Poetry 180

This website is a resource for teachers in CURR438!  It includes ideas for incorporating poetry in our classroom's throughout the year, rather than just in one isolated unit.  This practice was emphasized in our class discussions and textbook reading from Nancy Anderson.  Here are some other examples of scholars who recommend incorporating poetry year round as well as in multiple content areas.  Suggestions for specific content areas can be found through links from this homepage.  


Annotated Articles:


Bolden, B. (2009). Body parts, the water cycle, plants, and dolphins: Adventures in primary-grade

whole-class composing. General Music Today, 22(3), 8-13. Retrieved from ERIC database as full-text html.

This article describes a music teacher’s inclusion of poetry and song composing with primary grade students.  He had students brainstorm a topic they were learning about in another content area, then they generated a list of nouns and verbs to include in a short poem.  Students created the poem as a group, making suggestions and building off of one another’s ideas, and finally voting on the best version.  The author emphasizes the importance of respecting all students’ ideas throughout the process. Though these poems were only four lines, and we also set to music, the idea of generating poems as a class could be expanded in many other ways.  It would be great to collaborate with other teachers to make this project cross-curricular. 


 Brountas, M. (1995). The versatility of poetry. Teaching PreK-8, 25(6), 40-42. Retrieved from ERIC database in html and pdf.

Brountas writes about her experiences teaching poetry to second grade students, though she writes in a way that can be generalized to other primary grade levels.  She highlights the benefits of poetry for children, such as giving them a model of language use to "borrow" as they begin writing, and the accessibility of some poetry texts for emergent readers due to repetitive, predictable language.  She also shares an example of incorporating poetry in math and science contents (symmetry).  A list of poems she uses in her classroom, arranged chronologically is included at the end of the article.  She chooses poems that can relate seasonally, and to curricular content.  


Wilfong, L. (2008). Building fluency, word-recognition ability, and confidence in struggling readers: The

Poetry Academy. Reading Teacher, 62(1), 4-13. Retrieved from ERIC database as pdf.


This as a fantastic research article describing the benefits that third grade students in this study showed after participating in the Poetry Academy.  The Poetry Academy is a way for students to engage in repeated readings and extend home-school involvement through poetry.  Poems may be a good text because they are generally shorter than other full texts, and they can be fun to read.  The Poetry Academy in this study had six community volunteers who interacted with struggling readers by introducing one new poem a week.  (The instructional cycle is described here and illustrated below.) The volunteer first models, then engages in assisted reading activities, and allowsthe student to do a repeated reading in about a ten minute session.  The students brought the poems home to read to family members and other listeners, and then were invited to perform a favorite poem at a Poetry Café.  Over the course of a few months, these students showed impressive gains in their test scores for reading fluency, word identification, and retellings.  Through qualitative data, the researcher also concluded that parent involvement and student confidence and motivation increased.  This concept is exciting for educators hoping to use different methods of intervention for struggling students, or looking for good community and home-school connections. 


 The Poetry Cycle





Recommended Resources:

 The Poetry Zone

The Poetry Zone


This website is intended for use by older elementary or middle school students, though there is a section specifically for teachers.  If offers examples of poems and contests for students to submit poetry, tips for writing poetry and recommended books.  The best section is the page of video-poems shared through you-tube.  It would be a great way to introduce and model this type of project in a classroom!





 Poetry Across the Curriculum

This is a blog post about non-fiction poems.  The post itself is not especially useful, except for encouraging the use of non-fiction poetry, but there are many links to other useful information on this site, such as book lists for students, articles for teachers, and especially links to other blogs.  


Poetry for Kids by  author Ken Nesbitt


This website is made for kids!  The best features are the "games" with poetry terms and skills, a rhyming dictionary, posting and discussing poems with other kids, and poem writing contests.  The book recommendations are of course a biased, but still may be motivating for children who enjoy the website!  



Assessing Your Classroom/Library's Poetry Collection

These questions have good tips for encouraging poetry throughout the year in the classroom and school library.  

Questions from: Vardell, S. (2006). Don't stop with Mother Goose: Making a case for vibrant, well-stocked poetry collections. School Library Journal, 52(4), 40.

  • Are the poetry books as easy to find as the fiction and nonfiction?
  • Are the poetry books in a child-friendly location, easily reachable, with the area well labeled and quickly identified?
  • Do poetry posters and poetry book displays invite children to browse through poetry even if they're not immediately seeking it out?
  • Do you have special plans for National Poetry Month and Young People's Poetry Week?
  • Are some poetry books displayed face out?
  • Is there room on the poetry shelves for expansion?
  • Are the poetry books on the shelf current?
  • Are the poetry award winners represented and highlighted?
  • Do you actively seek out poetry books from diverse perspectives?
  • Are there multiple copies of the most current and popular poetry titles?
  • Do you mention children's poetry choices when general subject requests come up?
  • Do you include children's poetry books on your recommended reading lists and bibliographies?
  • Do you feature children's poets in displays, materials and booktalks?
  • Do you incorporate poems for children alongside your storytimes and read alouds?
  • Do you provide opportunities for children to participate actively in the choral reading performance of poetry?


Poetry 180 with Billy Collins and the Library of Congress

The poems in this collection are intended for high schoolers, but there are some good ideas on this site.  For example, the page about how to read poetry out loud and its benefits for students would be very useful!


Poetry Splatter!  


A fun game for students where they experiment with choosing different words to fill in the blanks.  Sample poems are grouped by age-level.  I like how the different spaces are color-coded.  I think it would be motivating for reluctant readers and writers.