Workshop Wednesday: Nonfiction Animal Poetry

Welcome to Workshop Wednesday!!

Today, we are sharing how we teaching students to write poetry. We are having a lot of fun using informational texts about animals to write poems this week!

You might remember a couple of weeks ago when I shared how I used the book, Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved.

Well, you know how I like to use books over and over in my room. Nothing like a good mentor text! :o) So we are using it again as a model – this author writes her poems so that you learn about the animal when you read them! Here’s an example from the book:

I am using a fun unit from Pinkadots Elementary to teach this week:

This unit is amazing because everything you need is included!! There is even a sample you can use with your students if you don’t have the book, Vulture Verses. I got my students into five groups and gave them the informational sheets about the animals that are included in the unit. They were so excited to learn about animals that aren’t very well known here in Georgia!! (Panda, Jaguar, Beaver, Owl, and Zebra!) They eagerly read the information about their animal, marking the information they thought was most important. (We have been working on finding key information in nonfiction during Reading Workshop.)

Then, as a group, they started “trying out” some verses with each other for the poem. I am so impressed at what they got done, because we’ve really only just begun writing poetry! (Although we have read quite a bit this year.) Here are some examples of their poems- remember, we will be working on these all week, so these are just “rough drafts.” :o)

This group was working really hard on saying the panda is endangered without just “saying it.”
How about that alliteration!! This group was fascinated by the noises a beaver makes. Ha ha!
This student is very upset that zebras are hunted for their hide, so she said she wants to include that in her poem. She has a good start, I think!
This student seriously blew me away with his poem! He wanted to work alone because he had all these ideas that his group wasn’t listening to, so I let him. (Sometimes, you just have to do that, don’t you??) And I mean, WOW. I especially love how he said, “if you do see them, they won’t be in town.” So many kids are getting hung up on trying to give the EXACT fact- but instead of him trying to say they live in the wild or on African grasslands, he told that fact in his own way. :o)
So, what fun things do you do in your classroom to teach poetry?