Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Practical Poetry

Poetry. Prose. Drama.  These words have been buzzing around in my head a lot lately as I work on lessons to address the CCGPS ELA standards.  I got to thinking about a book that has been on our shelf for a while now.... Practical Poetry: A Nonstandard Approach to Meeting Content-Area Standards, by Sara Holbrook.

This slim little gem contains a wealth of ideas about incorporating poetry into all subject areas.  Ms. Holbrook doesn't mean just reading poetry.  She proports that we should be writing it as well. She makes a convincing case for poetry.  Here are just a few of her reasons:

Writing poetry jogs the memory. 
Writing poetry demands keen observation. 
Writing poetry requires precise language. 
Writing and performing poetry stimulates good communication skills. 
Writing poetry encourages good organizational skills. 
Writing poetry encourages reading fluency.
Writing poetry helps us learn about ourselves and our world.
Poetry- written, spoken, or read- is powerful language.

She had me "at hello." After reading just a a chapter and a half, I was ready to jump in.  I skimmed my fourth grade language standards, waiting for a standard to jump out at me. This is what caught my eye:

ELACC4L4b. Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).

I checked my handy-dandy teacher checklist, and chose a root word.  The star of my poem is the prefix  hyper.

Hyper: over, beyond, above.
Hyper is fast.
Conscientious, keen,
Stealthy, and sharp.
The pep in your step,
The chill in the air.

Hyper is not smooth.
Nor is it graceful, or elegant,
Full of swagger.
It is the opposite of a nap
In the hammock in the shade
Of an oak tree.

Even though this is poetry, and poetry is nowhere to be found in our writing standards, I believe this can count as informational writing.  I also think that if we asked students to write a root word poem a week, the meanings would surely stick with them, thus enhancing their ability to make meaning from seemingly unfamiliar words. What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment