Saturday, December 10, 2011

Song and Poem Notebooks - A Scrapbook of Literacy Learning!

Hello, Teaching Friends!

Do you use a chart poem each week for shared reading?  Here's a way that you can extra value from the songs and poems that you're already teaching!

Song and Poem Notebooks, aka poetry journals, poetry notebooks, poem anthologies, etc., are a great way to create an individual scrapbook of topics learned, special events, favorite class songs, classic poems and nursery rhymes,... whatever reflects the learning that's happening in your classroom!

Some teachers use a composition book and have their students glue in a copy of each poem or song. My preference is to use a three ring binder.

Now, on the topic of those three hard-snapping, finger-pinching rings. Safety lessons always come first, of course, along with the "responsibility" angle of having the privilege of using "big kid notebooks" - you know how they love that, which in turn helps them obey the safety rules!!

In many years of using three ring binders for Song and Poem Notebooks, we never had even one pinched finger!  Using the notebooks built a certain sense of responsibility in each of my students (close supervision didn't hurt, either, I'm sure!), plus it was always great to see a nearby friend reach over to offer a helping hand if needed.

Where will you find the poems for your notebooks?  Well, there are lots of collections available at TpT, and you can also find many all over Pinterest. The very best source of poems for your students' notebooks, though, is already right in your own classroom. If you are using a weekly poems for shared reading, type up a copy and use it for your poetry journals - instant  readable text, even for your struggling readers!

Think about personalizing your notebooks by using writing about and photos of special events. For example, after a class trip, fill those crazy empty moments at the end of the day with a quick shared writing.  After you reread the chart together the next day, surprise your students with a copy of the text on which you've also included a photo or two from the trip, ready to go into their notebooks. What else could you write about? Classroom visitors, assembly programs, special area teachers (art, music, speech, etc.), science experiments, celebrations, ... the possibilities are endless!

How can you use Song and Poem Notebooks in your classroom?

* Make the notebooks one of your literacy centers, where your little guys can reread and illustrate the poems. Illustrating on the facing page - the back of the previous poem - works well for this, just be sure to have your students use colored pencils for no bleed-through or rub-off problems. Highlighting the word wall words in the poem (don't kids just love using highlighters?), buddy reading, read to a stuffed animal, and read-to-self are also perfect literacy center activities with poetry notebooks.

* Send the notebooks as homework once every few weeks: "Spend 15 minutes reading your special poems to your special people, or even to your special pets! Then write two sentences to tell who you read to and which poem was their favorite." Be sure to send the notebook home during special holiday breaks like Thanksgiving and Christmas, so they can show off their new skills to the out-of-town relatives!

*  Bring Song and Poem Notebooks to your small groups, where rereading is fluency practice is a great warm-up.  For variety at the end of a guided reading lesson, send partners off together to do some paired reading.

* If you keep a stack of familiar poems copied, hole-punched, and handy, adding them to Song and Poem Notebooks is a quick and easy activity for a sub when you get called out to an emergency meeting or have an unexpected absence.

* Send the notebooks home at the end of the year with a special note from you to each of your kiddos- they will remember these special songs and poems long after first grade!

* You can even differentiate with poetry anthologies. Introduce a poem at an appropriate level during small group, and have copies for the students to put in their notebooks.  Seek out poems for those who need more practice on specific sight words, then teach the poem and have students put their copies in their notebooks. Search "Sight Word Poems" at TpT to find some good collections of the latter.

Are you looking for more ready-to-go poems for your students' collections? Follow my K-1 Songs and Poems Pinterest board.

You can find even more at  Nellie Edge resources. She has has dozens, thematically arranged, double-spaced, and ready-to-print!

Happy Teaching!

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