Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
In some parts of the world today, people are wishing for a magic wand to make miserable weather disappear. “Poof! Be gone, wicked weather,” we’d say if we had magical powers.
Nature’s fury, along with mid-term vacations this time of year, force teachers in communities worldwide to manage classes that are in, then out, then in again.
In these conditions, it can be tricky to catch and keep kids’ attention. What to do?
Make some eye-catching, ear-catching, imagination-grabbing magic in class by inviting students to create their own secret homes for special poems.
Kids LOVE this activity!
Draw them in with the opportunity to choose a focus for their poetry writing and create a secret home for a special poem.
…kids get to “hide” the special poems that they write in special places they create with paper folds, cuts and coloring.
Until someone unfolds or pulls on students’ paper designs, like t-shirts, homemade envelopes, paper airplanes or paper strips, their poems remain unknown.
Explain to your class that THIS poetry writing is a challenge with fun written all over it.
Imagine, for example, a little poem about a bunny, written by a third grade student, that pops out of a handmade black paper t-shirt adorned with the word, “Magic.”
Materials needed? Nothing more than paper, pencils, scissors, and markers or crayons. Colored construction paper is an asset, but not a requirement.
How can you guide students in making magic in class with secret homes for special poems?
Follow these steps to create a basic Secret Home for a Special Poem:
1) Hold up a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 inch white copy paper.
2) Fold the right vertical side of the paper to the left to make a 2-inch wide inside “poem strip.” The paper will now measure 6 1/2 inches wide.
3) Draw (and color if you like) a picture that connects with your poem’s focus all over the folded paper, front and back. (Do not draw on the white section that remains when you re-open the paper to a full 8 1/2 inches wide.) Set the illustrated paper aside.
4) On a separate sheet of notebook paper write your poem in narrow lines that go all the way down the page. This long, narrow format will fit in the white paper “poem strip” space of the illustrated paper.
5) After you draft your poem, handwritten or computer-typed, check grammar and spelling; then clearly rewrite or print out the poem (in a space no wider than 2 inches, no longer than 8 1/2 inches) on a new sheet of white paper.
6) Cut out the finished poem in a long narrow strip.
7) Glue the “poem strip” to the inside blank section of the white paper. The right edge of “poem strip” should align with the right edge of the paper so that when you fold the paper again, the poem is hidden in its “secret home.”
8) Hold up the folded Secret Home with a Special Poem paper, show the front and back to the class, and announce that you have something special to share. Open the page and reveal the poem. Fun!!!
I’ve designed and written a special poem hidden in a secret home titled, After the Rain.
Both sides have leaves drawn and colored green with white drops of rain on them. When the “poem strip” at right is folded to the left, the poem is hidden.
- Feel free to download the poem.
I’ve also printed the long, narrow lines below. Note that some lines have only a single word or letter (like the word f-a-l-l-s). That’s part of the magic of poetry writing.***
When I present this poem to students, I first say that After the Rain is a poem that asks a single question.
“Listen,” I ask for attention with a single command; then I begin reading aloud.
*** To save post space, I’ve printed the word f-a-l-l-s all on one line here.
a big smile,
as a child
- Download leaves with raindrop clusters that cover this page. Both the front and back of the Secret Home page are ready to color.
Reluctant writers, who may include boys in grades 2 – 5, find freedom of expression in making magic by writing special poems to
hide in secret homes.
- A boy in one of my classes presented me with a gift of a paper car, complete with a poem that he’d written and hidden behind the car door. He was so involved in making magic in class with secret homes for special poems that his acquisition of important writing and design skills in the process seemed to him like a party.
- Please send comments about how you engage students in writing.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet