This is the final day of the first round in our poetry tournament. We have a brief, whole class discussion about the "Baseball" & "February." Often, I'll keep track of who is participating and give extra participation points on the poetry homework.
Many students realize that "Baseball" is filled with figurative language and I'll assign a stanza to each table. Then, I'll assign one person at each table to read aloud their assigned stanza. Within a given stanza, I'll have kids speak with one another to uncover any of the figurative language that they each found.
The inspiration for this lesson is based on the poem "February," taken from the tournament discussion and the first part of the lesson. Today, students will start their month poem. Students will write about their birthday months.
The first step is: students brainstorm a list of topics and words that remind them of their birthday month. As students are creating the list, I model the process.
Next: Kids draw upon their list and begin to draft a poem, zeroing in on one or two topics.
Here is a Student Sample: Month Word List & Poem.
In the mini-lesson portion of the lesson, I show students two versions on one stanza from my month poem.
One stanza reads more concretely, like a story. The other is more disjointed and reads more like a poem. I ask which one seems more like poetry. The answer is usually sample 2, which is my more poetic stanza. My next question is of course why. Students discuss what makes a poem a poem.
Then we take two more lines from willing students.
I've included them in my sample.
We rewrite these student lines, which are typically concrete complete sentences. As a class, I take suggestions, and we turn them into poetry.
Now it is the kids turn. They spend time talking over revision ideas at their tables. Together, they make revisions to their more concrete sentences.
Here is the Student Sample: May Poem, Final Product.
As kids finish their poems, I often have them type them up and create a display in the back of my room. I cluster the poems with the month they belong.
Here are two photos: