Halloween is coming around the corner and you want something both spook-tacular and educational for your students.
We have your back!
Scare up your English class by writing poetry influenced by the spooky and eerie.
Gloria Chaika, a middle school teacher in New Orleans, uses poetry writing “as a reward for hard work, as a break-away day, as something special.”
Pick several humorous poems with a definite rhythm or beat (many students love Shel Siverstein's work). After reading several to the class, reread one, having the students clap each time they hear an accented syllable. Repeat this with several different poems until they are more comfortable.
Using the ‘Suzuki Method’
Another way to teach poetry writing to students is to use the suzuki method that is usually used to teach music, which train students to have music already in their minds before playing.
When giving examples of poetry, ask students to look at the rhyme scheme, choice of topic, choice of adjectives or verbs, etc., anything that makes the poem special. Begin to write poetry using triplets and quatrains, three- and four- line poems. Start with aaa or aba rhyme schemes for the triplets and aaaa and abcb schemes for the quatrains.
Go around desk to desk while students are writing to read their work and offer advice or appreciate their poetry.
At the end of the lesson, you could read aloud some of their poetry while pointing out what you felt made them special.
After practicing with the above poetry forms, introduce your students to epitaphs, which are two-line poems in aa rhyme scheme.
Begin with writing on the board and reading a few epitaphs by professionals and some written by students their own age.
Then, you can start off your students by giving the template “Here lies ---, who ---” and ask them to choose an activity that they like doing. Have them look at all the words that rhyme with that word in rhyming dictionaries.
Practice writing epitaphs, and finish the activity by having students write their best epitaphs in large print on white paper. They can cut off the edges of the paper so that it looks like a tombstone.
Display the epitaphs around the room as Halloween decoration!