Friday, December 16, 2011

Poetry Binders (and a FREEBIE)

So I don't know about YOU, but I looooove Poetry Binders!  Do you use them in your classroom?  If you do, be sure to leave a comment if you have tips or ideas to share!

My goal is to introduce a new poem once a week, appropriately called The Poem of the Week.  We usually fulfill that once a week goal...but you know how things go.  I select poems that correspond with our current Reading theme or I choose a poem that is stuffed with our high-frequency word of the week.  On occasion, I will throw a fun seasonal or holiday poem in there.

The students keep their poems on a shelf in their Poetry Binders.

I also keep my own Poetry Binder, so I can refer back to it year after year. 

I use those clear plastic page protectors in my binder.  But for the kiddos, I just three-hole punch their papers ahead of time and they simply open up their binders, slip the rings into the paper holes, and then close their binders CAREFULLY!  (Yes, a whole lesson on opening and closing their binders is definitely involved at the beginning of the year.)

Here is our typical routine:

1 - I show the poem on the SmartBoard.  I model how to read the poem, tracking the print with a fun pointer as I read.

Here are some fun pointers we have in our classroom.  I found these treasures in the Dollar Bin at Target.

Most of our pointers are stored in this fun Dora the Explorer (clean) trash can that sits on the floor, right below the SmartBoard.

2 - Usually I will call on a volunteer or two to identify the title of the poem and the poet's name.

3 - The students read the poem.  Okay, right now, you're probably thinking, "Say what!?"  When I say my Kindergarten students read the poem, I mean they echo read each line after me.  To make it fun (the kids love this), we use a pat, clap, pat, clap beat as we read.  Most of our poems go well with that rhythm.

4 - Usually we talk about the poem at this point.  We discuss any unfamiliar vocabulary.  We talk about the message that the poem is sending.  If the poem is meant to be funny, my Kinders don't always "get" the joke, so I'll explain that.

5 - I call on volunteers to find and circle our letter of the week with the BLUE SmartBoard pen.  (We always make sure to circle letters with blue, so when I am checking their papers later, I know that they knew what it was they were circling.)

6 - I call on volunteers to find and circle our high-frequency word of the week with the BLACK SmartBoard pen.  (We always highlight high-frequency words with yellow on our papers, but since we do not have a yellow SmartBoard pen, they circle with black.)

TIP!  If your kiddos are getting antsy at this point, I usually send my students back to their desks after they find and circle the letter or high-frequency word of the week.  I don't know why this works.  I think the kids are proud, like "Look at me.  I did my job, so now I can go back to my desk."

7 - So at this point, I send all the kids back to their desks, if they are not there already, and I pass out one copy of the poem to each student.  I also pass out their markers.  (Yep, I am a meany teacher who does not let her five and six year-olds keep their markers at their desks.  We use them on special the Poem of the Week!)  My students know what their jobs are:  1) Circle the letter of the week with blue marker and 2) highlight the high-frequency word of the week with yellow marker.  Most of the time, there will also be a box at the bottom of their paper.  The students know that they should draw an illustration to match the poem.

TIP!  If your school is like mine, white photocopy paper is like gold.  But TRY to photocopy on white paper.  If you use other colors, it makes it hard to see the yellow highlighting and sometimes it can be difficult to see the students' illustrations.

This poem was from super early in the year (July), so we were only circling the letter of the week at this point.

Here the students were circling the letter "Tt," highlighting the high-frequency word "my," and color a picture of their own face in the box.

The students circled the letter "Aa," highlighted any high-frequency words they could find (this was a review week), and then colored apples in the basket.

8 - When I notice he kids are finishing up, we will read the poem together one last time.  Then, they retrieve their binders from the shelf, put their new poem in there, and then put their binders back in their homes.  :)

One of my favorite children's poets is Brod Bagert.  If you would like to visit his fun website, click HERE!

He has written several children's poetry books, including my favorites:

"Shout!  Little Poems that Roar!"

"Chicken Socks and Other Contagious Poems"

"Giant Children"

"School Fever"

So that's it! Now if you read through this LONG post, you definitely deserve a FREEBIE!  Please stop by my TPT Store to get your own copies of some of my favorite Brod Bagert poems.  I love these poems!  So fun!  They are ready to print and use in your own classroom.

If you are looking for poems that are stuffed with high-frequency words, I recommend getting your hands on this one:

The poems are not as fun as Brod Bagert's, but they get the job done.
Don't forget to leave any comments or tips that will help us improve our Poetry Binder system.  Thanks for stopping by!  :)


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog! I followed back and really enjoyed peeking around here! I love your tips on how to teach poetry! I was a third grade teacher for 8 years, but now as a stay at home I could do something like this at home with my preschooler!

    Criss-Cross Applesauce

  2. Yay! I'm so glad you "stopped by." Thanks!

  3. I just saw your comment at Aloha Kindergarten and hopped over! This post is terrific! Thanks for sharing your ideas. I've been filing my copies of our poems, but I need to create a binder! :-)


  4. Well, thanks for stopping by! :) Yes, a binder has been the best organizational tool for me, when it comes to all these poems. Have fun!

  5. I enjoyed your description of your Poetry Binder. We do a similar "Noisy Reader" in my K5. We usually put four poems or songs in each week, beginning with our color word songs at the first of the year. When I begin focusing on sight words in earnest - after their introduced in our reading series, I use Scholastic's Sight Word Poems. Its full of poems that focus on one sight word each (while reinforcing many others). The children are required to write the sight word in on each line, lots of practice! Then color the illustrations or draw their own.

  6. Hmmmm, looks like I will have to get my hands on that Scholastic Sigt Word Poems book. Thanks for the idea and thanks for stopping by my blog! :)


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