Poetry Resources for Elementary Teachers and Homeschoolers (Writing Poetry with Children)

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Elementary teachers like me love teaching children to write poetry because it’s so accessible — poems are short! The payoff is more immediate than with longer narrative or expository writing. Plus, poetry lends itself to teaching kids about figurative language, voice, sensory images, showing not telling, and more.

Here you’ll find teaching book resources plus lesson plans perfect for elementary teachers and homeschoolers.

 

Conditions for real writing:
1) Personal (choice)
2) Interpersonal (social)
3) Time/space to do quality work
4) Pay-off (purpose/feedback) –  Ralph Fletcher

Poetry Resources for Elementary Teachers and Homeschoolers (Writing Poetry with Children)

Favorite How to Teach Poetry Books for Teachers

Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle SchoolAwakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle SchoolFor the Good of the Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry (Heinemann/Cassell Language & Literacy S)For the Good of the Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry (Heinemann/Cassell Language & Literacy S)Kids' Poems (Grades K)Kids’ Poems (Grades K)Kids' Poems (Grades 1)Kids’ Poems (Grades 1)Kids' Poems (Grades 2)Kids’ Poems (Grades 2)Kids' Poems (Grades 3-4)Kids’ Poems (Grades 3-4)Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside OutPoetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside OutWishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write PoetryWishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry

 

Awakening the Heart & For the Good of the Earth and Sun by Georgia Heard
These are essential to any elementary teacher’s library. Heard, a poet herself, skillfully guides teachers on how to teach poetry from heart mapping to get ideas to conferring to grow writers.

Kid Poems (Kindergarten)Kids’ Poems (Grade 1), Kid Poems (Grade 2) by Regie Routman
You are going to LOVE these books — they are easy to follow and give excellent lesson plans and activities that are appropriate for each grade level.

Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher
Fletcher is one of my favorite authors for teaching writing. This book on teaching poetry helps teachers understand and embrace poetry.

Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry by Kenneth Koch and Ron Padgett
This book describes Koch’s classroom experience teaching poetry. It’s filled with less how-to lessons but is inspiring and helpful none the less.

Favorite Fiction Books that Celebrate Poetry

You’ll fall in love Otto, a book-loving owl who teaches his owl and mice friends the beauty of sharing poetry. Beautiful!

Poetree
 by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani
This is a gentle picture book story celebrating poetry, nature, and friendship with soft, muted illustrations. When Sylvia ties her newly written spring poem onto a birch tree at the park, she finds a new poem left for her the next day. Excited, she writes spontaneous poems and dreams in rhymes, all the while trading poems back and forth with a mysterious poet. Soon, she’ll learn that she has a new friend, a poet just like her.

Love that Dog 
by Sharon Creech
This is my favorite novel in verse about poetry! Love That Dog by Sharon Creech is written from the perspective of a boy who is NOT enthusiastic about his teacher’s poetry unit. He hates it. But that eventually changes…  I can’t say enough about the incredible character arc and how Creech exquisitely crafts a book that captures the importance of self-expression through poetry.

Poetry Resources for Teachers and Homeschoolers

Preschool

Why I Read Poetry to My Toddler by Robin Merrill

Early Elementary Lesson Plans

Hidden Message Poems
To encourage a reluctant writer, we turned our poetry into artwork. We made it even more special by hiding our poetry inside the picture using a fun technique, watercolor resist.

Illustrate a Poem
Introducing poetry to my kids didn’t go exactly like I planned. My kids weren’t loving the poems or even understanding what they were reading. So I needed a way to unlock poetry for my kids — and we found that illustrating a poem helps discover the meaning.

Onomatopoeia Poems
Get your kids jazzed about poetry during Poetry Month. A great way is write about something edible — like popcorn – and work on one or more poetic elements. I like to teach repetition, onomatopoeia, and use of white space with popcorn.

Found Poems
Reuse your old magazines and create found poetry from the words you find on the pages. Found poetry means you’re first going on a treasure hunt for wonderful words and phrases. Then, you can use those words and phrases to write a poem. In this case, it’s collaging together the words you’ve discovered to make a poem.

List Poems
Kids can easily write a list poem using their powers of observation. First, have them look around and write a list of words down the side of their paper.

Riddle Poems / Five Senses Poetry
Kids love reading and writing riddle poems. Riddles often give wonderful sensory details and describe something a child knows about. Plus, they encourage critical thinking and engagement in poetry.

Wordless Picture Book Poems
Use a wordless picture book (big list of wordless picture books here) to inspire a poem!

Nature Poems
Take paper and pencils on a nature walk. Put on your imaginary “Poet Glasses”. Look for the poems in the grass, in the bark of trees, in the smallest petal of a flower.

Upper Elementary Lesson Plans

Daily Poems  (+ A Poem In Your Pocket Day)
For National Poetry Month or any time of the year, read poems daily to your kids. It doesn’t have to be poetry specifically written for kids either.

How to Find a Poem (Idea)
Kenn Nesbitt, poet and founder of Poetry for Kids, shares where kids can find ideas for what to write about.

Illustrate a Poem
Often illustrating a poem helps discover the meaning beneath the words.

Memorize a Poem for National Poetry Month
Since it’s National Poetry Month, memorize a poem — and have our kids memorize one, too. It’s so rich to have those words hanging around our brains.

Riddle Poems / Five Senses Poetry
Kids love reading and writing riddle poems. Riddles often give wonderful sensory details and describe something a child knows about. Plus, they encourage critical thinking and engagement in poetry.

Haiku
Bob Raczka shares a step-by-step process for writing a haiku poem.

High School Resources

Get Lit Spoken Word Poetry for Teens
Get Lit is an LA.-based initiative created by Diane Luby Lane that uses poetry, reading, writing, and spoken word, to inspire teens to reengage with their lives and education. The Get Lit Rising book is profound, sharing the stories of 19 individual teen poets, the classic poem that inspired them, and their response poems.

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