Painting the School With Poetry

With poetry month coming to a close, my 5th graders and I brainstormed ways to share our love of poetry with our school community. We thought about recording ourselves reciting poems for younger students to enjoy or curating a digital collection of our favorite poems we’ve written and enjoyed during the year. And while we may still do those things, we decided that the best way to get people to pay attention to and enjoy poetry is to post poems all over the school!

So, on Friday, April 23, we walked the halls with laminated poems in hand and a roll of masking tape and posted poems in high traffic areas. I coined us the “Poetry Possy” strutting down the hallway filled with purpose and pride.

Poetry Pose heads down the hall to post their poetry!

To prepare for this moment, we devoted two weeks to writing new poems on school topics as well as combing through the poems we’d written and enjoyed all year selecting those we most wanted to publish.

Our process went like this:

1. We brainstormed poetry topics that related to school. A few include practicing kindness, recess, lunch, gym, music, art, reading, and math.

2. We brainstormed poetry topics to draw attention to places in the school: a poem about recycling to post above the recycling bin, a poem about washing your hands for the bathroom, a poem about learning your ABCs for the kindergarten wing.

3. We wrote and wrote! Some students choose to write form poetry and others free verse. Each student wrote a poem with a partner and then one on their own. They revised, edited, and neatly wrote or typed their final draft.

4. Students read through their collection of poems by published poets and selected their favorite from the year. They copied the poem, careful to stay true to line breaks and spacing, and then after writing the poet's name, included the words, “Loved by” followed by their names.

5. We mounted each poem with construction paper and then I laminated each.

Student places her poem on recycling by the recycling bin.

My heart swelled with pride as I witnessed students’ joy and excitement as we placed each poem on the hallway walls. Students ran up to me exclaiming, “Ooh I know just where to place this one!” and off they went. I smiled as I watched some of my most hesitant poets thoughtfully affix their poems to a special spot. Perhaps knowing that their writing would be on display for all to see offered the motivation they needed to keep writing.

Even though poetry month is coming to a close, my fifth graders and I will keep on reading and writing poetry, going back to our routine of Poetry FriYay, until the last day of school and beyond!

This poems hangs it the bathroom where students can recite it while washing their hands to ensure they scrub long enough!

5 thoughts on “Painting the School With Poetry”

  1. Excuse me – I NEED TO BE IN YOUR CLASS! I don’t even know what my favorite is: “poetry possy” or school topics focus or walking around together to plaster poems on the walls or “Poetry FriYay” (can I steal that?!). Everything here is amazing, and I cannot wait to engage in more poetry next year with students. This is awesome – thank you for sharing!

  2. I love your term, Poetry Posse. Our after school book club did this for years and we handed out poems on Poem in Your Pocket Day. Reading your post brought back the joy of these celebrations.

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