National Poetry Month is celebrated in April to remind us that poetry matters. Poetry can offer solace during trying moments, and now might be the time to show our learners how that works. Below are some lesson ideas that might inspire learners to document their thoughts and feelings with poetry.
16 Words: William Carlos Williams & “The Red Wheelbarrow”
Are you familiar with the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams? I learned about this poem by reading 16 Words by Lisa Rogers and Chuck Groenink. This fascinating book is a real treasure, one that I highly recommend for your learning community. It’s a story about how Williams crafted “The Red Wheelbarrow.” Readers will discover how Williams turned his everyday observations into carefully worded poetry. He was a doctor who noticed the world around him as he walked to visit patients. He jotted his thoughts on paper between appointments and turned his notes into poetry during his off hours. A visit to one appointment in particular inspired him to write “The Red Wheelbarrow,” and this event is the focus of 16 Words.
There’s a quiet, calming tone to this book. The muted colors and the gentle pacing of the text welcome readers to take notice and look around. The story ends with the featured poem set in a landscape that highlights the verse.
Click here to watch author Lisa Rogers read her book at Wellesley Books. Invite learners to write their own 16-word poem about a significant object.
Here’s a 16-word poem I came up with while following Willams’s work:
so much depends on
compelling picture books
with evocative text and illustrations
to notice and wonder
Daniel Finds a Poem
You are going to love this video of author Micha Archer reading her book Daniel Finds a Poem. Archer invites viewers to act out key points in the story as she reads. Each action is part of a cumulative poem that Daniel presents to an audience at the end of the story.
Invite learners to use the sights, sounds, and textures around them to define the meaning of poetry. I created a worksheet to guide learners as they compose a definition. The link to the worksheet is located at the bottom of the Online Reading and Worksheets page of Library Lessons.
If you need more ideas on how to teach poetry online, read “30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month at Home or Online” on the Poets.org website. This is a fabulous website with so much to offer. I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletters. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can choose the newsletters you want sent to your e-mail.
How are you sharing poetry this month? I’d love to hear what you are doing! Please share in the comment box below.