Poetry, Poetry, Poetry!

Two of my favorite things are poetry and Poetry Out Loud. However, I missed the deadline to sign up my school for the POL competition this year… They moved the date, and it was at the beginning of this semester… It’s a stressful time of year, but there are no excuses. I just missed the deadline.

Moving on.

Only one of my students (who is now a junior, and is also a student I have had since his 8th grade year) was really interested in the competition. So when my ineptitudes caught up with me, I told him of my discretion and then a light bulb went off. Eureka! I told him that I would arrange a day for him to come during 3rd hour to recite his poems as practice, since they’d be the only class that would be analyzing poetry at the time.

In my block class we are running out of time. I’ve had to cut out my two big poems, which we usually spend a week on and then write a paper over. Our unit is over poetry, theme, and symbol. I find it best to combine these units because poetry is easy to analyze for both symbol and theme. We finished sonnets on Friday and yesterday continued with two blank-verse poems, “The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and “Fairy-tale Logic” by AE Stalling. These are my POL student’s poems. He struggled with them last year at regionals, so this would be a perfect chance for him to recite them and get immediate feedback.

Yesterday I made copies of the poems that looked like this. I utilize all of the things we’ve been discussing for the past week on one, nice and neat little paper. We review imagery, symbolism, poetic devices, and tone. I use Tracee Orman’s Poetic Devices sheet, available with her “Roar” packet. (which I already used last week)

For the both the poems, it took a day and a half (a little over 2 hours) to analyze both of the poems and detail their meaning. You guys: they did all of the analyzing by themselves. I’ve never been so proud in my life. Granted, these poems are very straight forward, but just the same, I got amazing discussion and such deep, poetic themes from them. Very proud. I really enjoyed doing this together because it really got kids to understand the use of tones/moods within poetry. Not only were they analyzing the poem for it, but they get a chance to try and look for how it is HEARD in recitation. Light bulbs galore, if ya know what I mean.

My POL student came in today for his recitation and he did such an amazing job. My 3rd hour was so precise in interpretation and discussion afterwards. They gave great advice and discussed whether or not the reciter used appropriate tones in his recitation.

Teacher tears all over the place.

POL recommends classroom competitions, but I never have time. If you are participating in POL, please take the time! It’s good for the kids and it’s good for those who wish to recite. So proud of my kids!

How do you do poetry in your class?

MM

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