April is National Poetry Month and when I first thought about writing a blog on poetryto celebrate this,my first thought was, “I don’t know that many rhyming words.” Then I realized, being a special education teacher by trade, I had never used poetry in my class like language arts teachers do. Finally, I flashed back to college where I had to analyze “The Rose” and failed miserably. At this point, panic had set in.
After taking a deep breath, I decided to think back to how I remember poetry as a kid, and I giggled. Remember this one?
I have a little frog.
His name was Tiny Tim.
I put him in the bathtub
to see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water
and gobbled up the soap!
And when he tried to talk
he had a bubble in his throat!
I recall there being a waiting list for any Shel Silverstein books in elementary school. Why? Because they are funny! Check them out! Here is one of my favorites:
Batty by Shel Silverstein
The baby bat screamed out in fright.
“Turn on the dark.
I’m afraid of the light.”
When I was little, my dad used to make up silly poems that invariably started with “Roses are red, violets are blue.” His graduation quote was a poem that always made me chuckle:
I never worry.
I never fret.
What I can’t remember,
I just forget!
Long poem short, poetry can be used for a ton of instructional activities. You can use them as an anticipatory set. Maybe you are teaching character analysis. Use “Casey at the Bat” to have your students design baseball cards with character features. You can use “O Captain, My Captain!” to teach metaphors or theme. Using poetry in the classroomcan be a way to get students writing or even reading more fluently. Take a look at this website for more ideas: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/materials-teachers
Teaching poetry (or writing about it) can be intimidating, but I would like to challenge you to use poetry simply to make your students laugh! Make them howl, roar, snicker or snort! I dare you! Here are some great ideas to get you started:
- Teach your students tongue twisters
- Have them read and then write rhyming riddles
- Use fill-in-the-blank poems like Mad Libs
- Let your students act out long, silly poems
- Check out http://www.gigglepoetry.com/
Let us know how you use poetry in your classroom! Bonus points for fun, silly ways to get your students giggling with poetry.
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