The primary role of the poetry journal in my classroom is to build a collection of poems that students can read and utilize to practice identifying parts of text. Differentiation may be evident in journals, depending on how you choose to use them in the classroom. Since not all students are on the same reading level, it doesn't really make sense for each individual poetry journal to look the same. This poetry journal may be used as part of a small unit or incorporated into daily reading and/or writing instruction. I will references the use of a poetry journal in several parts of this unit.
Whole group instruction:
You may use a simple poem to instruct your entire class as a whole group. Make sure that you model what you want students to be able to do. This can be done with a projector, Smartboard, or by utilizing an enlarged copy of the poem to guide students throughout the lesson. This is a great way to get all levels of readers excited about reading and engaged in the same lesson. You can use whole group instruction to introduce and reinforce students' identification of the following within a poem:
-punctuation (periods, commas, and exclamation points)
-rhyming words (may identify words that rhyme using colored pencils, crayons, etc.)
-word families ( -at, -it, -ig, etc.)
-word endings (-ed, -ing, etc.)
-words with the same beginning sound
-identify words with long vowel sounds (one vowel at a time)
-identify words with short vowel sounds (one vowel at a time)
-students may cut a poem up into separate lines and then assemble the poem by gluing it into their notebook (the teacher may show students how the poem should be put together or have them decide which order it should go in)
Small group instruction:
Poetry is a fun way to get students involved in dissecting text on their own level. It is great for developing reading comprehension, identifying parts of a text and excellent for building fluency and one to one correspondence. You may use a focus from above to hone in on during small group instruction or choose a poem that links to a specific reading skill that your group is working on. The possibilities are endless when you break it down to small group, for both low and high level readers.