Teachers for Teachers | It’s Monday! We Are Learning Through Poetry #IMWAYR
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It’s Monday! We Are Learning Through Poetry #IMWAYR

When we select texts for content-area studies in the classroom or when we show students different ways to structure informational writing, we are always on the lookout for poetry to include in our text sets. Poetry adds depth, beauty, and perspective to our content-area studies. It pushes readers to think about the “why’s” and the “so what’s” beyond the facts they are learning. When information is shared through poetry students can see the wonder that hides within research topics and perhaps see their subject in a new way.

When students read poems about informational topics, they also learn about the power of structure in writing. We want them to know that the topics they are writing about can be expressed in a multitude of ways. As writers they have options, and poetry is one structure they might want to try.

To encourage students to try new structures, we create a basket of texts titled, Interesting Ways to Structure Informational Writing basket. From narrative nonfiction to hybrid texts, this basket is filled with texts that students can explore to think more about how they want to structure their writing. During whole class, small group and conferences, we use these texts to show students how structure can impact the meaning and tone of a text. Here are two new poetry books we will add to this basket as they bring factual information to life through poetry:

Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics, Margarita Engle and Rafael Lopez

Whether your class is delving into a biography unit of study, exploring immigration, or studying the natural world, readers in grades 3-6 won’t want to miss Margarita Engle’s newest collection of poems about amazing Hispanics. These poems spark inquiry:

  • What did this person do?
  • How did this person’s work impact the lives of others?
  • Why haven’t I learned about this person before?

From farmers, librarians, sports players, to poets – each poem gives readers a glimpse into how these people worked to make the world a better place. When readers want to learn more, they can begin by reading the biographical vignette about each person in the back of the book. The combination of the poems and the biographical information are perfect to launch students into research projects.

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up, Sally M. Walker

Readers who love Sally’s other books Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh and Written in Bone may be surprised to see that her newest book is a book of haikus.   This book invites students to see how writers play with structure.

We love the way these haikus help readers see the depth of meaning that can be achieved through haiku. These poems push readers to interpret and think – What does this poem mean?   Why those words?  How do they fit together?  The topics of these poems range from natural disasters to rocks and minerals, and changes in the earth surfaces. So many of these poems will connect to content area studies and topics that interest students.

Writers have so many options, and both these texts help open students’ eyes to new ways to structure informational writing and invite them to learn about important people, concepts, and ideas in new ways. If you would like to see the other books in our Interesting Ways to Structure Informational Writing basket, just click on this link. Don’t forget to tell us about the texts your students use as mentors when they explore how to structure their informational writing pieces. We love learning about new texts from all of you.







  • Avatar
    Shaye Miller
    Posted at 18:58h, 11 June Reply

    These both sounds like excellent books for the classroom. I’m adding Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics to my TBR list. Hopefully I can find a copy locally. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Avatar
    Michele Knott
    Posted at 23:15h, 11 June Reply

    I love the way you’re sharing baskets. Sometimes I think so inside the box, I get stuck finding new ways to group books.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 02:02h, 12 June Reply

    I need to add more poetry to my classroom library so thank you for your recommendations!

  • Avatar
    Myra from GatheringBooks
    Posted at 10:56h, 13 June Reply

    I lovelovelove Margarita Engle – we invited her here in Singapore for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content – and she was just brilliant.

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