The unit will address several Common Core State Standards for Literacy, including craft and structure, knowledge and ideas, phonics and phonological awareness, comprehension and collaboration, and production of writing.
April is Poetry Month and a fun time for students as we listen to and learn a new poem almost daily. Although we hear poems throughout the year, this is a time of more intensive focus and gives us an opportunity to highlight and compare many different styles, authors, subjects, and purposes. The month-long celebration of poetry will include Poem in Your Pocket Day, an initiative led by the Academy of American Poets to encourage participation in poetry. Students carry the poem, “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket,” by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers, for the entire final day. This strategy of carrying a poem for the day is a central approach for the month. Students will make and wear their “pocket” each day for the month with a new poem each day, a collection of many different styles from a variety of poets.
This unit will start with some introductory questions for the students: What is a poem? Does the title matter? What do poems sound like? Can we remember and recite poems that we learned? Where can we find poems? What feelings do poems make us feel? Can we be poets?
Young students have shared what they already know about poems and poetry. This list changes a bit from year to year, but these are the essential comments from kindergarteners and certainly provide a framework for starting out.
Poems have words.
Poems have more than one word.
It is not a book, and it doesn’t have a cover.
We can write poems
We can sing poems
Poems can have pictures or not have pictures.
Poems have to make sense.
Poems can be funny.
Fairy tales and nursery rhymes are poems.
Poems can be long or short.
There are lots of poems in the world.
Poems can be fiction or nonfiction.
The unit is designed to help students recognize that poems have stories, moods, actions, and descriptions and can be partnered with art. We will develop a visual poetry toolbox that students could refer to when working on their own poems - repetition, alliteration, music, imagination, and onomatopoeia. Some ideas for introducing poetry as sound and object are a couple of poems for the starting days:
Jump or Jiggle by Evelyn Beyer
I'm Glad I'm Me by Jack Perlutsky
Crayons: A Rainbow Poem by Jane Yolen
Firefly by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne
Caterpillar by Christina Rossetti
Aim High to the Sky by James McDonald
Mary’s Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale
Poor Old Lady by Anonymous