Friday, March 27, 2015

Tips and Resources for Poem in your Pocket Day

Tips and Resources for Poem in your Pocket Day
by Susan Stephenson,

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2015 will be held on Thursday, April 30. It’s part of a national emphasis on poetry in the USA for the month of April. By my reckoning, it ought to be celebrated world-wide! I love the way Poem in Your Pocket Day is so simple and achievable. The idea is to select a poem, carry it in some kind of pocket, and share it with others. Children can choose a favourite poem someone else has written, or choose to celebrate themselves as poets by carrying a creation of their own.

Poem in Your Pocket Suggestions:

* Young children can learn a lot not only by listening to poetry read aloud, but by the process of actually writing a shortish one out by hand. Let kids browse all the poems they want before they choose their favourite for copying.

* Students might prefer to create their own poetry. Shape poems and haiku are usually short if you lack time, or children might be inspired by some of the poetry anthologies in your library.

* Student poetry could be displayed on pocket-shaped papers around the school. I’ve made a free PDF with four pockets. Children can cut them out and use for a display, or to keep their own poems  safe. After cutting around the outside edge, kids just need to glue around three edges to a backing sheet of paper or card, leaving an opening at top, or staple around three sides to some kind of material. Pop the poem in at top once glue is dry.

* Have kids think about pockets. Does a pocket need to be attached to clothing? Could they perhaps create a special, standalone, pocket for holding a special poem? What could the design be? How will they make it? Some cute pockets I’ve seen have been cut off old jeans and sewn into little bags. Use my free PDF (see above) to challenge kids to come up with something much more creative!

* What fun to browse books of poems, revisit loved poems, ask relatives for favourites, and choose one special poem for The Day!

* Have kids experiment with apps to make their own pocket poems. Apps like Sticky Words and Read Write Think’s Word Mover are exactly like digital fridge magnets, and a fun way to create poems. Pic-Lits isn’t an app for tablets, but does a similar function, online. Other apps like Phonto can be used to add text to an image for a shortish poem. Noteography features a fancy starting letter, with the short poem underneath. You can see samples made with Phonto (left) and Noteography, below. Digital poems like this could be printed out and rolled into a scroll. Tie gently with ribbon.

* When looking for suitable poems to inspire kids, be sure to check out Poetry Minute and Giggle Poetry, both of which host poems suitable for elementary/primary aged kids. Australian Children’s Poetry showcases the work of contemporary Australian children’s poets.

* Children might like to design their own bookmarks, copy poems onto them, and give the bookmarks to friends, relatives and students in other classes.

* Read Write Think have an interactive of staple-less books that children can use to set up and print their poem(s).

* Although it’s lovely to write out and decorate a special poem on a sheet of paper, why not go high-tech and have children record themselves reading a poem? Using audio or video software, it can be copied onto a thumb drive, or a smart phone and that’s just the right size for a pocket too! Remind children they’ll need a device to play such a recording if they choose a thumb drive.

* How about a poetry cafe as a highlight of Poem in your Pocket Day? Invite guests such as parents or community members to attend. Have poetry readings. Celebrate pocket poetry with panache!

Poem in your Pocket Day is just one of many way to involve children with poetry. Encourage kids to memorise poems. It’s an excellent way for them to internalise interesting vocabulary and the wonderful nuances and rhythms of language. There’s a US contest called Poetry Out Loud where kids recite poems they’ve learned by heart, and the website has great resources. If you need a romantic (or is that just me?) role model for your kids, here’s Neil Gaiman reciting Jabberwocky.

Are you looking for poetry activities that might encourage your children to write their own poems for Poem in Your Pocket Day? Check out some posts here at The Book Chook:

and one I’ve written for the Australian Children’s Poetry website, called Using Technology for Poetry Creation and Presentation.

Poem in your Pocket Day is already on my list of Book-related Special Days. This post will be added to my list, Poetry with Kids

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