TEACHING POETRY IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

When we studied homonyms, I found a delightful book, Your Aunt is a Witch, which presents homonym pairs in easy to remember rhymes.  The cover alone catches the eye of the reluctant reader. I converted the rhymes into a painless but practical worksheet series for the students to illustrate.  Here is one of the rhymes converted into worksheet style:

Little Prince Randolph is ( heir  air ) to the throne,

And some day he will be king.

He simply adores to fly through the ( heir   air )

On his solid gold, diamond-trimmed swing!

After the children pick the correct word, there is space to illustrate the rhyme.

When we discussed literal vs figurative language, I found The King Who Reigned a humorous combination of figurative images illustrated by literal drawings which also dealt with confusing homonyms. The children enjoyed making their own funny illustrations of “She’s all ears,” and “Someone’s on the phone,” and others they thought up themselves.

Poetry was a daily occurrence in my classroom, and as far as I was able, I “sneaked it in” to whatever we were studying at the time. We did not scan, analyze, or dissect the poems, but we did talk about what made them work and how they made us feel.

Poetry can be “worked in” and become a part of the classroom life and activities; it just takes a little ingenuity and a desire to get students thinking along poetry lines.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

8 thoughts on “TEACHING POETRY IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL”

  1. I used to teach college level children’s lit, and that was what I tried to impart to my students (all future teachers of K-8): don’t dissect the poetry–let them first see how it makes them feel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. …until they get to the exam syllabus which DEMANDS they pick poems apart, word by word… sadly! Lovely fresh approach to teaching small children who are hardwired to enjoy poetry anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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