Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Poetry Invitation!

Can I just say that I love being on break?! The time I have to catch up on blogs and my DVR has been amazing! Today, I thought I'd try keep the blogging streak alive with a post about poetry! Thanks as always to the wonderful Jivey for hosting her weekly Workshop Wednesday!

For a poetry mentor text, I read Love that Dog by Sharon Creech. I adore this "novel" as many of you do as well. Since so many people use Love that Dog in their own classrooms, I thought I'd write about how I invite my students into my poetry unit.

I usually start my unit with the poem, "A Valentine for Ernest Mann" by Naomi Shihab Nye. I read this poem before we do any reading of Love that Dog. I tell my students that this poem is my invitation for them to become poets as we go through the unit.

Here's the invitation I give my students: (Click to grab it)

You can also watch Naomi Shihab Nye perform her poem via YouTube:

My students LOVE this poem! After reading it and listening to the commentary, we talk about how they need to find the poems that hide in their lives and write about! 

And our first poem in Love that Dog that we write is a tribute to William Carlos Williams' poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow." We read the poem together and watch this pretty neat animated version on YouTube.

Here's Mr. Williams himself reading his poem:

After discussing the poem and watching the video, I task my students like Jack, to be inspired by William Carlos Williams. They brainstorm things that are important to their 5th grade lives & what they depend upon.  I love how these poems turn out every year! After the first few days many of "haters" start to turn into poetry "lovers." I make a big deal (like Price is Right just called my name, type of deal) about students "converting" from haters to lovers and that helps add to the fun climate during our poetry unit!

Here's my brainstorming sheets: (Click to grab it)

What tricks do you use to encourage creative writing / poetry in your classroom?


  1. LOVE your post Amanda! The poetry invitation is a perfect intro to poetry-I'm totally stealing this! Thanks for sharing!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. Thank you for sharing the videos. I will definitely show the "Red Wheelbarrow" one to my class. I also love your invitation to poetry. I'm going to use that too!

    Thank you!
    Fit to be Fourth

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