Beyond the Acrostic

Anyone else tired of reading acrostic poetry? It seems as if it is the only "poem" format that my students know and resort to again and again! There are so many other forms of poetry: haiku, cinquain, diamante, bio-poems; the list goes on!
And yes, while I like the ease of teaching a specific format, I really love free verse poetry. Students choose their topic and play around with their lettering and explore using white space on a page to create a mood.
Regie Routman is one of my educational gurus. She has been advocating for authentic literacy practices since I first started teaching. Many of her books, videos, and workshops are what have kept me grounded in my teaching practices. So of course, I was thrilled when she published Kids' Poems: Teaching Third and Fourth Graders to Love Writing Poetry. (She has also published Kids' Poems books for kindergarten, first and second grades!) From Amazon: "Regie Routman shares her delightful selection of free verse poems written by third-and fourth graders that will inspire your third-and fourth graders to think, I can write poems like this too! Regie provides strategies for using kids' poems as models to guide children to write poems about things they know and care about, from eating french fries to secret places and family trips. She describes the way she invites children to study the model poem, beginning by asking kids, What do you notice? She shows how she demonstrates the poetry-writng process to children: thinking aloud and drafting poems about her own life, and then inviting children to write on their own."
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Look how this student used capital letters and repetition to emphasize his emotions!
Using photos is another great way to elicit observations and descriptions. You can grab this set of tree photos HERE or by clicking on the photo below. Each photo is of the same tree, taken from different viewpoints.
Students naturally want to write about people, pets, and issues that are important to them. I love the humor and play on words this student uses, when writing about her dog:
And this student varies the font to emphasize how AWFUL she feels electronics are! Although not a popular viewpoint among my class, but WOW, what a powerful observation about kids and adults around her!

During National Poetry Month, everyone has to walk around with a poem in their pocket, to recite to each other on the playground, or in passing.  This student wanted to write her own poem, rather than carry a published poem and she even wrote it in rhyming verse!
Designate a tree as your class' poet-tree and have them hang poems to be read. (Okay, don't laugh at our wimpy tree; we had to be very gentle when tying on our poems!)
You can read more about teaching poetry HERE or HERE or by clicking on the titles below.
Click HERE or on the photo below to purchase a set of 24 close-up photos of nature: plants, leaves, flowers to inspire your students' creativity and wonderment.
For even more poetry fun & freebies, be sure to visit the blogs below! Happy National Poetry Month!
From top left image, clockwise:
Be sure to tune into We Teach so Hard, episode 32, where we share more poetry ideas!

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