As a way to celebrate all that students have learned about poetry in this unit, we wrap it up by inviting parents and special guests to visit our Poetry Cafe on a special date and time.
To prepare, we set up the room in a way that can accommodate an average of one guest per students. What works best in my classroom is to have each guest sit at their child's desk and the students spread out around the perimeter of the room. Once guests are settled, we begin with choral poems that the students have selected to read together. Then we do a poem (teacher's choice) where the students read certain parts in groups and some parts together. This was practiced before the Poetry Cafe began. Then it's time for the individual poems. I have a microphone stand set up at the front of the room and, one by one, students step up to the microphone. Students should say hello, tell their first and last name, share the type of poem they will be reading, then read their poem using great expression and projection. Once all of the students have shared their poems, we ask them to place their final poetry books on their desks so that parents and guests can tour the room and see all of the students' work.
I usually schedule the Poetry Cafe during the last hour of the day so that parents can take their children home with them when we finish up. The Poetry Cafe is an exciting way for students to share their hard work.