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Is there any better way to wrap up a poetry unit than by publishing your students’ work in a class book? Going through the publishing process honors children’s journeys as writers and helps them to understand the stages of professional publication. Here are seven of our favorite ideas for writing and publishing student poetry—it’s the perfect way to celebrate National Poetry Month in April!
1. Try an anthology of acrostic name poems.
We love these acrostic name poems from Mrs. Haskin’s class at Thomas
Magnet School. Gathered together, they offer such a sweet and candid portrait of your students at their current age. This one is sure to become a treasured memento of the time they spent in your class!
2. Keep it simple by focusing on rhyming words.
The students in Mrs. Garcia and Ms. Martinez’s kindergarten class created this sweet and simple book by having each student write one sentence featuring rhyming words. The finished product is great for reading practice, too.
3. Take a deep dive into a poetic form.
Studying a particular poetic form is a great way into poetry for young writers. The added structure a form provides can be just the incentive needed to get going. Why not publish a book of the entire classes’s limericks, sonnets, or odes? Above, Ms. March’s, Ms. Jarbo’s, and Ms. Haughton’s classes took on the cinquain. Below, Mr. Cardoso’s class created a collection of animal-themed haiku.
4. Write an ode to the weather.
Mrs. Cannon’s first grade class focused on winter couplets, and it’s so fun to see students’ different interpretations of the season. If the weather is getting warmer in your neck of the woods, a book of springtime haiku would also be wonderful!
5. Challenge students to write simile-filled self-portraits.
“My nose is like a button.” “My eyes are as green as grass.” Mrs. Staggs had her first grade students write compelling self-portraits by following a simple frame of three descriptive similes followed by a metaphor about where the student lives.
6. Invite students to write concrete poetry.
Concrete poetry takes the shape of the subject of the poem. It’s a great choice for students who may be reluctant writers but LOVE to draw. Let your students get creative and draw a picture to accompany the poem they’ve written. Publish the artwork and poetry together in a professionally bound class book.
SOURCE: The Room Mom
7. Explore identity through “I am” poems.
Once they see a model, upper elementary and middle school students can’t help but gravitate toward writing their own “I am” poems. There are many examples online, but we love this example from Ms. Carillo’s class.
Plus, here are 4 tips for a smooth writing and publishing journey:
- Discuss the writing process.
Anyone who’s taught young writers knows that they often assume they are ready to publish as soon as they finish a first draft! Help guide their understanding of the writing process by talking about the steps published writers follow and keeping track of which step individual writers are on as they work on a creative piece. Before publishing, keep drafts and revisions in a writer’s notebook or folder. It helps to keep all stages of work in one place so that students can track their own progress through the writing process and see how their work evolves from draft to draft. Students can also use their notebooks to keep lists of ideas as well as handouts and notes from you.
- Involve students in choosing what to publish.
Students should feel that what they publish is a reflection of their best work, and their favorite pieces might not align with the ones you would have singled out. You might have students vote on a theme for your class book or ask them to star their favorite pieces of work in their writing journals.
- Don’t forget the details!
Things like a dedication, an About the Authors page, and an index help students feel like “real” authors, which is part of the magic of the publishing process. If students are publishing individual books, you might even have them write reviews for one another’s work.
- Host a poetry café.
Once you have your students’ poetry published, a poetry café is a fun way to celebrate the finished product! Invite families or other students in your school to your “café” to hear students read their work. A bistro sign, café tables, and snacks add to the atmosphere!
If you’re thinking about publishing student poetry, we love the ease and convenience of Studentreasures—all you have to do is order your free kit, get creative, and then publish your book! Best of all, it’s free to get a class copy of your book. Here’s the link to learn more, if you’re curious.