Last Updated on April 2, 2021 by Laura
April is National Poetry Month, so of course it’s a great time for some poetry activities in your school library. I really love to take advantage of these types of themes to create fun events in the library. Many classroom teachers do poetry units in April, so that makes it a collaboration opportunity too. Using Poetry Month activities in your school library is a win-win all around! Let’s look at some poetry activities that you can use in any teaching situation, whether in person or distance learning.
Poem in Your Pocket
I just found out that there is an official Poem in Your Pocket Day, sponsored by The American Academy of Poets. But we’ve been celebrating it for years in my schools, usually just on a day that fits with our reading or poetry celebrations! It’s such an easy and fun activity that’s sure to get a high level of engagement in your school. Ask everyone to bring a poem to school in their pocket. Be sure to give students and teachers a chance to share their poems. Share poems on the morning announcements, in the lunch room, on the playground, in classrooms, and (of course!) in the library. I like to wear my overalls and bring a different poem in each of the 8 pockets!
Emily Arrow has a fun Poem in Your Pocket song that you can share in your library classes. Soon everyone will be singing along and taking their poems out of their pockets to share! If you are teaching virtually, have a live event where students can share poems in your online classroom.
Share Poems on FlipGrid
Last year when we were learning from home, I created a FlipGrid topic where students and teachers could share favorite poems. My library assistant and I used Microsoft Teams to record a video of the two of us reading poems from one of Mary Ann Hoberman’s You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You books. We linked to that video in the topic description and invited everyone in our school community to record themselves reading a poem they liked. This is a great community building activity that can be used whether you are having in person classes or doing distance learning. If you’re in a hybrid situation, it’s a fun way to unite your students too.
Online Poetry Websites
There are several websites that offer collections of poems and have poetry activities for kids. Online poetry activity resources are helpful whether you are distance learning, teaching in person, or hybrid learning.
- Shel Silverstein Poems: Harper Collins has a great page with 21 of Silverstein’s poems. His print books are always a hit in my library. These online poems can spread the fun even more!
- Shel Silverstein Books on YouTube: This channel has several recordings of the author reading his poems. Use them as examples of using expression to make poetry come alive.
- Poems for Kids: The American Academy of Poets has some great resources linked on their kids’ page. Since they’re organized into topics, students are sure to find something they like! For more ideas, check out their Materials for Teachers page as well.
- Poetry 4 Kids: Former Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt has a fantastic website which includes fun poems, poetry activities, and even some poetry writing lessons.
Book Spine Poetry
Book Spine Poetry is a fun, engaging way to get your students to create poems. This kind of poetry activity can be less intimidating, because students “find” their poem rather than writing it from scratch. I start my Book Spine Poetry lesson with a slideshow of book stack poems that have been created in previous years. Pull a selection of books with interesting titles to keep on a cart all week for students to use for their poems. I give them a planning page for writing the poem, but I really like to let them take a photo of the book stack. It’s fun to print the pictures for a bulletin board display. Kenn Nesbitt has a great lesson plan for book spine poetry with a couple of examples that can inspire students as well.
Students learning from home can create book spine poetry too. They can gather books they have on hand at home for their creations. Or you can provide a list of interesting book titles for them to consider. Then they can share photos or written poems in your online classroom or on FlipGrid.
Done for You Poetry Month Activities
If you’re looking for a low-prep poetry month activity that you can do with all of your classes, I can help! Try this Book Spine Poetry Bulletin Board Kit. It has EVERYTHING you need for a fun poetry lesson in your library, including my slideshow of examples to inspire your students. Have fun and create a great bulletin board display to get your school community reading, writing, and talking about poetry!
However you celebrate, enjoy National Poetry Month! If you have a fun activity that your students love, please share it with us in the comments!
Be the light!