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National Poetry Month

Young red hired girl uid 14 Each year, during the month of April, the Academy of American Poets hosts National Poetry Month.  It's a month-long celebration of the art and beauty of poetry and the role it plays in American literature. Here are some ways you can bring the celebration into your classroom!

Idea #1: Read a Poem

There are lots of great poetry sources out there, but one that's especially good this month is straight from Poets.org.  By visiting the site, you can sign up to receive a poem in your email inbox every day during the month of April. The poems vary in theme and level, but are probably most appropriate for middle and high school readers.  For elementary age students, have fun exploring the poetry of Shel Silverstein and  Jack Prelutsky at their websites.  Both have lots of colorfully animated poems and activities to explore.

For interesting visual poems, check out the Graphic Poetry site. The combination of striking photography with free-verse poems is something that might inspire your students to create their own!

Idea #2 Write a Poem

Get your students involved in writing poetry with tools and resources from across the web. A good starting point is from the National Council of Teachers of English with their Read•Write•Think online activities and interactive tools. Students can write an Acrostic PoemDiamante, or even create a Shape Poem with support and guidance right on the site. When students are ready to write independently, send them to the Poetry Rhyming Dictionary and Thesaurus to help them brainstorm for rhyming words.  

Idea #3 Share a Poem

This year, Thursday, April 30 is "Poetry in Your Pocket Day" where poetry enthusiasts are encouraged to carry a poem with them to share with others.  Have students select a favorite poem and then create bookmarks or postcards to share with others that day.  For the Poetry in Your Pocket celebration a few years ago, my students and I designed stickers with lines from their favorite poems.  Students then traded stickers with others all day until they had a collection of stickers and a list of new poems to read!

Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky formed the Favorite Poetry Project in 1997 to help others share the poems they love. By visiting the site you can see Americans from all walks of life on video as they read or recite the poems they love best.  For even more poetry reading pleasure, check out the audio library on the Poets.org website where they've collected over 300 author interviews and poetry readings.

At my school, our Creative Writing students are getting into the poetry mania by writing and publishing their best poetry in video form. Travis Brown, Creative Writing teacher, worked with his students to select the best poetry from their portfolios and then had students work in teams to develop visual interpretations.  Every week this month they'll publish an new example of their work. Check out their first entry, titled Time, on our school podcast channel.

For more ideas on teaching with poetry, check out the Scholastic Poetry site where you can participate in poetry workshops with renowned authors as well as find lesson plans and activities to make every day of April into poetic perfection!


I love to read.  Books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, you name it.  Even when I worked as a math teacher, I still found ways to bring content related reading material into my classroom.  To me, instilling a love of reading is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to our students.

Now that I work with technology every day, I've found even more ways to create passionate readers.  Here are four of my favorites:

Thought 1: Connect with other readers online.


Scholastic has created a new community for student readers that you have to check out.  Called The Stacks, it's a student-friendly community where kids can explore new books, play book-related games, participate in polls, leave comments, and ask questions on books they're reading.

Continue reading "Read!" »

Technology Tricks and Treats

Witch_7Halloween's here and what better time to share a couple of laptop management tricks I use with students as well as a few treat-worthy sites to make you and your students smile!

Technology Tricks

Trick #1: Show before they go.

Technology is a very motivating (and sometimes distracting) tool to place in front of a student.  Before you start a task, spend time going over directions and showing an example of what they will be doing.  If you have a computer attached to a projector, use it to walk through the process students will need to follow to be successful.  Taking the time to go over procedures first will save you lots of time in the end.

Continue reading "Technology Tricks and Treats" »

Look Out for Monsters!

Monster With Halloween just around the corner, my first grade students are thinking about monsters. I am always thinking about technology, so I gather online and technology monster resources. Let me share with you the ways I add technology to the students' learning experiences using monsters as a theme.

As my students learn about poetry, each group writes a poem about a Halloween topic. They illustrate each line of the poem using KidPix. Then using GarageBand they record their poem, add their KidPix drawings and create a podcast. Listen to a Monster poem created by one of the groups.

Continue reading "Look Out for Monsters!" »

BAT - Books, Authors and Technology

Bookbasket_3After reading the Kid Lit Kit: New Review Tuesday: Books About Authors, I started thinking about all of the author studies I have done with my students. I also remembered many literature lesson plans I have written. Of course both of these included integrating technology. My students love exploring the author websites. They especially enjoy reading a book and then creating their own photo book, podcast or movie. I thought I'd share with you some of my lesson plans and favorite author study links. You'll see how easy it is to think like a BAT - Books, Authors and Technology, that is.

Great author resources can be found on Scholastic.com. Check out All About Authors and Writing With Writers.

My Favorite Author Links and My Technology Integrated Lesson Plans

  • Tomie dePaola and Now One Foot, Now the Other Lesson Plan

  • Continue reading "BAT - Books, Authors and Technology" »

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    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tutors "Supporting Teachers Use of Technology" are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.