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Volumes of Verse: Poetry Resources on the Internet

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You have probably heard the Web compared to a virtual library. In the case of poetry, that statement couldn't be more true. Poets from William Blake to Walt Whitman now have virtual homes in cyberspace. The Internet offers a rich repertoire of verse -- if you know where to look! You and your students could be the beneficiaries of this fertile resource.

Rhyme Time GIF Already using poetry to teach reading, writing, handwriting, and art, teacher Cheryl Markham was looking for a way to incorporate technology into her poetry lessons. During a training session with other teachers, an idea developed. Today, that idea is Poetry Pals, a dynamic Web site that promotes literacy, technology, and global communication. What started as a small project has expanded to a major on-line poetry resource. Poetry Pals contains 1,500 poems written by students from 19 countries and 47 of the states in the United States!

"Children from 4 to 18 years of age write poetry and submit it to the site for publication," Markham, who teaches second grade at Olinder Elementary School in San Jose, California, told Education World. "The Poetry Pals Web site includes examples of [many] poetry forms, lesson plans, links to other child-appropriate sites, and poems by children from all over the world."

PUBLISHED POETS

Students in Markham's classroom have become quite the authors! "My second graders are highly motivated to write for publication, " said Markham. "Knowing they have a worldwide audience motivates them to do their best work."

"During the project, they've grown confident not only in their ability to express themselves but in their technical skills as well," she added. "The Poetry Pals project has given them an increased understanding of geography and a global awareness, which is unusual for seven and eight year olds."

WHY POETRY?

"Poetry is a part of every culture," observed Markham. "Hearing and reading poetry introduces children to the rhythm of language. For young children, listening to poetry helps them develop phonemic awareness -- a foundation to reading and writing. By writing poems, children learn grammar, vocabulary, handwriting, and communication skills."

"The patterns of many poetry forms are mathematical," she noted. "I've found that I can integrate my entire curriculum through poetry."

Poetry Pals is an on-going project that any student or class may join. See the Web site for more information. Among its pages is Poetry Pals' Student Links, a guide to other terrific poetry pages on the Web.

Besides Poetry Pals, you will find many other archives of poems to share with your class. Silverstein, Shakespeare, and Shelley -- there is something for every reader on the Web!

HUMOR AND HARMONY

If it is poetry you want, then poetry you shall have at KidzPage. This Web site publishes the work of budding poets from all over the globe. Classes of school students may send their work to the Web master, and she will create a page for the group on her site. Read selected works of famous poets with humorous, colorful illustrations. Don't miss the super collection called Have a Bash with Ogden Nash. You'll love the lively, fun, and varied poems that you will find, and so will your students.

There is nothing quite like Grandpa Tucker's Rhymes and Tales anywhere else on, or off, the Internet. Your students will giggle with glee at the poems they will find here. Grandpa Tucker is a clever writer of verse, story, and song. Children can create poetry with him as they follow his lead at Rhyme Time Fun. There, he offers a recipe for writing rhyming poems using families of words that sound alike. Reminiscent of popular published humorous poetry, this collection is bound to spark classroom ideas.

Grandpa Tucker likes to rhyme,
He writes funny poems time after time.
If you like laughter, his site is the place.
When you leave it, there'll be a smile on your face!
                        -Cara Bafile

Move over Grandpa -- here comes Kenn Nesbitt! Another humorous poetry writer, Nesbitt is the poet behind Poetry for Kids, a virtual library of enjoyable rhyme. He just published his first book of poetry, My Foot Fell Asleep, but 40 of his poems are freely accessible on this Web site. There is also an excellent page of Links that points you to other poetry sites with poems by Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Dr. Seuss, and more.

Presented by the Environmental Defense Fund, Kids' Poems is a resource for poetry by children. Any student may submit poetry through e-mail to the site for publication. All the poetry relates to Earth in some manner. Many of the poems deal with various animals; others focus on the environment. Gather ideas here for incorporating the teaching of poetry with your science topics!

TRADITIONAL AND TRENDY

If you are a fan of the book A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson, you will love this e-text. As its name suggests, A Child's Garden of Verses is an Internet copy of the original text by Stevenson and freely available to all. This is a text document, not a colorful Web site, but you may print the material and use it with your class. You might use this to your advantage. Have your students illustrate a few of the poems you select, or see if they can interpret some of the "ancient" ideas they convey.

A famous poet of the 1800s, Edward Lear -- known as the father of the limerick -- now has a home on the Internet, courtesy of Marco Graziosi. The Edward Lear Home Page is an ideal introduction to the limerick style, a form of poetry that many of your students may immediately like. Students will appreciate the humorous rhymes with whimsical drawings that accentuate its light-hearted message. Read about the life of Edward Lear, and enjoy two older books of limericks from the 1820s.

From the lively limerick to its virtual opposite, haiku, the Web has it all! Haiku for People! explains the haiku form, which is at once complex and simple, and maintains that it is meant for all people to write and enjoy. Written in the pattern of three lines with five, seven, and five syllables respectively, haiku can be difficult to master. However, even young students can apply its themes. Every haiku poem contains a word, or words, that gives away the season that it describes. Let the poems of this collection inspire your students to create their own seasonal poetry.

The National Poetry Month page provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain insight into poets as well as poetry. This unique exhibit, created and hosted by Books.com, is a virtual tour of American poetry. Poets of the north, west, south, east, and central regions of the United States are featured. Each author's page contains a short biography and samples of his or her work. The exhibit is designed to show the influence of a writer's environment on his or her poetry. Because it focuses on contemporary poetry, this on-line exhibit is best shared with students in the upper grades.

Visit The Poetry Archives and you will be amazed that such a fine collection of classic poems was constructed by a group of students! Developed by a team participating in the ThinkQuest competition, the archive now contains 3,012 poems by 63 poets. Some poet pages also have a biography for students to use as reference and a picture so they can put a face with a poet's name and work. This site would make a great resource for students to use to select poetry for assignments and to research the lives of various poets.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
Copyright © 1999 Education World

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04/26/1999

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