Poetry: Planning and Deepening the Unit of Study

I was working with our Grade 5 team on planning out the unit of study for Poetry Writing.  We all wanted to deepen the work that our students do as writers of poetry.  In looking at the unit from the district, we noticed a teaching point about poets getting ideas from the world around them.  To be honest, that stymied all of us for a few moments.

Then this NPR project surfaced (I really don’t know how I would ever teach writing without NPR!!)

Today marks the start of an exciting project atAll Things Considered. Each month we’ll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day’s news.

The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars.

Smith sat down with All Things Considered’s Melissa Block to talk about writing a poem in a hurry. She called the day she spent with NPR’s producers “delightful, and a little terrifying.”


Here’s the link:

Small Group Work: Coaching Cycle

I’m starting a coaching cycle with my teachers around small group instruction.  As I’m planning my work, I’m realizing that I’ll need to do very different work in K-2 than the work that I’ll do in grades 3-5.  The work of the workshop, and the work of learning to read are so different in the two sections.

So, I’m pulling together my resources.  Here’s my starting list:

CAFE book — Moser and Bouchey

Teaching Reading in Small Groups —- Serravallo

Making the Most of Small Groups — Diller

Still Learning to Read  —- Sibberson (just the chapter on small groups)

Day to Day Assessment in the Reading Workshop —– Sibberson (again, just the chapter on small groups)

A Guide to the Reading Workshop — Calkins (just the small group chapter)

I’m also thinking about what I want my teachers to really get out of this work.  Our district focus is on using the mini-lesson format/architecture to work with small groups.  That’s an important focus and piece of learning for my teachers, but I also want to expand their thinking and make them more independent in forming, teaching and holding accountable in small groups.