I was a creative writing and psychology major in college. (Would you like fries with that?) Needless to say, I had to go back to graduate school almost immediately to a acquire a marketable skill set. Nevertheless, my love of writing and of teaching writing has never waned. Teaching persuasive writing is my jam, but over the years, I have learned to love all of it. Loving poetry took me the longest.
This year, I had an epiphany. (It took me long enough.) Every year, I have covered similar material during my poetry unit regardless of what grade level I have taught. I was on autopilot. One evening as was planning my poetry study, I thought, “I really need to jazz things up. I’m bored with this”. I love Gallery Walks and I love Collaboration. How could I combine the two to deepen understanding of poetic elements?
I created a Poetic Elements Gallery Walk for my students (and, let’s be honest, for my Teachers Pay Teachers Store) that includes all of the elements they might need to understand in the upper elementary grades – figurative language, sensory images, the three Rs of poetry (rhythm, rhyme, repetition), vocabulary, author’s purpose, connections, and theme. Something was still missing. I really wanted this to be open ended and collaborative. In the past, I probably would have posted some poems on Google Classroom and had students read and respond on their own. How could I turn this into a Gallery Walk? Here’s where the epiphany comes in. I looked for mentor texts and created posters that I printed out, laminated, and posted around the classroom and in the hallway. Voila! I created a gallery just as I had envisioned.
My students were so engaged and they loved collaborating. They truly discussed the poetry at a high level. In addition, many of them scored advanced on the poetry post test (which, let’s face it, is an end goal whether we like it or not.)
If you’d like copies of the poems I used, please comment below and I will send you copies.
If you just want the bibliography, here it is!
Happy Poetry Month from me to you!