Celebrate National Poetry Month in the Gifted Classroom
Celebrate National Poetry Month in the Gifted Classroom
PUBLISHED: Thursday, April 03, 2014 by Bethany Johnsen

What happens to a dream deferred?

Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?


Do I dare
Disturb the universe?

The time has come (the Walrus said) to ask your students all these questions and more, because National Poetry Month is here! To celebrate, Creative Kids will be posting a brand-new poem by a kid on our website every day in April. Showing your students poems written by their peers is a great way to launch them into composing pieces of their own. And once they do, don't forget to submit their work to Creative Kids! We are on the lookout for great poetry of all stripes, so give me your long, your short, your metered masses (OK, that was the last one, I promise).

The Internet is, of course, crawling with suggestions for teaching poetry in the classroom this month. Reading through all those resource lists can be overwhelming, so I'm sharing just a few of my favorite ideas below.

  • Teach your students to pay attention to poetry's unique qualities with ReadWriteThink's wonderful lesson plan Sound and Sense. (Runner-up favorite lesson plan: Poems Inspired by Works of Art from the UK Poetry Society.)
  • After viewing some of these videos of people sharing their favorite poems out loud, have your students film their own Favorite Poem Project-style videos.
  • Students in grades 3–12 can participate in the Poet-to-Poet Project by writing a poem in response to those by the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors. Have them email their responses to poet2poet@poets.org by April 30. In introducing this project, it couldn't hurt to make them aware that the tradition of poems in conversation with each other actually predates the World Wide Web(!)—such as Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" and its many famous replies by Walter Raleigh, John Donne, and others.