The editor of The Poetry of US and former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, admits that, of course, this collection leaves some things out. It’s a big county! But that’s where your students come in. Let them have a say about their country or their neighborhood in a poem of their own. First, read aloud a variety of the poems from The Poetry of US and get them thinking about what the poems show them. Then get them writing in any poetic form they choose about a place special to them—where they live or a place they’ve visited. Get them to share their poetry by having students:
How is a poem about a place different than a story about a place? What are some differences between the way stories and poems look and sound?
Tell about a place that inspires you. What are some of the special things you’ve noticed about that place?
When you listen to a poem, how does the picture in your mind look compared to the photograph in the book?
Close your eyes and think of a place. What do you see, hear, and smell? What is happening there? How do you feel? Draw the picture you have in your mind and then explain it to a partner.
Poetry Atlas maps poems written about anywhere and everywhere
Bringing Poetry to the Classroom from NEA
Colorin Colorado offers advice and ideas for Writing Poetry with English Language Learners
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