Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Poetry Fever!

We are in the midst of test prep for math and reading EOG's, but fortunately for my students (and myself) we saved poetry for our writer's workshop unit this nine weeks. It has been such an enjoyable, relaxing, fun, amazing break from the rest of our day that I was a little upset at myself for not doing more poetry throughout the year. Some teachers groan at poetry, but when I have the peace of mind to sit and actually read poetry---I LOVE IT! I'm also a big fan of music in general and I see a huge connection between the two...I guess I am a lover of words.

That's it!*!*! I'm putting my foot down for poetry next year! (and fun language learning lessons) I already have an idea for a revamped Friday schedule that allows me to infuse the day with figurative language, word of the week learning, idioms, poetry, song, (maybe a little dance), and content area vocabulary.

And this brings me to the exciting unveiling of my Weekly Poetry Post for the love of language! My goal is to share a weekly lesson, resource, favorite poem, or idea for a LOVE OF LANGUAGE DAY...starting NOW!!!

The best thing I did during our poetry unit was decide to bring music into the equation. I chose to use songs to introduce the metaphor, simile, and personification segment of our unit. I used:

The World's Greatest by R. Kelly ("I am a mountain. I am a tall tree. I am a swift wind, sweeping the country. I am an eagle...etc)
I Am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel--I'm a new fan of these oldie guys (I am a rock. I am an island. I've built walls, a fortress deep and mighty...A rock feels no pain, and an island never cries) 
The Show by Llenka (Life is a Maze, Love is a Riddle...and just enjoy the show. The sun is hot in the sky just like a giant spotlight., etc.) I think the song is actually an extended metaphor comparing life to a "show." At the end she says "I want my money back, I want my money back." LOVE IT!

I pulled these songs up on the smartboard on youtube. (Making sure to turn off the smartboard until I had the video I wanted). You can find them with words so students can see the lyrics. We listened quite a few times for enjoyment. I did the World's Greatest first and had students record how they would describe the "speaker in the poem" or the person singing the song. In another listen, I asked them to record as many "I am" statements as they could. It wasn't until my next lesson that I taught them that these "I am" statements were metaphors. Next we listened to "I am a Rock" and they recorded how they would describe the person speaking in that song. It was an interesting contrast to think about the person in "World's Greatest" being proud and confident and the person in "I am a Rock" wanting to be alone, obviously hurt by the world. If you are thinking "I am a rock" is too mature, it actually was my students favorite (still requesting it) and my kiddos are 4th graders. I think they got it and it allowed us to talk about serious life stuff.

We had to save Llenka for the next day, and I almost cut it because I felt I had enough to work with from the other two songs, but I'm so glad I went ahead and did another day of songs because it gave us more examples. (Ever not notice stuff until you are in the moment with your kids? That's totally how it was with this song.) The line "I'm a fool out of love" allowed us to discuss how just because the line says "I am" does not make it a metaphor.We also discussed whether or not "I'm just a little girl caught in the middle" was really a metaphor because she was comparing herself to another person. We decided yes and no.

What next? Now that my students understood and had good examples of simile, metaphor, and personification, they used our classroom poetry books to search for examples of their own. They recorded their work on this graphic organizer:


 Stay tuned for another poetry/language idea next week!

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