Since April is National Poetry Month and March is (unofficial) Basketball Month, I decided to have a little fun with poetry! The original idea was from an article on the National Council of English Teachers website. I used How to Eat a Poem from the American Poetry and Literacy Project to gather the 64 poems that I needed:
The book is separated into 4 themes: Magic Words ~ Poems about Poetry, Books, Words, and Imagination, My Heart Leaps Up ~ Poems About the Beauty of the Natural World, I Think Over Again My Small Adventures ~ Poems about Travel, Adventure, Sports, and Play, and Hope is the Thing of Feathers ~ Poems About Love, Friendship, Sadness, Hope, and Other Emotions. This made it really easy to put the poems into four different sections, so that each class was only analyzing 18 poems. Students read the poems with a partner and had a discussion about the following:
- voice and speaker
- structure and form
- personal reflections
I structured the poems in pairs that would be voted on after each poem was read and discussed. Here are the “lineups” that each class received:
Each student also had a blank bracket, but I had a live google docs bracket that had all of the class information on it that we would add to each class. I have to say that I’ve never seen kids so excited to read poetry! We certainly had some lively discussions, voiced opinions, and had a really great dose of healthy competition! The final four came down to Six Words, Swift Things Are Beautiful, Sick, and How Many, How Much. The final votes came down to How Many, How Much, by Shel Silverstein. The poem is perfectly fit for middle schoolers…it is short, sweet, and about the most important thing in their lives: friends.
How Many, How Much
How many slams in an old screen door?
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live ’em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give ’em.
Congratulations to Duke and Shel! I absolutely plan on doing this again next year, but I’m going to have the students research to collect their own top picks and seeds!