Activities for TeachingPoetry in the Content Areas Kathleen McKim Al Bayan Bilingual School
Activity 1: 5 minutes 4 poetry• Make an overhead transparency of the poem and enough copies for pairs to share.• Pass out copies and project the poem. Read it aloud twice.• Invite students to jot down an immediate response by noting words and phrases that popped into their minds as you read aloud.• Have students exchange thoughts with their partners, looking for connections.• If time permits, students use their notebooks to write down connections, issues or insights.
Why poetry?1. Poems bring a human element and a personal, often humorous touch to the topics you are studying, helping students retain info and vocab by giving vivid mental images that forge remembering connections (Robb, 2007).2. Poems are short and cut to the heart of the topic (Robb).3. Poems help students explore important issues in your content area, issues that extend beyond the classroom into their lives, communities, and the world (Robb).
Activity 2: “Inclined” to Acting• Divide the class into five groups.• Assign one stanza to each group.• Each group must memorize their stanza and determine a way to “act out” the machine being described.• Each group will then perform their stanza in the order of the poem, retelling the poem from beginning to end as a whole class.
Activity 3: Science Soundscapes• Assign one stanza for each small group.• Assign one person to read the stanza while the others brainstorm sounds to accompany the action in the stanza.• Lower the lighting in the room. Each group takes a position in a spot where they feel comfortable.• The teacher begins with a rain stick. Each group performs their stanza.
Activity 4: Shape Up with Math Poems• Read “What’s My Angle?” and point out that the poem is in the shape of an angle.• Have students create poems in the shapes of one of these: a trapezoid, a square, a rectangle, a circle, or a right or isosceles triangle.• First, brainstorm a list of ideas you can use. Then think-pair-share.• Draft a poem that describes the geometric shape you’ve chosen.
Activity 5: It Can’t Talk Back• Write a poem about something in science that can’t talk back, such as a cell, the moon, a bat, a black hole, a comet, or a giant squid.• These are called apostrophe poems.• Brainstorm a list of ideas from the point of view of the scientific thing you chose, then write your poem.