April is National Poetry Month, and there is no time of the year more perfect to dig deeper into the world of poetry than spring! I enjoy introducing, reading and playing with poetry with Early Kindergartners because they are very open to it and naturally like it! Poetry is an effective vehicle for teaching and developing skills in oral language, reading and writing.
We spent the beginning of the month diving in and getting inside a few select poems. One wonderful one we started with is Treesby Henry Behn. After reading this poem a few times, we wondered with the children about what they heard, what they noticed and even what they saw in their minds.
R.S.: They were beautiful words.
P.H.: When they said trees are not frightening, but sometimes they are.
R.S.: THey were beautiful words.
P.H.: When they said trees they are not frightening, but sometimes they are.
R.S.: What does a frightening look like?
P.H.: This tree with very very twisty branches.
S.P.: OH! I think I have seen that tree before.
R.S: The leaves for Halloween – that really happens.
P.H.: a calmer voice than usual.
R.S.: Everything was calmer and not very loud.
Teacher: How did that make you feel?
R.S: It’s sweet and its a bunch of cool words.
Then we began getting inside of various poems, noticing the movement, the beat and the actions that the words express. The children became calm trees, lazy cows and frisky kittens as they played with the descriptive language and mental images that poetry holds so well.
During our spotlight on poetry, not only do we read a lot of wonderful poems by published authors, we also enjoy poems written by kids, especially by former Early Kindergartners! As Regie Routman points out in her book, Kids' Poems: Teaching Kindergartners to Love Writing Poetry, "seeing and talking about poems written by other kindergartners sends an immediate, powerful message: poetry writing is fun, doable, and easy – for all students."
We began our journey into poetry writing by creating a poem as a whole class. The children were so excited to jump head first in this way of writing and playing with language. Together, we picked an important subject and began thinking and playing with the words and ideas that came to us. After we were done, we celebrated with our very first poem: We love the Arboretum!
We Love the Arboretum
Star Wars – shing, shing, shing;
Butterflies and faeries – la, la, la;
Baby birds – tweet, tweet, tweet;
Early K loves running down the hill!
After we were finished with our collaborative poem, the children were also ready to begin their own individual poems for they had so many important subjects that they wanted put into a poem.
Poetry has taken over in the Early K and we are all enjoying listening, writing and playing with this creative and fun genre. Enjoy a few of our first poems here: Download Poetry2!
And don't forget: keep a poem in your pocket and in your heart!