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These six ideas will help your students fall in love with language.

 

Poetry is often hit-or-miss with students. But with intentional exposure to diverse voices and creative thinkers, your kids may change their minds about the power of the written and spoken word. Use these resources to encourage your students to start their journey toward creative self-expression.

1. Share the spoken word

If you haven’t already exposed your students to spoken-word poetry, now’s the time. Hearing poets share their truths invites students to do the same. Show your class a video or two from acclaimed poets Sarah Kay or Rives, so they can experience the power of the spoken word.

2. Invite a guest speaker

One of the best ways to ignite students’ interest is to bring someone into the classroom who can perform live poetry and conduct a workshop with your students. To understand just how much students can gain from the experience of working with a poet in the classroom, consider the work of Myrlin Hepworth, a Phoenix-based poet and artist who has traveled all over the country to work with young adults.

3. Welcome words from all channels

Poetry might be a tough sell with your students, but social media usually isn’t. Encourage them to follow poets like Atticus, a bestselling contemporary writer whose poetry is relatable, easy to understand, and posted in easily digestible snippets on Instagram and Twitter.

4. Browse books by Mari Andrew

While she doesn’t necessarily classify herself as a poet, Mari Andrew is an author and artist in a category of her own. Students can use her illustrations to explore the idea of combining imagery and unpredictable word combinations. Andrew also creates prints that are perfect for the classroom.

5. Try “found” poetry

For reluctant writers (and those who claim they could never write a poem), “found,” or blackout, poetry is a great tool. It eases some of the pressure for students who might be feeling shy about expressing themselves.

6. Crowd-source your classroom’s poetry

Writing a poem as a class can be an excellent way to apply concepts like metaphor, internal rhyme, and alliteration. This example from NPR’s Morning Edition will get you thinking about how to adapt the idea for your classroom.

 

Your students might be more excited about poetry than you realize. Expose them to creative and powerful language as much as possible, and then let the words win them over.

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