Saturday, August 13, 2011

Back to School Poem and Activity

I LOVE teaching with poetry! Here is a fun one for one of the first days of school. It's called "What I Found in My Desk" by one of my favorite children's poets: Bruce Lansky. He writes hilarious poetry that is guaranteed to make your kids smile! My kids have a poetry journal that they glue their poems in. We average one a week. By the end of the year they have a whole anthology of Third Grade Poems and illustrations. They love reading back through them and some kids even started collecting their own poems to put inside.

This Desk poem will be their first. I introduce it with a strategy that I call: "Guess the Covered Word". I simply type the poem on the Smart Board and cover up some key words with the fancy pen marks. Then the kids attempt to guess the covered word by using context clues, structural analysis or rhyming patterns. They write what they think the word is on a dry erase paddle and then show it to me. Once someone in the group has guessed it, we reveal the word on the SB. The kids LOVE this activity!

Afterwards, I give them their copy and they glue it in their journal and draw meaningful illustrations beside the poem to show their visualizations. Finally, the next day or so they will revisit this poem at the Poetry Literacy Station where they will read it three ways and do the poetry follow up sheet.

I use this poem to introduce desk set up then train my kids on how to keep their desks organized on that first day of school. I even make a Desk Map for my kids to follow!

Desk Poem

Here is the Follow Up Activity my students do at the Poetry Literacy Station:

Scan Desk Poem Post 0001
Here is an idea for a graphing activity to do after reading the What I Found In My Desk poem:

Scan 0001


  1. I love teaching with poetry as well. Last year I worked at a school with a shortened Monday so every Monday was Poetry Workshop - an idea I got from Fountas and Pinnell. Love this "What I Found in My Desk" poem!!

    Blackboard and Beyond

  2. I have teach in a multiple level classroom (6 different grades) and have been trying to figure out a way to include more poetry in my school, throughout the year. I think this will work great with my Reader's workshop! Thanks!

  3. This website is awesome and my students love using it! The website has many poetry forms. The students fill in the form and create their poem. It prints small so many times I'll have the students copy and paste their poem into Microsoft word where they can change the font, the font size, and add images. I usually do this for National Poetry Month which is April. We cover our bulletin board in the hallway with poems. I always start with the I can't write a poem..poem so students can see that they are poets! I love the desk poem idea!