You’ve got the whole month of April to celebrate National Poetry Month. We’ve got the poets for you to make it the most fun thirty days ever.
Sure, some of our poets act like they’re partial to Take Your Poet to Work Day. But really, they’re happy for any sort of attention. And they’re all ready for you to put to work in your classroom in a variety of fun formats:
• A special downloadable and printable coloring book, featuring our classic cut ‘n color collection, plus new poets this year that are especially geared towards kids:
• The entire Take Your Poet to Work collection, which features a fun cut ‘n color poet, a short poet bio, and a familiar (or not so familiar) quote from each poet):
The Haiku Masters
Edgar Allan Poe
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
• And don’t forget our downloadable and printable coloring page poems, featuring fun coloring pages with the poem or an excerpt including:
The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy
She Walks In Beauty by Lord Byron
Piano by D.H. Lawrence
The Tyger by William Blake
Meeting at Night by Robert Browning
The Dandelion by Vachel Lindsay
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman
The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens
Birches by Robert Frost
Brother Bruin by Christina Rossetti
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
Once you’ve selected your poet format, try some of these 10 fun teaching ideas to get your students engaged with the poets:
1. Poet mobile.
Get a hoop, a hanger, or even sticks from the yard. Attach strings and tie on your favorite cut ‘n color poets.
2. Poet timeline.
Secure a string or fishing line from one end of the room to another. Write historical events on cards and clip them to the string. Choose some of your favorite poets and add them at their proper junctures in history.
What kind of car would your favorite poet drive? Design a custom poetmobile for him or her. For instance, you could rev up your engine and make a sleek black “Raven” car with wings for Edgar Allan Poe. You get the idea.
4. Poet rap or memory-poems duel.
Stage an epic poet rap or memory-poems duel. Invite friends to the front of the class, dress as your favorite poets, let loose the words and may the best poet win.
5. Poet parade.
Put your favorite cut ‘n color poets on popsicle sticks and take them for a parade around the playground or to visit another classroom.
6. Poet garden.
If your school has a garden, or even a few potted plants in the classroom, make it a poet garden by tucking in your poets-on-a-stick.
7. Poets on Stage.
Hang a sheet over a string tied across the room (or make a small theater with a big box) and stage a poet puppet show with your cut ‘n color poets on popsicle sticks.
8. Poet on the Shelf.
All throughout National Poetry Month, make acceptable mischief with a favorite poet (Elf on the Shelf style). Each day, create a new scene with your poet. Take photos and post to Twitter or Instagram and we might feature! #poetontheshelf
9. Poet Secret Admirers.
Poets have often been known to write little (poetic) notes to their friends. Cut out poets and a favorite verse and leave them anonymously for your friends.
10. Poet-Themed Days.
For extra fun during National Poetry Month, plan a week of poet-themed days. Here are some examples, but you could make up your own:
Monday: Talk Like a Poet Day. Answer questions in iambic pentameter or 5-7-5 Haiku form. Choose a favorite poem word or phrase and find ways to change a word and insert it into conversation throughout the day. For example, Poe’s “Nevermore,” T.S. Eliot’s “Shall I eat a peach,” Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers” or even William Carlos Williams’s “This is just to say.”)
Tuesday: Poet on a T-Shirt Day. Using fabric paints, create a T-shirt design with your favorite poet or favorite poem line.
Wednesday: Poet in Your Math Book Day. Many poems reference math (and many poem forms require at least a basic understanding of math). Consider Carl Sandburg’s “How Much,” Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Ancient Astronomer” and Emily Dickinson’s “One day is there of the series.” To celebrate the intersection of poetry and math, print out your favorite poem or poet and tuck it into your math book for the day.
Thursday: Dress Like a Poet Day. Perhaps you’re fond of the Beat Poets’ black beret. Or, like Emily Dickinson, you find a simple white dress charming. Dress up like your favorite poet for the day.
Friday: Poet on a Notebook Day. Choose a poet and decorate the cover of a new notebook. (For extra fun all year, make that notebook a poetry journal, and copy a poem onto a blank page each day, or even write your own!)