At the beginning of the unit, I give students a rough draft booklet, which contains a page for each type of poetry, along with its definition, and space to practice their own examples. I will ask them to have this booklet with them for each lesson.
I begin this lesson by showing students examples of Free Verse poems and asking them what they notice. I lead a discussion that allows them to come to the conclusion of what Free Verse poetry should be. This is actually a bit challenging for them because Free Verse poems do not always have common themes or elements, but it creates great dialogue amongst the students as they try to identify those. Then, I share with them that the definition for Free Verse is a poem that has no rules. In our Free Verse poems, they can write about any topic and can make up any patterns they would like, or they don’t have to follow any patterns at all. I model an example for them from http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/news/how-to-write-a-free-verse-poem/:
sharp in my ears.
My heart jumps. Skips.
It’s up. It’s up higher.
It’s up, up the highest.
Hands grasp at the clouds.
Then a forever pause. Still. Waiting.
As today’s assignment, I ask kids to write two Free Verse poems that they will be able to choose from for the final draft later in the unit. Most kids will choose to write a few. I remind them that I will choose a few students to share so that they make sure to complete their task.
Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get 5 minutes of Prep Time to gather materials, find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for 30 minutes of uninterrupted Independent Writing.
Guided Practice: Today, I would be calling writing groups to monitor their progress with the task, help students that are struggling, and allowing students to share their favorite parts with the group. This is also when I could find some strong examples that I will ask the authors to share during our lesson closing.
The closing is the last five minutes of our Writer’s Workshop time, where we come back together to reinforce the day’s lesson and share some solid examples of the task. I call on the students that I’ve asked to share and they come to the front of the class to read their favorite Free Verse poem.