Friday, March 20, 2015

I'm Excited to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Happy Poetry Friday and Happy First Day of Spring!  We celebrate poetry all year but April is the time when we will engage in a Unit of Study on Poetry during writing workshop.  No need to find a time or a place to nudge poetry into our day.  We will have an hour to explore Poetry every day!

In my  third grade classroom I am looking forward to sharing a new book I discovered at one of my favorite independent bookstores.  Brilliant Books is located in Traverse City, MI and has small but thoughtful children's poetry section.  On my last visit I picked up a new book called,  A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas.  At first glance I thought it might be too young for third graders but boy I was wrong.  I LOVE this book.  It speaks to the poet and "wish-to-be-a poet" in all of us.

The end pages begin with what you might expect, pictures of pockets and little poems dangling from them.  The rest of the book is not what you would expect.  The story begins with a class preparing for a visit from the poet, Ms. Crane.  She will be arriving on "Poem in Your Pocket Day."  Their very smart teacher provides perfect opportunities for his students to learn about poetry.  They learn about similes,

 "Math is like a knot."said Tara. " One that we can untangle together," said Mr. Tiffin.

And metaphors, 

"Homework is a belt that's too tight," said Jake.

Their teacher shares poetry forms and takes the class for a walk outside.

"What do you see?" he asked.  "Use your poet's eyes."

All of the students share their ideas except for one very quiet little girl named Elinor.

"How about you Elinor? What does your poet's eye see?"

  Elinor wanted Ms. Crane to be impressed with her too.

"I'm still thinking," she said.

I know Elinors! You do too!  I have them in my class and in Poetry Club too.   Some of you may recognize a little bit of  Elinor in your own poetry self.  One of my favorite lines in the book is when Elinor says,

"This shell is too perfect to write about."

"Try again at home tonight," said Mr. Tiffin.  "And remember, poetry is a messy business."

I'm sure you can probably guess how the book unfolds. I will not give away the ending but I will tell you that Elinor does find her poet's voice.   At the end of the book, teachers will find a page with "Mr. Tiffin's Pointers."  My favorite pointer is, April is National Poetry Month, but poetry is year-round.

Ideas are percolating for celebrating poetry in April. Of course we will make poetry pockets.  I plan to invite students to collect poems to tuck poems into their friend's poetry pockets.  I'm also thinking about making poetry pockets for our Kindergarten Reading Buddies and encouraging the third graders to choose poems to tuck into their buddy's pocket.  I'll  make sure to share pictures of our projects.  On April 30 which is Poem in Your Pocket Day, I think we will carry poems in our pockets to read to friends and classmates throughout the day.  We'll take a walk outside, maybe down to the lake near our school to write.  There is also "the small brown bag with a surprise in it" activity Mr. Tiffins explores with his class. 

I wanted share this book early enough that poetry loving teachers might have time to purchase it for their April Poetry celebrations.  


  1. I bought this book last week but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Now I can't wait to share it with students. I'll be looking forward to reading more about your poetry projects. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm off to put that book in my shopping cart! I love finding new books that other teachers are excited about. Thanks for the share!

  3. I'm off to put that book in my shopping cart! I love finding new books that other teachers are excited about. Thanks for the share!

  4. I requested this book from the library. When I checked out books yesterday, it was supposed to be there. The librarian looked for it, couldn't find it, and requested it again. We're planning ways for our book club to celebrate poetry all month. I echo your excitement for April!

  5. How do I not know this book?!?!

  6. Sounds wonderful! And very thoughtful of you to share early enough for April planning.