Sunday, December 21, 2014

Using Poetry in Kindergarten: Why It’s Awesome and How You Can Use it to Teach Everything

Hello friends! I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season. I’m SO excited to blog today! It’s becoming a rarity that I get time to myself to share ideas and creations with you. My two little boys take all of my time, but they are completely worth it!

Today I’d like to share how I used poetry in my kinder room and why I think every teacher should use it. I started using poetry because I found that a lot of my students couldn’t rhyme and when I would try and sing nursery rhymes with them, they had never heard of them. I remember growing up and learning nursery rhymes at home and it being a pretty common thing. Times are a changing because kids aren’t exposed to them as much anymore. Good or bad, it’s just how it is.

Knowing that my kids had not grown up with nursery rhymes I figured I should probably start there to give us a base. So I started teaching them, using one rhyme a week. Humpty Dumpty was always a favorite of mine, the kids love that silly rhyme. Now I bet you’re wondering how I fit it all in because we all have so much to cover in such little time, right? I would use the nursery rhyme as either my phonics/phonemic awareness lesson, sight word lesson or comprehension lesson, it just depended on what I needed to teach. That’s the beauty of using poetry, you can do anything with it. Here is an example of what it might look like in a week:

Shared Reading: Read aloud Humpty Dumpty (I always wrote the poem on sentence strips and placed in a pocket chart), model reading with rhythm, have kids listen to you sing the rhyme twice and ask them to chime in with you. Talk about the poem, what they visualize, what the poem sounds like, what does it remind them of? (In this shared reading activity I’m modeling fluent reading, I’m emphasizing rhyming words and then I’m strengthening comprehension by asking them to tell me what they visualize and make connections. I didn’t add pictures the first time we read the poem because I wanted them to visualize the poem first.)

Phonemic Awareness: Reread Humpty Dumpty for fun using choral or echo reading. Use purple highlighter tape to highlight the rhyming words. Ask students to help you identify the words that rhyme.

Sight Words: Reread Humpty Dumpty, emphasizing rhyming words (whisper the rhymes or say them with silly voices). Use yellow highlighter tape to highlight sight words for the week.

Phonics/Phonemic Awareness: Highlight some beginning sounds such as H and D. Have kids help you create a list of words that begin like Humpty and words that begin like Dumpty. What’s nice about this lesson is that you are teaching both phonics (beginning sounds) and phonemic awareness (alliteration).

Students get their own copy of Humpty Dumpty to place in poetry binders or poetry notebooks. They use purple crayon to highlight rhyming words and yellow to highlight sight words.

Another version of this is to send home a “poem in a bag” that students can have to practice retelling and singing the rhyme with their parents. If you send it home in a paper lunch sack with the poem on the outside and the retelling pieces on the inside, the kids don’t have to bring it back, easy peasy! (You could also use the poems in a bag for RTI!)

I truly feel that using poetry in my classroom everyday helped my kids to become strong, fluent readers. My personal belief is that poetry is so important in building prosody that it deserves more than just a few weeks a year, I think it should be a staple in all classrooms.

If you’re at a campus where kids can take home poetry binders on Friday to read to their parents and you know they will bring the binders back on Monday, you should totally try it! Your kids and parents will love them and it will give your kids that extra practice with familiar text that they need. If you’re at a campus where you won’t get the binders back, use the poems in a bag and it’s a win-win.

I created a nursery rhyme pack that includes 13 weeks of nursery rhymes, retelling pieces, pocket chart pieces, poems in a bag and more! You can view it here.

If you want a nice sampler check out the Humpty Dumpty unit here.

Do you use poetry in your classroom? What does it look like in your room?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, thank you so much for all the ideas! I'm going to go back and reread/pin for future reference. There's so much wonderful poetry out there and I agree that you can teach almost anything with it. Right now I use poetry for shared reading and as a "fix it" editing activity. I've been also using it for close reading, too. I'm off to go check out your packet - thanks again! Jen :)