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Reading Poetry in the Middle Grades: 20 Poems and Activities That Meet the Common Core Standards and Cultivate a Passion for Poetry

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As teachers today, everything we teach has to be turbo-charged with skills and the promise of advancing our students academically. Here's the cool thing: poetry can get you there. It is inherently turbo-charged. Poets distill a novel's worth of content and emotion in twenty lines. The literary elements and devices you need to teach are all there, powerful and miniature as As teachers today, everything we teach has to be turbo-charged with skills and the promise of advancing our students academically. Here's the cool thing: poetry can get you there. It is inherently turbo-charged. Poets distill a novel's worth of content and emotion in twenty lines. The literary elements and devices you need to teach are all there, powerful and miniature as a Bonsai tree. Paul B. Janeczko You'd like to teach poetry with confidence and passion, but let's face it: poetry can be intimidating to both you and your students. Here is the book that takes the fear factor out of poetry and shows you how to use this powerful genre to spark student engagement and meet language arts requirements. Award-winning poet Paul B. Janeczko is the master for creating anthologies for pre-teen and adolescent readers, and here he's chosen 20 contemporary and classic selections with step-by-step, detailed lessons for investigating each poem from the inside out. Kids learn to become active readers of poetry, using graphic organizer worksheets to help them jump over their fear and dive into personal, smart, analytical responses. There's no better genre than poetry for helping students gain perspective on their own identities and their own worlds, and Paul provides a space on each reproducible poem for private thoughts, questions, feelings, and ideas. Your students will discover what each poem means to them. The 20 poems in this collection were chosen for their thought-provoking topics; compelling real-world themes that lead to conversation and collaboration in middle school classrooms. And by showing you how the poems and activities address the common core standards for English Language Arts (complete with a sample chart linking the poems to the standards), Paul provides a clear understanding of how you can get there using poetry. You can cultivate a passion for poetry in your classroom. Take the journey with Paul B. Janeczko and grow in confidence with your students, meeting some standards along the way.


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As teachers today, everything we teach has to be turbo-charged with skills and the promise of advancing our students academically. Here's the cool thing: poetry can get you there. It is inherently turbo-charged. Poets distill a novel's worth of content and emotion in twenty lines. The literary elements and devices you need to teach are all there, powerful and miniature as As teachers today, everything we teach has to be turbo-charged with skills and the promise of advancing our students academically. Here's the cool thing: poetry can get you there. It is inherently turbo-charged. Poets distill a novel's worth of content and emotion in twenty lines. The literary elements and devices you need to teach are all there, powerful and miniature as a Bonsai tree. Paul B. Janeczko You'd like to teach poetry with confidence and passion, but let's face it: poetry can be intimidating to both you and your students. Here is the book that takes the fear factor out of poetry and shows you how to use this powerful genre to spark student engagement and meet language arts requirements. Award-winning poet Paul B. Janeczko is the master for creating anthologies for pre-teen and adolescent readers, and here he's chosen 20 contemporary and classic selections with step-by-step, detailed lessons for investigating each poem from the inside out. Kids learn to become active readers of poetry, using graphic organizer worksheets to help them jump over their fear and dive into personal, smart, analytical responses. There's no better genre than poetry for helping students gain perspective on their own identities and their own worlds, and Paul provides a space on each reproducible poem for private thoughts, questions, feelings, and ideas. Your students will discover what each poem means to them. The 20 poems in this collection were chosen for their thought-provoking topics; compelling real-world themes that lead to conversation and collaboration in middle school classrooms. And by showing you how the poems and activities address the common core standards for English Language Arts (complete with a sample chart linking the poems to the standards), Paul provides a clear understanding of how you can get there using poetry. You can cultivate a passion for poetry in your classroom. Take the journey with Paul B. Janeczko and grow in confidence with your students, meeting some standards along the way.

30 review for Reading Poetry in the Middle Grades: 20 Poems and Activities That Meet the Common Core Standards and Cultivate a Passion for Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I was looking for ways to quickly and easily incorporate daily poetry reading activities into my reading intervention classes. This is a great resource to start with. It includes 20 poems with ideas for how to use them to teach literary elements, fluency activities and graphic organizers to promote close reading. There are writing and discussion prompts to help students connect poems to their personal experiences. There is also a list of additional student texts related to the themes in the poem I was looking for ways to quickly and easily incorporate daily poetry reading activities into my reading intervention classes. This is a great resource to start with. It includes 20 poems with ideas for how to use them to teach literary elements, fluency activities and graphic organizers to promote close reading. There are writing and discussion prompts to help students connect poems to their personal experiences. There is also a list of additional student texts related to the themes in the poem. The poems really vary in terms of accessibility, length, cultural perspective, etc. The list of “related poems” in each section usually includes poems about the same theme rather than poems of differing levels of challenge, different setting or perspective that could be used to teach the same reading skills.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shari

    This is a little simple for my current needs teaching HS juniors, but it’s an excellent resource. Well-written with thoughtful connections between poems, analysis of the poems, and activities (plus graphic organizers!) for each. A solid addition to the classroom library for anyone teaching grades 6 to 10.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Beautifully annotated inspiring book. So excited to dive into many of these poems with my students!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Bearden

    Seems to help lead the instructor through the leading of the poem in a group So for each poem, the author has these sections: Before Reading the Poem - "Why I Admire This Poem, Companion Poem, Special Words to Work Through") First Reading: Meeting the Poem - background for the facilitator Close Reading: Getting to Know the Poem - what to pay attention to ("Noticing Line Breaks, Noticing Mood, Noticing Figurative Language") After Reading: Knowing the Poem Forever ("Say it Out Loud, Write About It, Iss Seems to help lead the instructor through the leading of the poem in a group So for each poem, the author has these sections: Before Reading the Poem - "Why I Admire This Poem, Companion Poem, Special Words to Work Through") First Reading: Meeting the Poem - background for the facilitator Close Reading: Getting to Know the Poem - what to pay attention to ("Noticing Line Breaks, Noticing Mood, Noticing Figurative Language") After Reading: Knowing the Poem Forever ("Say it Out Loud, Write About It, Issues/Themes for Discussion, Related Poems, Book Bridges, Online Resources") Seems like a really interesting process for learning and enjoying language This book could be used with middle school and high school students as well. Some of the poetry would not be as accessible to younger students; though it could enrich a word-play focused class. I learned a lot about poetry just be reading one section, "The Deserted Farm." This really helps kids (and adults) start noticing things. I love the resource lists at the end to enhance the lessons. Would be great to share with pre-service teachers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Carlson cole

    The recommendation for this book came from either Penny Kittle's Book Love or Write Beside Them and I can't believe how lucky I was that I actually ordered it on a whim! The poems are perfect for engaging Middle School readers, the depth of analysis that Paul B. Janeczko provides for each poem, the connecting websites, poems and books and the activities are outstanding. I will be turning to this book many times over the years. My copy will be a Velveteen Rabbit edition soon. The recommendation for this book came from either Penny Kittle's Book Love or Write Beside Them and I can't believe how lucky I was that I actually ordered it on a whim! The poems are perfect for engaging Middle School readers, the depth of analysis that Paul B. Janeczko provides for each poem, the connecting websites, poems and books and the activities are outstanding. I will be turning to this book many times over the years. My copy will be a Velveteen Rabbit edition soon.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I do not often buy books for the use in the classroom, but this one actually had enough to make it worth the price. Great poem selection and activities for before reading, during the after with great corollary reading selcetions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    I can't wait to share these poems and activities with my students. I'm already collecting photos of abandoned farmhouses to inspire an opening discussion of "Abandoned Farmhouse." This is really an amazing collection, not just of poems but of solid teaching strategies. I can't wait to share these poems and activities with my students. I'm already collecting photos of abandoned farmhouses to inspire an opening discussion of "Abandoned Farmhouse." This is really an amazing collection, not just of poems but of solid teaching strategies.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Fager

    This book was exactly what I needed to incorporate poetry into my curriculum without neglecting the common core. I found that some poems were too advanced for my 7th graders, so I wish the poems were rated according to difficulty.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Great strategies for incorporating poetry into your classroom! I would definitely recommend this to my fellow English teachers :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

    A useful book. Janeczko provides plans and tools for making some sophisticated poems (e.g. "The Wreck of the Hesperus") accessible for middle-schoolers. His lessons are common-core aligned, too. A useful book. Janeczko provides plans and tools for making some sophisticated poems (e.g. "The Wreck of the Hesperus") accessible for middle-schoolers. His lessons are common-core aligned, too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    Twenty poems, thoughtfully explored. Middle school and up.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Fletcher

    Loved the breakdown of poems. All lessons aligned with Common Core Standards. Provides connecting texts and activities allowing students to grapple with poetry and make it accessible.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trish

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Gray

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aerin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  18. 5 out of 5

    jmjester

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Elie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leland

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roy Hill, Psy.D.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Egan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angela Abbott

  25. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Mack

  29. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gwendolyn Price

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