Saturday, January 5, 2013

Guest Blogger: Out of this World Literacy

Hello Friends! I’ve linked up with some amazing bloggers for a blog hop started by Primary Possibilities. My name is Jen Bengel and I am Kristin’s guest blogger for today. My blog is called: Out of This World Literacy. I am a Literacy Collaborative Coordinator for grades 3-5. I spend the majority of my time at school teaching professional development sessions and coaching teachers in the best practices in literacy instruction. Part of my job is to push-in a teacher’s classroom for the literacy block. This helps the teacher learn to teach the format of the Literacy Collaborative. I am currently working in a fifth grade classroom. We are just beginning a poetry unit with students. One of the hardest things for teachers is getting ALL students to find their creative voice and write poetry. The first step I take is to not expect them to write at all! Yup, instead of expecting students to write poetry on day one, I ask them to ‘notice’ poetry that stands out to them. We talk as a class about what makes good poetry. Then we make a list of our ideas on an anchor chart. I then allow students time to explore poetry books of their choice. I do this by laying out several different books of poetry. Students spend time reading and once they find a poem that they really enjoy, they copy that poem into their poetry anthologies. The trick is that they have to copy the poem EXACTLY as it is written, paying special attention to punctuation, font, and line breaks.
By asking students to notice poetry before expecting them to produce poetry, they are all able to be successful. Everyone can copy a poem. There is no pressure to create some ellaborate poem, rather just enjoy the genre. This activity also forces students to notice and understand line breaks, spacing, font choices, and punctuation within poetry. After students spend several days enjoying other’s poetry, we move into thinking about writing our own poems. We make lists of things that may interest us as poets. We make a heart puzzle of objects, people, places, and thoughts that we might be able to write about. By this point, EVERY student is ready to write poetry with their own voice. They have identified, analyzed, and critiqued enough poetry to be successful at writing their own.
Thank you for reading some of my ideas about getting your students to ALL be successful at writing poetry. I wish you and your students many successful writing days ahead! Stop by and visit my blog
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  1. Loved your multiplication ideas at iTeach 1:1. We do daily multiplication in my 3rd grade class as well AND have a pizza party lunch when everyone gets to their 10s (cupcakes at 5) I like the way you divide the tables up though and I love that star chart!!! Ours is not quite so interesting - I may adopt your idea next year :)

  2. Lynn, Thank you for your comment. I LOVE the idea of cupcakes 1/2 the way through. I'll bring that on for next year.

  3. What a great guest blog post!

    I love the name of this blog by the way. Very cute! Newest follower!

    Covered in Glitter and Glue

  4. I teach kindergarten. My students have poetry journals that we use weekly. It is amazing the skills you can teach with one poem. Thank you for linking up.

  5. I have recently become obsessed with using poetry in my classroom. We are starting our Poetry unit in writing when we get back to school on Monday. I love the idea of kiddos finding and noticing things about poetry! Thanks for the great idea!
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

  6. We are doing a poetry unit, too. Come check out my blog for some ideas based on Common Core text exemplars.
    BTW, I'm your newest follower!
    Mary at Pitner's Potpourri
    Pitner's Potpourri Shop on Teachers Notebook

  7. Looks like you already have lots of followers! You can add me to the list as well. Great blog!