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MalibuBarbie MalibuBarbie is offline
Joined: Feb 2007
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MalibuBarbie's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,319
Senior Member
Yes I do!
Old 07-10-2007, 09:04 AM

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.

This is an EXCELLENT resource:

Check out the songs/poems as well as all of their other good stuff.

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!
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