Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

Five Ready-To-Use Poetry Stations

Learning lessons from my first experience with stations, I’m happy to report that my second lap around the track with this technique was more successful. Right before we left for our two-week winter vacation, I used Poetry Creation Stations with my freshmen. The result? Oh, this one’s a keeper.

With the help of a few student volunteers, we rearranged the classroom’s regular set-up into “tables” of three-to-four desks. I built five different activities, creating two sets of each station to help control traffic. Over two class periods, students visited all five stations and worked individually to complete each task. Here are (almost) all of the materials you’d need to use the same procedure with your classes (Click on the photo bar to enlarge the images):

Blackout Poetry
You’ll need:
• This instruction sheet to place at the station
• Two or three internet-enabled devices for students to view the instructional Prezi
• Dark markers and/or crayons
• Photocopies of novel pages for students to mark. I use pages from Fahrenheit 451, Of Mice and Men, and The House on Mango Street (works we’ve discussed or studied this fall), and you should copy pages of any novels your students might enjoy. Be sure to print two or three per student. Most of my kids wanted to do more than one of these.

Paint Chip Poetry
You’ll need:
• This instruction sheet to place at the station
• A variety of paint chip sample cards from your local hardware store (choose ones with poetic-sounding or interesting paint color names)
• Paper and pens/pencils

Reversal Poetry
You’ll need:
• This instruction sheet to place at the station
• Copies of this fill-in-the-blank form
• Paper and pens/pencils

Acrostic Poetry
You’ll need:
• This instruction sheet to place at the station
• Examples of strong acrostic poems on an overview sheet (These materials are available in my shop for two bucks, but you can also find lots of great examples at various poetry websites and build your own overview sheet.)
• Envelope filled with topics (We used popular film titles.)
• Paper and pens/pencils

Roll of the Dice Poetry
You’ll need:
• This instruction sheet to place at the station
• Enough dice so that each person at the station has two dice to roll
• Paper and pens/pencils

I planned on giving students about 20 minutes at each station, but ended up only suggesting, not requiring, that they move at the time mark. Whenever I’m deep into creating something cool, I don’t want to uproot and start something new until my first task is done. My freshmen were the same and both days had a gentle ebb and flow of student bodies as they slid from station to station on their own timetable.

My kids were focused as they worked, so I decided not to collect any of their poems because the stations were designed for creativity, not assessment – that’ll come in January. If students had veered off task, though, I would’ve assigned them to bundle their five poems, placing their favorite on the top of the stack for grading. I’m always a fan of they-write-five/I-grade-one assignments. Happily, though, I was able to bypass the grading altogether and just enjoy reading over shoulders and helping writers who sought my advice smooth out any rough patches.

Toward the end of the second day, one early finisher asked if he could use the remaining time to study for another class. My answer was no and I directed him to revisit a favorite station to create another poem. If I’d allowed that geometry textbook to crack open, I just know the focus of the whole classroom would’ve shifted from the poetic to the practical. Glad I held the line.

Finally, a shout-out to Barbara Comstock, a talented teacher-friend in my school district. Most of these stations are adaptations of ideas that she shared with us back in October, which you can read more about here.

Teach on, everyone!

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