Poetry: The Music of Language and Learning. Michael Strickland at Massachusetts Reading Association

From Poetry Power Hour Friday April 28, 2023:

Start with simple poems: Begin with poems that have simple language and structures, such as nursery rhymes or rhyming poems. These can help students understand the basic concepts of poetry.

First Book, by Linda Kulp

Contagious, by Brod Bagert

Practice, Practice, Practice, by David Harrison

Families, Families, by Michael and Dorothy Strickland from Families: Poems Celebrating the African American Experience.

Compact Disc, by Michael Strickland, from Poems That Sing to You.

Andre, by Gwendolyn Brooks from Families: from Poems Celebrating the African American Experience

Pretty, by Nikki Grimes from Families: Poems Celebrating the African American Experience

The Drum, by Nikki Giovanni from Families: Poems Celebrating the African American Experience


Choose poems that make children say: “Yes, that’s just how I felt “

Two of a Kind, by Nikki Grimes from Words With Wings

Mom Is Wow, by Julia Fields from Families: Poems Celebrating the African American Experience

Things by Eloise Greenfield


Choose poems that are lively, with exciting meters and rhythms.

Rock n Roll Band by Shel Silverstein, from Poems That Sing To You

Dream Boogie by Langston Hughes

Boom Box Bart, by Michael Strickland found in My Own Song and Other Poems to Groove To

Fiddler from Sassili Street, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich found in My Own Song and Other Poems to Groove To

Russian Dance, found in Poems That Sing To You.


Other selections.

911 by Michael Salinger

Rambo Teacher by Brod Bagert

“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

Youth by David McCord


You can purchase autographed copies of Michael Strickland books at this Human Rights Collective fundraiser.


Here are more tips for elementary and middle school teachers for using poetry with students:

  1. Read aloud a variety of poems. This is a great way to introduce students to different types of poetry and to get them excited about reading and writing poetry. Make sure to choose poems that are appropriate for your students’ age and interests.
  2. Have students discuss the poems they read. This will help them to understand the poems on a deeper level and to develop their critical thinking skills. Encourage students to share their thoughts and feelings about the poems, and to ask questions.
  3. Have students write their own poems. This is a great way for students to express themselves creatively and to develop their writing skills. Provide students with different prompts and activities to help them get started.
  4. Create a poetry-friendly classroom environment. This means displaying poems around the classroom, reading poems aloud during class, and encouraging students to share their own poems with each other.
  5. Celebrate poetry! This could involve hosting a poetry reading, creating a poetry journal, or simply taking some time to appreciate the beauty of poetry.

In addition:

  • Use different types of poetry, such as narrative, descriptive, and lyrical poems.
  • Teach students about the different elements of poetry, such as rhythm, rhyme, and imagery.
  • Encourage students to experiment with different forms of poetry, such as haiku, cinquain, and free verse.
  • Provide students with opportunities to share their poems with others.
  • Make poetry fun!

And see: Language and Literacy: The Poetry Connection by Dorothy and Michael Strickland



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