Common Core Connections: The Power of Poetry
Poetry Connection 1: Key Ideas and Details
Examine the literature standards in the Common Core for your grade level. Those that apply to poetry primarily relate to Key ideas and Details standards and the Craft and Structure standards. If you are able to do ongoing work with poetry throughout the year, decide which ones will be the focus during a particular unit or session. Next, search for poems that lend themselves to an exploration of these standards. Begin with whole-class instruction and mini-lessons, and gradually release students to explore this genre more independently. The Poetry Read-alouds from TeachersFirst offers a set of age-appropriate, recommended books of poetry, along with suggestions for related activities and mini-lessons. Appendix B of the CCSS contains poetry exemplars as well.
Teach your students to keep the 5 W’s and H in mind when they listen to or read poems. As an example, read some in which the “who” is obvious (an animal, a child) and one in which the “who” is implied. Have students supply evidence from the poem to support their thinking about the “who” in the poem. After whole-class practice responding to read-aloud poetry, provide students with a simple 5 W's and H sheet or chart to fill in as they read poems independently.
As you do with other types of reading, challenge students to find the central message or theme of the poem. What was it mostly about? What big idea is the poet hoping to leave with us? Keep a running list on an anchor chart and look for patterns over time. What are the common themes conveyed in lots of poems?
Have students consider other aspects of the poem such as setting and characters. Who is the speaker in the poem? Is the poem about the speaker, or about some other character? What is the speaker's point of view? How does it affect the tone of the poem? What events are important in the poem? Can students retell the beginning, middle, and end? Use graphic organizers to record their thinking about these elements.