Week 1-I will have on display a variety of poetry books around the classroom. Glued inside each writing journal, I will have the six stages of the Writing Process. Each day, I will read aloud the stages before they begin their writing. These stages will be easily accessible for them to refer to as we go through the instruction of this unit. I will distribute to each student a writing journal. I will instruct them to write words, phrases short sentences about whatever they are thinking about or anything that comes to mind. I will tell them to just jot it down. I will give them 15 minutes of this kind of writing. Next, I will read a few nursery rhymes as an introduction to reading and writing poetry. I will ask students to bring in some of their books of rhymes to share. We will visit the school library and select various poetry books to use. We will also visit the public library. I will arrange to have a member of the school staff come in and read to my students. I will invite parents to come in and read also. The school cafeteria workers, custodians, secretaries and school nurse will be great candidates to come in and read poetry to students. The staff and students will enjoy it.
Week 2-I will read the Writing Process for 5 minutes and then the students will write in their journals for 15 minutes. I will give my students a quick adjective assignment where they will need to use their language book. I will go over the assignment beforehand for understanding, and then we will correct it as a group. They will have an adjective homework assignment for that night. I will introduce Acrostic poetry to them. I will call on a student to tell me the definition of an adjective and I will record it on the blackboard. As an example of an Acrostic poem, I will select a cartoon character as the subject. Cartoon characters are fun to use because they're easy targets. I will write the characters name on the blackboard. For practice, I will tell my students to think of one adjective to place next to each letter of the characters name. This adjective must begin with the specific letter they are doing. If time allows, I will do this assignment again. By the third day of this lesson, my students will use their own names in as a personal form of Acrostic poetry.
Week 3- the students will do 15 minutes of journal writing and I will read the Writing Process for 5 minutes. Syllabication is a difficult concept for many students to truly grasp 100%. As a drill before I do Haiku poetry; my students will clap the number of syllables they hear in their names and other words. This drill will start as an individual exercise, but the entire class will do the clapping. An extra day may be used to teach haiku. I will write a few words on the blackboard and separated it to show the number of syllables. The 5-7-5 sequence in a haiku is shown to my students on the blackboard. It is essential to visually teach my students the ways of reading and writing poetry. Since three lines are used to complete this type of poem, I will have my students produce at least 3 nature related haiku poems.
Week 4- my students will continue journal writing for 15 minutes. They will keep their journals on their desk when writing their poems. The poems will reflect what comes from their journals. When my students write poems, it has to be original and use clear language. Journals help because the contents of them are original. Clarity will come through practice and through the writing process. I will tell students not to be too concerned about having good vocabulary. I will inform them that language in many poems is simple and plain language. It doesn't have to be complex. This will act as a springboard as I get into the next type of poetry, which is Free Verse poetry. It allows students to write poetry that is free of a set rhyme or rhythm. It does not have a predictable length, line or stanza. Free Verse poems are an extension of what my students write in their journals. By the fourth week into the unit, the students are responsive and eager poets. They may come with poems they create outside of class. They might be willing to share these writing samples-their poems! Many of my reluctant students will be able to share their poems to the world! I will read some aloud and some students will read their own poems. This is whole class participation - reading, writing and sharing expressions of poetry. Lyric Poems are very expressive poems. A few of my students may create some awesome lyric poems. I have tried lyric poems in the past. These poems are genuine observations of their inner thoughts and feelings.
Week 5-during this week, I will distribute a poetry packet to each student. This packet will contain assignments to reinforce previous skills on reading and writing poetry. These packets will contain a few samples of each poem studied during the previous weeks and the definitions. I will go over each page thoroughly with the entire class. I will pose a few questions pertaining to the assignment for comprehension purposes. I don't expect all of my students to complete the entire poetry packet during one class period. I will give them the entire week to finish it.
As I approach the end of this unit, my students will be better readers and writers through their own creativity and inner personal experiences. The poetic expression packet is a follow-up and a continuation of works in progress. I will continue to encourage and praise them for their efforts. While completing the packet, my students will refer to their journals, the six stages of the Writing Process, their language books, the library and the blackboard. Dictionaries will be used to spell-check words or to confirm some meanings to words.
Week 6-I will go over the poetry packets. I will read, discuss and go over all the exercises. I will give feedback and oral interpretations of the poems from the packets. My students will respond to the poems also.
On the second day of this lesson, my students will choose one of their favorite poems. They will create a visual illustration as it relates to their poem. Sixth graders still enjoy the art of drawing and coloring with crayons; it is nice outlet for them. On the last day of this unit, I will have the classroom decorated with individual and artistic poems. These colorful illustrations will be fantastic.
My students will be challenged to form two-line rhyming poems called Couplets. Couplets have a specific pattern of rhyme and rhythm. I will have my students write a four-line couplet. If their poems don't "fit"the precise model, that's o.k. Learn by doing is a great premise in this unit. This curriculum unit contains the necessary elements for my students to obtain and master each objective set forth. I will give homework assignments to my students in capitalization, punctuation and general knowledge grammatical usage. I will be quite satisfied with 99.9% mastery from all of my students.