The school where I teach is a creative thinking through STEAM magnet school. Our student population attends from around the city, as well as from the neighborhood surrounding the school. As a result, students come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Students are accustomed to working together and learning from each other through both their similarities and differences. I teach in a self-contained first-grade classroom, meaning that I teach all subjects to the same group of students. This curriculum unit focuses on teaching visualization through poetry during the reading block; however, I have selected poems that span all subjects including science and history to tie together all aspects of the curriculum that I teach.
From birth, children are accustomed to the sound of oral language in the form of lullabies, nursery rhymes, and the sound of their loved ones’ voices. Poetry can draw on these earliest memories and has the power to spark interest in word play, reading, and both creative imagining and writing. When guided through analyzing and interpreting, children can grow to have a greater love and understanding of poetry. Poems do not have to stand alone as words or sound, but often operate as objects. The presentation is often equally important to the poem as the words themselves. Poems can be presented in a variety of ways, including isolated in a picture book, as part of an anthology or collection, as a video, or even as an oral presentation. In picture books, poems can be accompanied by drawings, collage, paintings, or photographs. The chosen representation can aid a child’s visualization and interpretation of the poem itself. When taught how to read and understand poems, children are equipped to enjoy poetry for the rest of their lives.