Fishing Expedition for Poetry

May 11, 2012 by

I like to start my poetry units by first immersing students in free verse poetry books and encouraging them to name what they notice about this type of poetry.  Then I help them realize that poems are hiding everywhere by taking poetry walks around the classroom and outside of the school.  Early on in the unit—even before I have done minilessons on things like using line breaks, repetition, or metaphor—I have them try their hand at writing some poems of their own.  Most students jump right in and try it, but there are some that are hesitant and not quite sure where to start. I would like to share some strategies for helping students get their thoughts down in free verse poem form.  I encourage you to try this out with a poem of...

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The Teacher’s Writers Notebook...

Apr 18, 2012 by

If you are a writing teacher, I highly encourage you to keep a writer’s notebook.  Because I’m not much of a journal writer, keeping a writer’s notebook used to intimidate me, and it seemed like “one more thing” to put on my to-do list.  Then a few summers ago, I participated in the Oakland Writing Project which is affiliated with the National Writing Project.  For four weeks I had to live like a writer.  I had to keep a writer’s notebook, write some drafts, share them with my colleagues in a peer response group, and even publish a couple of pieces.  Guess what I found out?  I really enjoyed keeping a writer’s notebook and “living a writerly life” (as Ralph Fletcher would word it).  I vowed to continue adding to my notebook.  You can...

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