Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Celebrating the Pleasures of Poetry with Young Readers (and Writers!)

As I mentioned on Friday, I am "Out and About" this week, for two days of school visits where we're "Celebrating the Pleasures of Poetry." Yesterday, I gave 3 grade-level presentations to kindergartners, first-graders, and second-graders. It's amazing how much we squeezed into one hour (45 minutes for the kindergartners)! I talked about what it means to be an author and how I get ideas from real life; I read a picture book work-in-progress; and I taught them a fun song with hand signs.

I used the song to segue into the main purpose of my visit--to celebrate National Poetry Month. We talked about ways poems are like songs, and how, even when poems don't rhyme, they have a strong rhythm. The best part came when we wrote a group poem together modeled on one I'd found in Regie Routman's Kids’ Poems: Teaching Kindergartners to Love Writing Poetry (Scholastic). The book is the first in a series which also includes Kids’ Poems: Teaching First Graders to Love Writing Poetry; Kids’ Poems: Teaching Second Graders to Love Writing Poetry; Kids’ Poems: Teaching Third & Fourth Graders to Love Writing Poetry. If you're looking for ways to introduce young students to poetry writing, I recommend all these books. What I especially like is that they include examples of poems written by students the same age mentioned in the title. By sharing these examples, we can help our students see that they, too, can write poetry. Yesterday's group poetry-writing activity was a great success. I hope today's goes as well.

During the visit, I also shared a bit of personal good news: a few days ago I learned my poem, "At the Chicago Marathon" will be published in a new anthology coming out later this year called And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems, edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Roemer. The anthology will include 50 poems by poets from 10 different countries. I'm thrilled and honored to have my work included in the book, which will also feature a poem by former TeachingAuthor JoAnn Early Macken, and a number of other poets whose work I admire. I'll be sure to let everyone know when the book is available.

Meanwhile, happy writing!


Linda B said...

I have that Routman book third and fourth graders. I've been working to learn more about younger students so I can help those teachers I'm now supporting. It is terrific! It's fun to bring poetry in during this month, isn't it? I'm glad your lessons went well. Fun to hear that you used songs as an intro. And congratulations on your poem being accepted-what a wonderful thing!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the congrats and feedback, Linda. Had another great day writing poems with grades 3-5 today. We'll be sharing the group poems with parents on Literacy Night later this month. :-)