Thursday, January 1, 2015

Poem of the Week Activities

Hi, friends!  Can you believe we are already ringing in another New Year?!?!  Boy oh boy, time sure does fly!

Let me start by saying how much I LOVE using poetry in my classroom!  Poetry is a great way to improve reading fluency and oral language, as well as practice numerous phonemic awareness skills and concepts of print.  My team and I have been using a poetry binder for many years, but I finally just decided this year that I would begin compiling all of the poems we use during our shared reading time.  I wanted to create something simple and neat that could be used with my IWB or pocket chart and didn't require gluing into a notebook.  It sounded like a simple task, until I got started!  Here's a picture of what's inside our poetry binders:

I set up my "I Can Read" poetry binder as a homework binder.  When I first introduce the poem, I like to read it several times throughout the day.  The students help me make up hand motions for each line to help them better remember the words.  After reading the poem two/three times, we will complete that day’s activity (see the weekly lesson plan for each poem).  Some of the activities will address concepts of prints, phonemic awareness, and word wall words, as well as other literacy skills.  You can use highlighter tape, vis-à-vis markers, pointers, word-swatters, etc. to complete the activities.  These are the same activities that the students will complete at home for homework.  I have the students place a copy of the poem inside their “I Can Read” binder.  They take this binder home each night, except for Fridays.  Each morning, I check their binders by writing OK or stamping next to their parents’ initials.

I like to use a 1” poly binder for my “I Can Read” binders.  The poly binders seem to hold up much better to everyday wear and tear, and normally last throughout the year.  We usually order them from School Specialty, as their poly is a little bit thicker and more durable.  Our PTO purchases these binders for every kindergartener.  We are so lucky!  However, in the past, I would transfer all the poems into a three-prong folder at the end of the year so that I could reuse the binders the next year!  I’ve also used 1” poly binders from Target or Walmart, and have even asked for these on my supply list.  On the front of the binder, I attach a label with the student’s name.  I like to place packing tape overtop of the label so that it doesn’t peel off.

Inside the binder, I place the “I Can Read” cover, as shown below.  I laminate these for durability, or place them inside a sleeve protector.

Next, comes the parent note explaining how to use the “I Can Read” binder.

After the parent note, I insert the first poem including the homework option.  I copy them on the copy machine, but I took a picture of the colored version.  During the first few weeks of school, either myself or a volunteer will add the poems to the binders on Monday.  Once we’ve settled into a routine, I teach the students how to flip all of the pages, so they can add the new poem to the back.

If you do not send home homework or would rather use the poems inside a poetry binder or notebook, no problem!  I have included a copy of the poem in both color and black and white, as well as with and without homework options!  These poems can also be used as a shared reading, as well as placed in the students’ “I Can Read” or poetry binders!  You can write the lyrics on chart paper, display the poem using your document camera or IWB, or use the included word cards inside a pocket chart.  The word cards can also be used in your poetry center!  Plus, I've included a weekly lesson plan for every poem!

There is so much to keep you, the kiddos, and the poem going strong all week long! 

So far, I have five months finished!

Here's a little sneak peek at some of my January poems, pocket chart cards, weekly lessons, and extension activities!

I went ahead and bundled all of my I Can Read Poetry Binder packs into a "growing bundle."  It's discounted, while I continue adding the rest of the months!  If you haven't been using poetry in your classroom, what better time to begin than with the New Year?!?!
Click on the picture to head over to see a preview of this pack!
My kiddos seriously love their "I Can Read" poetry binders!  They are always so excited to see the new poem on Monday!  It's so fun to hear them read and sing the poems throughout the week and all year long!  Plus, I love that it reinforces the skills we have learned in the classroom!

Don't forget to grab this freebie to make transitioning back to school a little easier!

Here's to a new year, new ideas, and new possibilities!
Head over to Primary Possibilities for more ideas and possibilities!
Now, swing on over to Teaching Momster to see what she has in store for the new year and grab her freebie!

Happy New Year!  May 2015 be the best year yet!


  1. What a cute CVC freebie! Happy New Year and thanks for joining us for the hop!

    1. Thanks, Tammy! Happy New Year to you too! I look forward to many more hops!

  2. I love using poetry in my kindergarten classroom! Your binder looks like a great way to organize it! I would love to see the CVC game but it keeps telling me the link is broken :( Happy New Year!
    Crayons & Cuties In Kindergarten

    1. I LOVE using poetry in my classroom! It is great practice for reading fluency, phonemic awareness skills, concepts of print, and word wall words! Glad you were able to download the CVC game! Enjoy!

  3. Cute game and your poetry binder looks amazing! Happy New Year!
    Burke's Special Kids

    1. Thank you, Sebrina! My kiddos seriously love their I Can Read Poetry Binders! Happy New Year to you too!

  4. Ashley, Great idea with the poetry binders. Do you send just poetry binders home for homework? I assume you send little books home too for them to read nightly? Or do you do something completely different?