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Poetry Notebooks

Compiled By: luv2teach2005

Here are some ideas of ways to use poetry notebooks in your primary elementary classroom. They have helped me, and I hope they do the same for you!

Posted by: superteach113

I do a poetry notebook as one of my workstation rotations. First time at the station, he children paste the poem into their notebook, then illustrate it. I use a spiral notebook. Some teachers at my school copy the poem on a sheet of paper then put it into a three prong folder. But the same procedure is used. Second time at the poetry station, the children read poetry books that I have at the station or use my pointer to read the poem of the week together.

I gather poems from the internet and books that I have trying to match them to the theme we are studying in class that week. We read the poem together each day.

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Posted by: biyubelle

I use a three prong folder. I insert a title page, a table of contents with about 50 blank entry lines, a blank page, and the first four poems with pages numbered 1-4. (I have already entered the first four poems on the table of contents page.)

After the first four poems, I copy and hole-punch each poem. The students enter the poem title and page in the table of contents and put the page number on the new poem page before inserting it into the folder. (This initiates my work on the skills related to tables of contents.)

I have used the folder for choral reading, guided reading, and shared reading. The poem I add depends upon what I want to teach. I have used the poems for phonics work, vocabulary development, structural analysis, concept development, comprehension skills, etc.

When the lesson is completed, the children get a chance to illustrate the poem on the blank facing page. It gives me another opportunity to check understanding. (BTW, don't let the students use markers to illustrate the poems. The illustration bleeds through to the poem side.)

I have found this to be the easiest way to maintain a poetry "notebook."

I hope this is the info you were looking for.

P.S. I use to use the notebook, but got tired of pages sticking together and glue oozing over the sides.

Try these sites:

For phonics work try
Phonics through Poetry by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

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Poetry Notebook
Posted by: HailGail

I love using poetry notebooks with first grade. I have my children bring a 1 inch 3 ring binder. By the end of the year, we have well over 100 poems in the notebook. I use a scholastic publication that uses sight words in poems and use these as the words come up in our reading material. I use thematic poems for every subject and some classics. I get my poems on line by googling mostly.

It takes a bit of work to train the kids how to number and insert the poems in the notebook, but they do get proficient.

I read it line by line and they repeat. I then read it and leave out words for them to fill in. I emphasize one to one correspondence as we read along for those who are struggling with it. I introduce the poem and we read and reread it during the day. The children illustrate them and place into their notebook. The notebook stays in their desk but goes home every Friday as their weekend homework.

When we have reading buddies with the 6th graders, the children often choose to read from their notebook. Some of those 6th graders will say, "Oh I remember this one from when I was in first grade!" The best thing was when I got to write a dedication page for a poetry notebook that a parent was having professionally bound for her daughter! She had read and reread it so much that the pages were coming out of the notebook. So it became a Christmas gift one year.

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Posted by: Mrs.Baird

i do a poetry notebook as well. my students loved them so much this year, that i made them nice ones to take home for their end of the year gift. i did three pronged folders this year, but next year i think i will use small binders. many of their folders tore up and had to be replaced sometime during the year.

each week i have a special poem that we read every morning for a shared reading activitiy. i have a big copy on sentence strips in my pocket chart poem. on mondays i give them a copy of the poem for them to put in their notebooks. each day we do something special with the poem. has awesome pocket chart highlighter strips that we use each morning. this is what we do:

on mondays- i introduce the poem, we use our strategies to read it, discuss it, etc. then we have special sight words for the week that we highlight in green (on the pocket chart, and they also use a marker or crayon to do it in their notebooks). then we choral read the poem.

on tuesdays- we highlight the rhyming words with orange. then we read the poem with the rhythm and clap it out.

on wednesdays- we highlight the nouns in blue, and then we echo read the poem by teams, gender, etc.

on thursdays- we highlight verbs in pink, and echo read. then they have a little bit of time to illustrate the poem in their books.

on fridays- we buddy read the poem.

also, during station time all throughout the week there is a station they use the notebooks at. they can read it together at the buddy reading station. there is also a pocket chart station where it has all of the previous poems on sentence strips and they put them together in the pocket chart, with a partner and then they can read it and highlight the different parts of the poem.

there is so much you can do with these notebooks, i think they're so much fun. you can also add songs or other favorite things to make it even more meaningful. have fun!!!

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Poetry notebooks
Posted by: liketeaching1

This year I moved from a folder to using the black/white composition books. They worked out so much better. There were lines that we could write on if we were looking for certain word families, etc. Also, I let the kids illustrate the poem. They kept their books in their bookshelf baskets that each child used during RW independent reading. They loved them!

Mrs. Baird has some wonderful ideas that I will incorporate also.

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Poetry notebooks
Posted by: laceyl

I have been doing poetry folders for a couple of years now and I prefer the 1 inch 3 ring notebook. It's easy for the students to put the poems in as long as you demonstrate how to not pinch their fingers.
The students really love reading them - during the daily 5 when they read to a partner they get their poetry notebooks before their book bags. My daughter who is now in second grade still gets her poetry notebook out and enjoys reading them to me.

I love the table of contents idea and finding the different parts of speech. Can't wait to use them next year.:)

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poem ideas
Posted by: IloveK

I used composition notebooks this year for mine and found them to be very durable. I waited until the week before school started and got them at Wal Mart for fifty cents each.

We glued in a new poem each week, colored our mental images on the page across from it, and each day we looked for something in our poem (chunks, compound words, contractions, rhyming words) and colored it a specific color. They loved it! Each day we would switch the groups that read the poem. For instance it might be whole group, then boys and girls, each seat group, girls and boys alternating lines. It makes it more fun to switch it up I think.

I think part of the success is to use poems that are enjoyable for a first grader to read and relate to. I used a few academic poems, but mostly I tried to use fun ones that they would enjoy reading, and would want to read again and again. is a great website to use for poems. They have many and they are organized very well.

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our poetry notebooks
Posted by: charya824

I prefer using the composition notebooks. The kids decorate the cover and then I put contact paper over it. These are really durable. They use scotch tape on the four corners of the poem and put it on the left side. Then on the right side, they can draw. Later in the year, they can write a response, or do their own version of the poem. They keep these in their reading boxes, along with their leveled books, Time for Kids/Scholastic News, "look books", reading folder/binder, etc.

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Posted by: jerzgirl

I've done both, and the cut and paste works for me. The folder was difficult for them to manage and time-consuming. With the notebooks, I also would have the kids write responses, make connections, write favorite words in the poem, etc. (not for every poem, but many) They would use the page on the left to illustrate the poem, visualizing. When I type the poem up, I can usually get four on a page, depending on poem length, and I use the paper cutter to cut them, so that really all the kids have to do is glue-much faster and no trash.

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Posted by: K/1 Teacher

I use folders with the prongs. At the beginning of the year I put those clear page protectors in each child's poetry folder. Then each time they have a new poem that's ready to go into the folder, I place it into the sleeve. Some first graders can do this themselves, but it's a little difficult. I don't mind spending the time doing it for them, though. It becomes their favorite thing to read and is very durable. They read them each day during reading workshop, hey bring them home often to reread poems and bring them home at the end of the year.

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composition books
Posted by: summertime

I use the black and white composition books. Paste on the left and illustrate on the right. This book holds up and the kids love to read it and are so proud to take it home at the end of the year.

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poetry binders
Posted by: teacherdani21

I would have them paste the poem into notebooks rather than having them copy the poem. First graders are still developing fine motor skills and their hands get tired pretty quickly. If it is a shorter poem, you could have them copy it, but what is the purpose?

I am using poetry binders, so they will just put the poem in their binder, circle word wall words, end marks, capital letters, rhyming words, etc. They will then illustrate the poem on the back. If time, they can recontruct it in the pocket chart and read it to or with their center partner. Their poetry binders will stay in their book boxes so they can also read them during reader's workshop. :)

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Poetry Folders
Posted by: MalibuBarbie

I have a bunch of thematic and seasonal poems on charts! I illustrate them (sometimes with colorful clip art that I glue stick on, sometimes I let kids illustrate, sometimes I draw the pictures myself--horrors!) then laminate.

I type the poems, (and save them in my .docs in a file called Month by Month--which has files for each month--and each month can have files...October might have file folders for poems about nocturnal animals, pumpkins, Halloween. How's that for organization? EZ to find!) print them for the kids and three hole punch them before handing them out.

As far as organization...
In the past, I've taught the kids how to put them into duo tang folders--that are starting to be on sale! I saw them for 10 cents a piece this week at K-Mart. I always load up on a bunch of colors. CHEAP and boy, do they ever come in handy--for Writer's Workshop or Scrolling (Everyday Math), Poetry Folder, and Learning Logs.

This past year, we ended up with SO MANY poems, I decided to move the poems into the three ring binder I had everyone purchase at the beginning of the year. It was supposed to be for their writers workshop writing but that didn't work for me. One year, we had TWO duo tang folders for poems. The kids knew that their first folder--the red one--had poems from the beginning of the year up through the holidays. In January they got a purple folder and we started out with winter and penguin poems. They knew where to find specific poems!

When you type them, use a large, ez to read font. I try to use poems that are no more than about 8 or 10 lines. Since I have these poems on big charts in the classroom, longer poems won't fit and, like you said, kids can have trouble with the fluency aspect.

As far as when to "do" poetry folders...that's something you can experiment with. Many teachers do a poem of the week...teach conventions of print and high frequency words, etc. all week then hand out the poem for the kids to illustrate and add to their folder on Friday.

Personally, I will read (sing! Many are songs!!! That REALLY helps with fluency and confidence for your non-readers) the poems on charts with the kids for a couple weeks. Then I'll hand out about 5 or 6 poems at one time for the kids to read, illustrate and add to their folders.

Be sure if any kids are absent that day, that you have your teacher's helper (one of our classroom "jobs") get out their poetry folders and add the poems. As kids finish illustrating, they can go back and read all the poems.

Something else I've had the kids do is use a highlighter to highlight high frequency words or words they know how to read. This is something you'll really have to think through--kids might start highlighting every single word! You don't want that--and you don't want them going back and forth, back and forth with a highlighter over a word because it makes a hole!

You might model with the poem on the overhead--or use your laminated poem on chart with highlighter tape. Have them locate word wall words in the poem to start with. If easy words like MOM, DAD, STOP, GO, LOVE, PIZZA show up, you might want to have them highlight those words, too!

Oh--I just thought of something else we do! We have fifth grade buddies who come to read to us for about 1/2 hour each week. Once we get a few poems under our belts, I have my kids SURPRISE their buddies one day by READING TO THEM from their poetry folders. The kids are so proud. Then, as we get going with Guided Reading/Reading Workshop, the kids have books to read to their buddies, too. But it's fun to see my first graders get their poetry folders out all year long and share the new poems with their buddies. I'm starting to get former students as buddies so it's fun for them to hear the old poems we did when they were in first grade!

If you make a list of things kids can do when they complete their work, be sure to add "Read from your Poetry Folder".

You can't go wrong with poetry folders and you don't have to start with a certain routine and keep it all year long if it doesn't work. Poetry folders are, from my experience, very flexible and WORTH IT!!!

If you do Units of Study (Lucy Calkins' Writer's Workshop), be sure to include non-rhyming poems in your Poetry folders. Kids need to be familiar with poems that don't rhyme because that's basically what they will be writing when you get to that unit.

Have fun! :s)

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Poetry Notebooks
Posted by: HailGail

I love using my poetry notebooks. I most often use poems that support the theme I'm teaching. If we are in the farm unit, I will type out (or cut and paste from websites) poems like Take me out to the Barnyard and Lots of Animals Come From Eggs. I pass them out one at a time and read, mark them up, dance them, rotate reading lines, echo read them etc. Then the kids illustrate each poem and number the page. I have them 3 hole punched and they add them to the back of their 3 ring binder.

I send the Poetry Notebook home as homework to read with families each Friday.

I also got a resource from Scholastic that has sight word poems. the children write in the sight word on blanks to complete a poem. Those worked really well too.

If you have a theme in mind, like farm for example, many teacher's class websites will have a theme section and will list poems that they use for that theme.

The best recommendation I could give for the notebooks is from a girl who will be a 4th grade next year. Sara cried because the pages were getting worn from her 1st grade poetry notebook! Mom told me about this and helped an older sister arrange to have the notebook hard bound as a Christmas give for Sara. I was honored to write a dedication page. Just yesterday I was working out and the mom told me that when Sara rearranged her room, she set up a reading nook and placed her hardbound poetry notebook on the table by her comfy chair. WOW

Poetry notebooks can fill in spare minutes during a transition time. I've had the kiddos read poems with their grandparents during grandparent day and we use some of the chants from early in the year as "line up" calls after recess.

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Poetry Notebooks
Posted by: janicepet

I do poetry notebooks once a week. Along with repeated readings we find and highlight punctuation marks, sight words, caps, letter sounds/word families we are working on, etc. We also illustrate each poem. The children bring their notebook home to share with family members.

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Poetry Journals
Posted by: gabalyn

I am a big fan of poetry journals, they are terrific for any grade. As far as poems, you pick poems that you think will be good for the lesson you want to teach or a theme you may be covering that week. I use one poem for the whole week.

Monday, read the poem to the children and talk about the meaning and go over any vocabulary words. Tuesday-Thursday I pick out things such as punctuation, phonics skills, TPR, parts of speech (call on students to come up and find the word with highlighter tape, markers, wicky sticks, have them put shapes around certain things) etc. Then on Friday the children will read the poem aloud (done t-th usually the star of the day uses a pointer), then I have them close their eyes to get a mental image while I read the poem to them. Then I ask a few students about what their mental image was and send them back to their seats where they will receive a copy of the typed poem and glue it into their journal on one side and draw their mental image on the other side (decorated with borders and all). Also, I have them find the things we found in the poem during the week, for example nouns.

Throughout the year they can refer to this journal and read it during independent reading. At the end of the year, they have this nice complete journal of poems that they can read and some fun memories!

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Poetry Notebooks
Posted by: gel2981

This is the 2nd year that we have used poetry notebooks in 1st grade where I teach. This is what we do and it has worked well so far. However, I've picked up some ideas here that I really like today--thanks. (3 days on the poem, drawing a child's name and letting them choose a poem to read, and poem for homework one night). We begin by writing our poem on sentence strips and displaying them in a pocket chart. The first day I read the poem to them several times and we discuss what it is about. Day 2 - On the sentence strips, we identify (by highlighting with colored cellophane type transparencies) the capital letters and punctuation and talk about why they are there. Day 3 - rhyming words and word family chunks. Day 4 - We read the poem either chorally or clapping the rhythm. Day 5 - I give them their copy of the poem to put in their poetry notebook. They go back and highlight the things we have done earlier in the week and then illustrate the poem and put it in their poetry notebook. This has been fun and we also are learning about those word families, etc.

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