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Family Literacy Night: 5th Grade Poetry Night

Family Literacy Night: 5th Grade Poetry Night

Written by Dana Griffo
May 03, 2021

“How much good inside a day…? Depends how good you live ’em.”

~Shel Silverstein

How much good in this school year? Well, I guess it depends how good we lived it. It was a challenging school year to say the least. But with challenges come triumphs… There comes happiness, random bursts of joy, and lightbulb moments. All three of these wonderful things happened at our family literacy night, which was 5th Grade Poetry Night.

There are about 100 fifth graders at our school. I got them each the book, Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (yay Scholastic Book Club- 1o books for $10!) They also each got a notebook, mechanical pencil, gel pen, and two fruit snacks- one for them and one for their buddy at the poetry night. During the week, we read Love That Dog, which is about a fifth-grade boy named Jack who hates poetry because he thinks only girls write it. Jack grows to love poetry and even writes about his dog that passed away (the book is quite a tear-jerker). The best things about this book are that it is totally written in verse and it references about seven other poems by Robert Frost, Walter Dean Myers, and more! Before we read it, students discussed and wrote about how they felt about poetry. Many were honest and said they simply did not like it because it was hard to understand. We read the book in four days. The first day was reading the supplemental poems, and then three days for the actual book. After we read it, students wrote and discussed the same question: How do you feel about poetry? Some were still honest and said they did not enjoy it. However, MANY changed their mind. I do not think they were lying to make me feel better either; they genuinely enjoyed the book and started writing their own poems in their free time. How amazing is that?

After we read the book, we did some more poetry. We read some poems about the ghost town Rhyolite and we analyzed many Shel Silverstein poems- The Invitation, The Voice, Magic, and How Many, How Much. We even did a deep analyzation of The Giving Tree and students were able to explain that the boy is quite selfish and the tree should learn how to practice boundaries. We wrote haikus, free verses, and shape poems, and a Love That____ poem (actually being published into a class book) in-class to go along with Love That Dog. My students were truly engaged and loving the activities!

Poetry Night was on Thursday, April 29th. Let me tell you… It is hard to keep kids engaged online, never mind keeping them engaged for an online event and trying to get them to come to an online event! I was nervous about the turn-out, but we ended up having a great turn-out! First, we went through introductions and did a Padlet book review for Love That Dog and students shared their Love That _____ poem. Afterwards, I gave them sneak peak into Creech’s sequel, Hate That Cat, as we read the first 10 pages together! They watched a fun video and we then wrote some poetry! We wrote shape poems, acrostic poems, haikus, and free verses. Students shared, we snapped, it was truly a grand time. We actually went about 30 minutes over since I also made a Kahoot for them, and no one minded because we were having so much fun! We were having such a good time that I forgot to take a screenshot of the whole Google Meet when everyone was on.

Poetry Night was truly successful, and honestly, it was even a huge form of validation for me. It felt like I finally did something right during this challenging school year. My students felt so comfortable with sharing and you could see the relationships and rapport very clearly from students and teachers. I cannot thank Ben and Amber enough for all of their help in making this successful as well. I attached the Google Slides for Poetry Night and the pictures that we took when we remembered.

Shel Silverstein had it right. The good in our days depends on the good we put into them. And Poetry Night? It had a lot of good. It may need to be an annual thing here at Griffith Elementary.

Family Literacy Night_ 5th Grade Poetry Night