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Poetry Friday : August 12, 2016.

I really like interactive notebooks.
Many teachers I know really like interactive notebooks.
I’ve used them for years in one form or another
— binders, handmade notebooks, or composition notebooks.

Today is Poetry Friday.
It is mid-August.
We are on the threshold of a new school year.
So I decided to share a bit about my interactive Poetry Notebook.


First, I must select the poem.
Today, I’ve selected Kay Winters’ poem “The Best Part.”

The best part
of the day
is when I hear
my teacher say,
. . .
We sprawl
on the rug.
It’s like listening
to a hug,
. . .
–from Did You See What I Saw, Poems about School  by Kay Winters

Then, I must gather supplies.

  • Paper or Notebook
    Each student needs paper to draw on. If you are creating a poetry notebook, it can be a page in the notebook. Or you can give each student a square of unlined paper which they will later glue into the notebook.
  • Colored pencils
  • A timer

Lesson Activity:
We are ready to begin.

Poetry Notebooks are open to a new double page spread.
Colored pencils are ready for use.
Students have entered the date sideways in the margin on the left hand side.
Students have copied the poem title and author’s name three lines from the top in the center of this page.

Now, pencils are down and they are ready to listen.

There is absolutely no introduction to the poem other than reading and copying the title and author.

I read the poem to students.
Students listen intently, letting the words create images in their minds. Then without a word, I set the timer for three minutes (I have been known to give them five minutes). And on the page beneath the poem title, they begin sketch noting — drawing the images they visualize from listening to the oral rendition the poem. At this stage, sketch noting involves only images, no words.

As students quietly draw, I walk around the room, making notes about elements I notice in student drawings — notes that I will use to guide our discussions and learning on Day Two.

The timer goes off, and without a word students close their Poetry Notebooks and put them away.

No, they do not share. Though they are very eager to share, our rule is NO SHARING, not yet!

Can they add to their sketches. If they ask to do so during personal time during the day, I do allow them to complete their sketches. I do not recommend it, nor do I encourage it. The purpose of the sketch is to capture first impressions, first thoughts.

We are ready to begin.

Everyone’s notebook is open to the page we worked on the previous day. Everyone is eager to begin sharing.

Join me in another post about Poetry Notebook for Day Two.

My Poetry Notebook on Day One–


By the end of the week, we will have six pages that are a record of our thinking and learning, including
Words I learned
What I noticed
Constructed responses to literature
 . . . all connected to our chosen poem.

* * * * *

PS. Poetry Notebook is one of my popular one-day workshops.


This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted at To Read To Write To Be.
Thank you, Julianne, and Happy Birthday to you.
Head on over to enjoy some more poetry!