Students will be made aware that they'll need a novel written in verse for the independent reading portion of this unit. I will supply a Book List: Novels Written in Verse to all of the kids so they can have time to secure their book. Whether it be from the library or if they opt to buy their novel. I always stress that they certainly don't have to buy their novel, however I notice that some parents like to do this.
Kids will participate in a poetic device scramble. Here are the Poetry Scramble Directions.
The purpose of this activity is two fold. It allows me to gauge quickly who has a firm grasp of figurative language and who needs to spend some time reviewing. It also jogs student's memories. Much of the figurative language and poetic devices covered during this unit are review from fifth and fourth grade. The skill we're looking to build upon would be locating these poetic devices in more complex texts.
Using the scramble, we prepare to take notes on figurative language and poetic devices covered. Students will need at least a basic grasp of the majority of these terms in order to be successful during this unit. I try to make note-taking as interactive as possible. I let students dictate the order of the notes. Basically, we're using the terms and definitions from the scramble to as a guide to complete our homework during the unit.
I take the Poetic Device Notes that I write to make a master guide for students to keep in their folder. Than their copy of the terms stays with them in their notebooks.
At the end of this introductory lesson, I like to end with a simple reading and reminder as to how to read a poem. I love the poem "A Valentime for Ernest Mann" By: Naomi Shihab Nye. I choose this poem because I love it. I think this is important. Find a poem that you really love to share with students. I often tell them why I love it. I love to think about poetry hiding; it comes alive.
I read this poem all the way through, pausing at each period. Then I ask: What did you notice about the way the poem was read? Students often pick up on the pauses after periods. Sometimes I'll ask if I stopped at the end of the lines. This is a common misconception about poetry. Students often think that they should stop at line breaks and commas.
We have a brief discussion about poetry elements or more generally, what did you notice about this poem. There is some nice personification in "poems hide." The purpose of this section is to gather a general idea of background knowledge and comfort with poetry. It is also to get kids excited about poetry discussion.