|Host a poetry cafe this winter!|
For me, January through March seems to be the hardest part of the school year to get through. The students are either restless (or just plain tired), the weather is always cruddy (I live in the Midwest), and there's really no holiday breaks to look forward to. (Not that I don't love my job, but you know what I mean...)
To break up the monotonous routine and get students excited for literature, my colleagues and I have put on "poetry cafes." The students all gather during their English class period in the media center and take turns sharing their favorite poems, songs, and other literature. Some of them share their own original poems, others read old favorites. The Foods classes make coffee, cocoa, and treats to sell and our librarian put together packages of books, writing journals, candy, and gift cards to give away toward the end of each class period. Every student who reads aloud is given a raffle ticket. Each class period we drew several tickets for the prizes. It has always been a favorite event of students in English classes.
It is important to give students time BEFORE the cafe to actually write some original poems. I like to use my Write Like Poets activities with my students because every single student in my class ends up with an entire book of poems they have written. Yes, it gets even the most stubborn "I hate writing and I'm never going to write a poem" students to actually write poems. Guaranteed!
You can easily host a poetry cafe in your own classroom before doing a school-wide event. We tend to do the school-wide cafe every-other year or once every three years. During those off-years I host my own in my English classes. We move all the desks out of the way and have pillows and beanbags so students can relax on the floor (I do have carpet). Then I put up holiday lights. Students sign-up ahead of time to bring goodies and bring their own beverage. I usually pick up small gifts of pens and journals/notebooks from Target's $1 spot.
|Find clearance items in the school supplies section for door or raffle prizes.|
This past fall I found some great magnetic poetry kits at WalMart for 50¢ each. They were 75% off from their back-to-school sale. I also picked up some locker white-board kits, cute post-it notes, and locker fresheners. It's so much easier to find things the girls would like, but the boys seem to like anything they could use in their car. Of course, candy always works for them, too. (I teach high school, so if you have any suggestions for other things that boys would like, please share!).
Do you host a poetry cafe? Share your ideas or a link in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!
For more information on my Write Like Poets, click below: