Each week, Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. This week's sites are among the best on the Web for teaching about poetry.
- Poetry for Kids
Can't Stop Laughing
It seems that I cannot stop laughing
No matter how hard that I try.
I'm laughing so hard that my sides ache.
I'm laughing so hard I could cry.
From the moment they arrive at Kenn Nesbitt's poetry site, your students will be laughing too. Kenn posts all his funny poems for kids here first. The most recent rhymes bump the old favorites, so get there quick. You won't want to miss any of the current Funny Forty, which include such funny-bone ticklers as "My Senses All Are Backwards," "Be Grateful for Your Epidermis," and "What to Remember in School." The evolving how to page on rhyme schemes is full of fun and useful tips for aspiring young poets.
- Poetry Pals
The Peter Burnett Academy in San Jose, California, hosts this poetry project, which offers K through 12 students from around the world the opportunity to publish original work. Every two months, the site features a different style of poetry, and students can submit poems in the featured style. This year's styles include autobiographical poems, cinquain, diamante, acrostics, rhyming and limericks, and haiku. The site also includes information about poetry forms, lesson plans, a click-and-drag magnetic poetry page, and links to the poetry pages of participating classes.
- Poets' Corner
According to its creators, Poets' Corner, an anthology of poems gathered from a variety of sources, is striving to become "the largest and most diverse publicly-accessible online collection of poetry in the world." And it appears that the site, where visitors can read such classic poetry as Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" and Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" is already well on its way to success! Students can use the search tool to find specific works, or they can access poems alphabetically by author, subject, or title.
- Sonnet Central
Sonnet Central, "an archive of English sonnets, commentary, pictures, and relevant Web links," provides a wonderful resource for high school teachers tackling the poetry genre. The Java-based navigation tool makes sifting through the site's wealth of materials easy, and the sonnet board and sonnet competitions create a highly interactive experience for sonnet enthusiasts. Aspiring poets can even submit their own sonnets for consideration!
- Why Poetry What
This Internet-based poetry sampler provides a lesson that emphasizes the emotional content of poetry over its structure and meter. True to the subject sampler format, the activity provides students with a list of guided questions about specific poems and challenges them to locate the answers online. The variety of poetic styles found here is amazing. You'll probably find very few poetry teaching plans that include Shel Silverstein, Robert Frost, and Beowulf!
- Online Poetry
In this class project from the Edleston Primary School, in the United Kingdom, students use Shockwave and RealPlayer to present audio versions of their poetry to the online audience. This performance poetry site is more likely to inspire technology activities than literary ones, but it makes an interesting extension to a classroom poetry unit. You'll want to save such gems as "What's in a Can of Beans?" and "Countdown to Blastoff" for a day when inspiration -- and energy levels -- are low!
- Listen and Write Home
Teaching pop song lyrics as an approach to poetry is a well-established educational technique, and this British site makes effective use of the strategy. Of course, times have changed, and the current rhythm is rap, but it still works -- and it's a lot of fun! The site includes a discussion of rap, a rap quiz, and several fun raps to listen to. Creative activities engage students in turning a story into a hippo rap, adding to a haunted house rap, and writing raps of their own. When they're done, successful rap writers will want to submit their lyrics to the Wordz R Wilde Showcase!
KidzPage is a wonderful place for students to investigate a variety of poetic styles and find inspiration for their own rhymes. The first section of the site features classic children's poetry -- in sections with such offbeat titles as Have a bash with Ogden Nash, For Better or Verse, and Verse and Worse! as well as familiar nursery rhymes and fun songs. The second part highlights verse -- some light, some not -- by students from around the world.
- Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive
This site, dedicated to the father of modern American poetry, houses all of Whitman's works as well as biographical information, manuscripts, notebooks, letters, and critical reviews. Although the materials here are not specifically intended for classroom use, the Archive in the Classroom section provides a useful collection of suggested activities and projects for teachers.
If you like playing with refrigerator magnets, you'll enjoy this site. Visitors click and drag online word tiles to form lines of poetry. The site, which requires a Java-enabled browser, is great for visual learners -- and for those who need a little instant inspiration!
Article by Walter McKenzie
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