets to click. The process is simple; just type in a word and RhymeBrain finds ones that sound similar and sorts them so that the best rhymes appear first. You can also click to alliterate. Some of the choices are a bit of a stretch, so take what it reveals and appeals, without any waste-of-time ordeals. Some of your advanced poetry writers have the options of not only clicking on the link for instantaneously generating a list of rhymes, they can type in two words and then click on alliteration for another organized list. Sophisticated, witty language users may also have fun with the Insult button, which is similar to the British humor of rhyming Cockney slang.

tag(s): poetry (224)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how simple it is to find a word that rhymes on your projector or interactive whiteboard and then, provide a link to Rhyme Brain on your class web page for your students to have easy access to this tool. Have your students share their created poems on an interactive online poster using Lucidpress, reviewed here, or Canva, reviewed here.

It's a real time saver. Use it to fascinate elementary students with the numerous single and multi-syllabic rhyming words and various spelling combinations that are generated. Older students will enjoy the play on words that it quickly reveals, saving them time to do the higher level thinking that the figurative language of poetry requires.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Newspaper Blackout - Austin Kleon

Grades
4 to 12
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Newspaper Blackout is a clever way to unlock the secret poetry hidden within any printed page. This Tumblr site shares examples (unmoderated, so preview before sharing in a classroom!)....more
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Newspaper Blackout is a clever way to unlock the secret poetry hidden within any printed page. This Tumblr site shares examples (unmoderated, so preview before sharing in a classroom!). Poetry no longer needs to be a gray area; this activity makes it black and white! There are no gimmicks, no magic pens, and no camouflage paper, but this is certainly a tricky way to write a poem! All you need are newspapers and black markers. Hunt for and select a few words from each of the lines as you read a newspaper or magazine article. Remember to start with the title. Instead of the typical bottom-up approach to writing a poem by starting with a blank page and filling it with words, try this fresh, top down approach by starting with a page already crowded with words. Then use permanent markers to blacken out all the trivial words in each line until the poem appears. (Put something under your page so the ink does not bleed through on furniture!) Click Share your poem to learn how to upload your work to the site.

tag(s): creative writing (171)

In the Classroom

This poetry activity opens the doors to so many learning objectives. In a social studies or history classroom, you could direct your students to search for newspaper or magazine articles on topics that you have been studying, or current events. Suddenly you have social studies poetry! In an English language arts lesson, you might instruct students to blacken out all the words that are not nouns or verbs, or select other parts of speech. You could change the task to eliminate any word that is not part of the simple subject or predicate, and simultaneously teach or reinforce main idea. For classrooms with individual computers, students could access articles online. Copy the text into a document. Then, Instead of blackening out words with markers, they could get the same effect by highlighting over them with black, or changing the font color of the text to white, and printing them or saving a screenshot image. Another option is for students to email their Newspaper Blackout poems to the teacher. Each poem could then be put into a Power Point slide show for the class to see on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site to offer your students a new twist on Poetry Month (April). Take your new poetry collection to the world by uploading the PowerPoint to ThingLink, reviewed here, and having each student record a reading in his/her own voice. Make poetry a participatory experience, no matter what the subject. If your school permits, have students take photos of their paper poems -- or screenshots of ones done on the computer --and share them on this site.

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Shmoop Poetry (beta) - Shmoop University Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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As a companion piece to the Shmoop literature site, this is a wonderful addition if you teach poetry. Shmoop provides students (and teachers) with so much more than summaries. This...more
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As a companion piece to the Shmoop literature site, this is a wonderful addition if you teach poetry. Shmoop provides students (and teachers) with so much more than summaries. This is a great site with a unique voice. It is written by Ph.D. and Masters students at top universities (such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc.). While the list of poems is currently growing (this is a beta site), it includes many of the poems and/or poets commonly studied in high school including some of Shakespeare's sonnets, Whitman, Coleridge, Shelley, Dickinson, Browning, Rich, Yeats, and others. Especially appealing are the "Intro" sections, which tell the background of the poem. This should interest students as it places a very human "face" on the poem and sets it in context for them. Besides summaries, techniques, quotes, and study questions, this site also gives a "did you know?" page that includes random trivia about the poet, poem, or topic, as well as a "sex rating" ("Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is rated "G"). This in itself will amuse students-- and amused students are likely to stay focused!

In addition to the literary content, there are also photo slideshows that accompany the poems and their authors. The slideshows would be great for readers who may need some assistance in comprehension, or may just need to something to sell the content and heighten their interest. While actually signing up (which is free) gives you the ability to "clip" files and keep them in a folder, you can access the majority of the information without signing up. Registration does require an email address. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Be aware this site is still in beta. The content is frequently updated, so be sure to check back!

tag(s): poetry (224)

In the Classroom

There are many possibilities at this website. Use it for reference, share the highlights on your interactive whiteboard or projector, or talk about the constructive use of a site like this without plagiarizing. One activity after reviewing a poem through Shmoop's process might be to have students use a poem not included on Shmoop and make their own entry for it, following the Shmoop template as an example. Why not make your own wiki to include some of the same features for other poems? Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Note: one popular poem on Shmoop is Poe's "The Raven." Be sure to have students explore TeachersFirst's interactive Raven as yet another rich way to experience the poem along with Shmoop.

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The Poetics of Robert Frost - Carole Thompson

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a lovely, simplistic site that uses Frost's poetry to explain and exemplify figurative language. This is especially helpful for students who might have trouble understanding...more
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This is a lovely, simplistic site that uses Frost's poetry to explain and exemplify figurative language. This is especially helpful for students who might have trouble understanding the abstract explanation of some figurative language definitions. This site uses specific Frost poems to demonstrate what each element is. Learn about figurative language, imagery, meter, sound devices (alliteration, consonance, rhyme, and more), form, tone, and style. The site includes a basic grid that describes the specifics of all of the elements highlighted at this site.

tag(s): figurative language (16), poetry (224)

In the Classroom

Neatly done on a graphic table, this site would enable you to assign different figures of speech and/or Frost poems to students in a class and have them investigate and present/explain that element to the class. Some of the elements are explained through Frost's own interpretation of his poetry which makes interesting personal reading for students. Have cooperative learning groups complete a multi-media project such as a blog entry (from Frost, of course) or a video shared on a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Be sure to have students share some Frost poems on an interactive whiteboard as they use different-colored highlighters to mark figures of speech or drag different figures of speech into place or replace them with "alternates" they write themselves.

Help your weaker readers by letting them listen poems read aloud on Frost Out Loud (reviewed here or to Frost reading his poems at The Listening Booth (reviewed here).

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The Music In Poetry - Smithsonian Institute

Grades
5 to 12
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If you want to get students involved in listening to poetry, try this site featuring real life SOUNDS of poetry in both ballads and the blues. Ballads are traditionally taught ...more
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If you want to get students involved in listening to poetry, try this site featuring real life SOUNDS of poetry in both ballads and the blues. Ballads are traditionally taught as story poems and, while this site does that too, it makes ballads more relevant to the music that kids listen to today. Use this site to teach about meters (iambic triameter and iambic tetrameter) in ways that students can HEAR. The images of the short films are great, too. The site includes readings and singing of great, classic examples of ballads as well as some rarer film footage of great blues singers (ex: John Jackson singing "Steamboat Whistle" at Wolf Trap in 1997). There is a wide variety of tracks to choose from and the site includes lesson plans.

tag(s): blues (18), poetry (224)

In the Classroom

Play the sound files on speakers in your classroom and be sure to include the link on your teacher web page for students to play at home, as well. If you are into podcasting, consider having students make their own recordings of ballads after hearing and studying these. Create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here). The lesson plans are printable Adobe and work with units/lessons on Langston Hughes and the blues as well as the meters of poetry.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Limerick Savant

Grades
10 to 12
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This is much more than a mere collection of contemporary limericks. It is rather a witty and provocative poetic commentary on politics, government, and economics. Original creations...more
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This is much more than a mere collection of contemporary limericks. It is rather a witty and provocative poetic commentary on politics, government, and economics. Original creations - inspired by what is in the news - are posted each day, and previous contributions can be perused by scrolling. It's acerbic ("Mr. Bush, we have heard you would banish our national anthem in Spanish...") and not for the easily offended, but it does provide a creative way to begin a class discussion on a hot topic. This is a personal blog site, so preview carefully before sharing with students.

tag(s): humor (15), poetry (224), satire (5)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to combine their creative writing skills with knowledge of poetic forms to fashion their own limericks using headline news as a prompt.

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Shel Silverstein's Official Website - Shel Silverstein; Harper Publishers

Grades
K to 6
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Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at...more
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Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at most sites to skip the intro. Don't skip Shel's. Familiar entities walk across your screen welcoming you. Screen Savers, animated Shel-creature-people to enjoy, reproducibles, and more await your enjoyment. Click on Poetry Month to find more activities and games that you can use during April. Your students will chuckle at Shel's own reading and lively animation of several of his poems. This is a site to explore with your class.

tag(s): humor (15), poetry (224)

In the Classroom

Take your students on this language-rich adventure using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Mark your calendar now to visit this site during April, when Poetry Month is celebrated. Download your free poetry kit from the poetry month link. Of course, Shel Silverstein's whimsical and slightly dark humor can be enjoyed any month. There is a link for Teachers and Parents with lesson ideas, printables, and more. This is a great site to share with parents and students for summer breaks.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Poetry 4 Kids

Grades
4 to 8
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Add this to your resource of kid-friendly poetry. Browse through dozens of examples and choose a few to illustrate rhyme scheme, meter, or alliteration. These are not literary masterpieces,...more
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Add this to your resource of kid-friendly poetry. Browse through dozens of examples and choose a few to illustrate rhyme scheme, meter, or alliteration. These are not literary masterpieces, but they will engage your most resistant students, and perhaps inspire some original poetry.

tag(s): poetry (224)

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