Mother Goose rhymes, children's songs, handclap games and jump rope rhymes are a part of childhood. Without even realizing it, children are exposed to poetry.
In my classroom, I had a shelf of poetry books, mostly anthologies, that my students loved to read. Each day, I would read several poems aloud and every year a few would become favorites that the children would eventually know by heart.
As a classroom teacher, helping children find their inner poet was a year-long project. When I taught elementary school, every Friday was "Poetry Day". At the end of the year, the class put their poems together in chronological order and created their very own poetry book.
If you do not wish to make this a year long unit, you can incorporate different poetry forms during the month of March, which is National Poetry Month.
I Used to…But Now
About Me Poems
Parts of Speech
On a blank piece of 8 x 11 white computer paper, I drew ten lines on the bottom (holding the paper sideways). The top of the paper was for the child's illustration. This was our weekly "poetry paper."
If your budget allows, you can buy bulk packages of "blank books" for children to write their final copy of their poems.
For each lesson, I found poetry that fit the type I was teaching that day. For example, when teaching quatrains, I found poems that were quatrains or each verse was a quatrain. Each child would also have a copy of the poems so they could follow along. I would read them aloud and ask the children what they had in common.
We would discuss the rhyme scheme and then as a class, create that kind of poem together. Then, depending on the type of poem, the children either worked in groups or as individuals.
At their desks, the children would write a poem on scrap paper. When it was finished, we would edit their work together to make sure it was done in the correct form. Spelling was also checked at this time.
When I had approved the final copy, the children could take a piece of poetry paper and copy their poem and illustrate it.
Those who wanted to share their poems with the class could. When time was up, all of the poems were collected and stored away until our end of the year poetry publishing event in June.
The year-end event consisted of the children creating covers, writing an "About the Author" and finally putting them all together as a book for a published anthology of their own. Each child would then select their favorite poem and share it with the class.
This language arts unit be done with any grade level. Just adapt the ideas to make them age appropriate for your own students.