Kids get focused and grounded in a text. Towards the end of the year, I tend to relax a little bit with reading logs. Kids are allowed to store their independent reading books in my classroom for easy access. This also helps me start to get all of my books situated and in one place.
After this extended wide reading, I tell everyone to stop! Point to the page you are currently on. Now, reread that page, very closely, with a purpose. Your purpose is to find the most important word on the page. It should have tell me something important about the page as a whole, not really the entire book.
I pass out index cards. They'll need to write their book title, page number, and most important word on the front. Then, on the back, they'll tell me why they chose their "most important word."
Here is are two student samples, showing their most important word.
Now things are going to get fun!
I ask for every student to tell me their word. If it is a small class, I do the entire exercise again, so we can have double the words in the word bank.
Each kid calls out their word and I type them on the Promethean Board, so I am left with something like this: Word Bank.
Okay, this is about to get tricky. Everyone will be writing a poem using the Word Bank. You have a couple of options.
Option 1: Use all of the words on the board to create a poem. If you use this option you can add in basic words. I make a list of words students can add: I, it, me, the, was, etc.
Option 2: Use only the words you see on the board to write your poem and add none. However, with this method, you can cancel out 7 of the words and change the endings.
I allow kids to work together to talk about poem ideas. However, in the end, everyone needs their own version of the poem.
Now it is time to write your poem!
Kids seem to concentrate hard on these, because there is a puzzle element, which really engages the more mathematical learners. As they finish, I allow them to come up and share underneath the document camera. This makes them feel proud and allows others to get ideas from their peers.
I was so excited at how these turned out! I do say that they poems shouldn't be totally nonsensical; they should make sense to you, the writer.
Here are some samples: