April 2015: Celebrate National Poetry Month!

National Poetry Month

You don’t have to be a language arts teacher to love April. After all, it is National Poetry Month – a whole month to celebrate the beauty, the emotion, the meaning that poetry adds to life. Poets write about all subjects, not just “English-y” ones, and that means that you can introduce poetry into science class, math class, social studies class, art, music, foreign language, even physical education. Shake your students up and start class each day during April with a poem. But don’t think you have to do all the work of finding or reading these poems. Once you get the month started, you’ll find that students are delighted to share poetry they have found.

Off to a Good Start

Poetry 180

netTrekker offers a broad spectrum of poetry to enjoy, and to begin with, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins offers a poem that suggests how we might approach poetry in classes across the curriculum in “Introduction to Poetry.” Then, to demonstrate to students that poetry is for everyone, use “Americans Saying Poems They Love.” For high school students the Library of Congress site begun by Billy Collins, “Poetry 180” is a great place to find poetry to share.

Some great general collections of poetry can be found at “The Children’s Poetry Archive” and “Josie’s Poems.”

Ideas across the Curriculum

Science teachers have plenty to choose from, as so many poets have written about the natural world. From “PBS: Poetry Everywhere“, you might choose to share Kay Ryan’s “Turtle,” Ted Kooser’s “Daddy Long Legs,” or Charles Simic’s “Stone.”

Two more interesting sources are Karen Glenn’s poem sampler, “Ten Poems to Get You Through Science Class This Year”,  with selections by William Carlos Williams, Christina Rosetti and others, and “30 Days of ‘Quantum Poetry’ Celebrating the Glory of Science”, which offers seven poems by British biologist and poet Joanna Tilsley.

In math class, you might share “Numbers”, by Mary Cornish, or “A Love Poem for Lonely Prime Numbers”, by Harry Baker.

Poetry about sports can help us see more than the play on the field, just as physical education teachers know that they are teaching more than just rules of a game. Poetry Foundation has several collections of sports poetry to share:

Find these resources and more in netTrekker with the keyword search: April Newsletter.

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