It’s National Poetry Month! My favorite time of the year! During the month of April, I am known as “Poetry Paige.” I visit over fifteen schools during the month of April with interactive silly and fun poems. A typical poetry school visit ranges from one class at a time to six classes at a time or the whole school. I reach over 500 students in one day.
I love asking the students what they think poetry is all about. “It’s how you express your feelings.” “Poetry is silly” “Poems are short stories that you can share with friends.” The responses are beautiful and I always wish I had recorded them.
Explore a few fun poetry ideas that I have tried in the past!
Name that Animal! Use two volunteers with a buzzer between them or have your whole group ready to guess. Read the poem and let them guess what animal it is, by raising their hand and when you’re done reading the poem, everyone yells out the animal. Use National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems that Squeak, Soar and Roar! Edited by J. Patrick Lewis. Read Mountain Gorilla by Janet S. Wong (one of my favorite poets) and Porcupine by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.
Throw the Dice! My amazing library co-worker Jan, made me a HUGE felt dice that works great for poetry presentations when selecting a poem. Each side has a different object or animal. A volunteer from your audience throws the dice and if it lands on a Parrot, you read the parrot poem. It is always fun to throw a huge colorful dice across the classroom or gym.
Twist: Yoga Poems by Janet S. Wong is perfect for interacting. Have two students join you while you read the poem, acting it out with yoga. Try her poetry suitcase! It is excellent! You could use a bag or anything that holds silly objects.
Jack Prelutsky’s, Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face and Other Poems: some of the best of Jack Prelutsky is perfect for teachers. Ask four teachers to join you. Read the poem Forty Performing Bananas. Let them know they will be performing as bananas in various dances. Bonus! There is a poetry activity guide in each section of the book.
With a large group, have everyone stand up. Talk about how sometimes poems use the same word over and over again. Read the poem, A Pizza the Size of the Sun. Most of your group will have heard this poem and will recite it with you. Have students sit down or stand up each time they hear the word, PIZZA! It is funny to count how many times Prelutsky uses the word PIZZA! Emphasize he was our first Children’s Poet Laureate.
Before I sign out, J. Patrick Lewis is the Children’s Poet Laureate this year! Check out his website at www.jpatricklewis.com and one of his new poetry books, World Rat Day: Poems about Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of! You will find the perfect Common Core poetry book with, The Poetry Friday Anthology: Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core, by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. An amazing poetry treat! You will find more poetry book lists at www.deschuteslibrary.org/poetrypaige and www.shelfari.com/paigeone/tags/poetry. Find more information about children’s poets and poetry at The Poetry Foundation.
Please email me for more poetry ideas at email@example.com. April is National Poetry Month! How are you celebrating?
Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Children’s/Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. “Poetry Paige” has been shouting out words and reading silly poems for over ten years. Her poetry workshops and programs at library and teacher conferences have been presented from Alaska to Washington State to hundreds of teachers and librarians.
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