Friday, October 23, 2009

Think-Pair-Share Poetry

I've been doing a lot with poetry this year. I have made a commitment to myself and my students that we will engage with poetry on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I have always used poetry in my classrooms, but never to the extent that I have this year.

One literacy or thinking strategy that seems to work well with poetry is the Think-Pair-Share. I like this model because students still have some alone time with a poem, we still read it aloud and silently, they get to work in pairs, and we talk about the poem as a whole group. With this model, students can talk about the poem in a variety of ways and hear about others' interpretations and interactions with poem.

I recently tried this strategy with freshmen. I read the poem aloud for the group. As I read, they were responsible for highlighting the interesting structural and word choices they found. After this, they had a few silent minutes to explain why they highlighted those sections/ words/ lines in the margins of the paper. After this, students broke into pairs and explained their choices to their peers. In the end, I heard from all students and created a larger web of their comments on the whiteboard.

I feel like today's poem analysis activity was a success. Students sometimes had a hard time listening to one another, but this is something that we need to work on anyway. I will definitely try this strategy again with other students and with this same group. I liked the way that this strategy allowed for a variety of interactions over a single poem. We did not quite finish our work in one class period, but we can always pick up where we left off!

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