Tracked In & Focused on Poetry

If you haven't yet found Julie Ballew on Top Teaching (by Scholastic), you must check it out.  You'll probably remember Top Teaching from all the great stuff Beth Newingham shared about Reading Workshop.  Well, Julie Ballew is new to TT this year and her posts are awesome, not to mention the wealth of anchor charts that are on her own literacy website and literacy blog.  Last week she wrote about something called Focus Poetry

After reading this post, I said, "I LOVE THIS!"  So easy and do-able, engaging, on topic, and covers multiple Common Core language standards in one poem in one week.   Since I work with 3rd grade, and the 2nd quarter science unit is Objects in the Sky, I asked them if they thought this might be something they'd like to try doing this quarter...they're all doing it!  The rest of this post is going to make so much more sense if you go and read the Focus Poetry post first and then come back to my post. 

I took the narrative and daily focus from Julie's post and created a Focus Poem template.

Download Focus Poetry Template HERE

Because Objects in the Sky is the science focus for the next four weeks, I found several poems online about stars, the sun and the moon (and there a good many out there, and quality American Literature, too) and I began writing the weekly lesson for that poem completing the template for the first week.   I told the 3rd grade team that I would create the Focus Poetry plan for the first two poems for the first two weeks and they would do it after that and share out with each other.  (The poems were also added to their Objects in the Sky Text Set that they will use as the core set of hard and digital media sources, text and interactives for this unit.  To read more about Text Sets or find the ones created by the TCRWP, click HERE).

For the following poem (our first one) the plans follow:

Download the lesson plan HERE (two poems, two weeks of plans)

If you're interested in the Objects in the Sky Text Set that the third grade team created, let me know.  I'll have to ask their permission before I post it here.  I'm sure they wouldn't mind, but let me ask.

I also created the bulletin board pieces for them.  If you would like to use them too, just right click on any of the images and help yourself. 

I hope you have enjoyed this post and consider Focus Poetry for you class or school!
Happy Reading!

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luckeyfrog said...

I used to do something similar in my room, but with poetry journals from Just4Teachers. The poems went along with our weekly Treasures story in some way. We would echo read the story on Monday. Tuesday, we choral read the poem and used our list of poetry elements (rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, repetition, etc.) to decide which it had. Wednesday, we did some sort of highlighting (parts of speech, repeated parts, rhyming words, etc.). Thursday we partner read the poem for fluency, and Friday we did a poetry response and let a few students "perform" it, modeling great fluency and expression. We generally finished our poetry bit in 5-10 minutes, and yet my kids built a great poetry journal and practiced many skills every week! Having a poetry routine was great.

This year I haven't quite put together my collection yet, so we're not doing poems every week... but eventually, I want to create a collection to match my new grade level themes!

Thanks for sharing some great ideas! I love the idea of adding a focus wall just for poetry.

Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "head start." I moved from 21 years teaching in first grade to third grade this year. I had always done poetry in first, but have not yet had the time to develop unit for third grade. This is a great motivation. Would love any more poems you would be willing to share!

Tiffani said...

Julie will love your shout out- I had the honor of meeting and working with her this August as we prepared to launch Top Teaching,
Tiffani Mugurussa

lgray1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lgray1 said...

Hi Jenny...I would love the Objects in Sky text set. I teach 3rd grade at Cedar Fork. I would like to use your template to create a text set for the Plant and Soils Unit we are in right now. Great idea! Thank you for sharing.
Lisa Gray

Unknown said...

Sure...what's your email address?

Angela said...

Thank you for sharing this! I do two poems of the week, but had only been using them for fluency with my 1st/2nd graders. I'm excited to use these ideas to get more out of our poetry time!

Cecelia said...

Hi Jennifer,
I would love the Objects in Sky set! I teach first but am always looking for complex text for mini lessons and my high friends. My email is
Thanks for sharing! You always have the best stuff!

V.Lowe said...

I would love to have the Objects in the Sky set. I would also like to use your template to create similar lessons for our third grade team. I teach in Texas and our ESL and bilingual students are really struggling with poetry. We have talked about this approach and I'm thrilled to find a resource and a success story!

Unknown said...

Hi Virginia!
Email me and I'll send you Objects in the Sky Text Set and the templates I created so you can use them to make your own lessons.

curriculumgal said...

I have been a follower since you had your old "webpage". I also am in NC so you always inspire me and can't get enough Jen Jones. I would love to have any examples of text sets that you and your team have created. We are just now getting into learning how to create text sets and I'd love to see some examples that you have put together. Also, has your school developed common vocabulary for Social Studies and ELA. I love the Science common vocabulary you posted and wondered if other content area common language had been developed. Anything you are willing to share as far as text sets and common vocabulary would be greatly appreciated. Hope you will be presenting at the NC Elementary Conference in October. I will be attending this year.
Thanks tons,

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