April is National Poetry Month and a great time to celebrate creative writing. Many people are intimidated by poetry, perhaps thinking it is too confusing, too deep, or too vague. I like to think of poetry as more of an "anything goes" style of writing. You can say what you want to say without worrying about formatting, complete sentences, or even if it makes sense. That's the fun of it. I try to convey this message to my students so they feel less intimidated by poetry. Poetry should be fun.
My love of poetry probably began as a child listening to my favorite
songs and tediously jotting down the lyrics (either by lifting the
needle of the record player or pushing "rewind" on the cassette over and
over again). I was in love with lyrics--the combination of words, often
rhyming, but not always.
But it was most likely my
junior year in high school when I really fell in love with poetry. I had
a teacher who encouraged creative writing and believed in me. (Thank
you, Mrs. Conrad!) I started a poetry journal, writing down every poem I
had scribbled in notebooks or on napkins. Looking back, my early poems are more lyrical, as I strained to make them rhyme. But my writing matured with age and in college, with the help of another fantastic teacher (Thank you, Dr. Herzig!), I let go of the lyrics and let my words be themselves, unburdened by rhyme schemes or formulas.
Having teachers who encouraged my own creative writing helped me understand reading poetry, as well. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to read what others were writing. And both activities led me to love poetry.
I do like to start my unit with song lyrics; knowing that most students love music, if they see their favorite lyrics being treated as poetry, it is much less intimidating. They aren't afraid to dissect or find poetic devices in their favorite songs.
As you celebrate poetry in your own classroom, remember to encourage your students and let them have fun with it. They may not always see the symbols, underlying themes, or know exactly how to write in iambic pentameter...and that's OK. Leave them with a positive experience so they won't be intimidated or reluctant to learn more about poetry later in life.
I was loving creating these little guys that I didn't want to stop. They are in various colors and styles and the package also includes frames and backgrounds with the owls already placed in there for you. Just insert it into your document or word processing, and start creating!
The art cannot be resold in another clip art package, but you may use these little fellas in any of your products for no additional cost (including your FREEBIES!).
Here are some additional thumbnails from the collection:
I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.