Blackbird & Company has a poetry unit study that I taught to my 12 year old son, his friend of the same age, and my 10 year old daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed the unit, and at the end, the kids didn’t want to be done. It was perfectly age-appropriate for these kids (who, for what it’s worth, are all reading well above grade level).
From the site description of the unit:
“Reading and writing poetry expands the boundaries of the imagination and intellect. Students who engage in writing poetry will develop confidence in their voice, strengthen their ability to communicate new ideas, and convey observations of their world.
Incorporating both analytic and creative exercises to spark the poet inside of your student, the Exploring Poetry guides:
- Introduce students to the poet’s kit of tools
- Provide creative opportunities to practice poetic expression
- Reveal connections between poetry and prose
- Develop the poet’s unique voice
- Explore the diverse potential of language”
I love the book selections. They are both eye-catching and enjoyable to read, both for students and for me as the teacher. In addition, they offer a wide variety of poetry examples combined with words of advice from the poets themselves, without morally objectionable material (important to me as a Christian parent).
I wish there were more hands on multi-sensory type activities. While the writing exercises are both valuable and applicable, I wish there were experiential activities that incorporated more than fill-in-the-blank style response. That said, I did appreciate the opportunity and exhortation to write, write, write. That the advice came from the poets themselves was even better; this approach is not textbook-ish, but draws the student into the heart of the poet who’s just captured their interest through their writing.
The cost is $48 for the set and includes the textbook, three poetry books, a set of art cards to use for stimulating creativity, and a student journal. While this is very reasonable for what you get, the curriculum is only written for seven weeks. This would be quite pricey to repeat several times during the school year. That said, the poetry books themselves are books we would keep on our library shelves for repeat pleasure reading. We did not get The Aspiring Poet’s Journal, but upon reading the description online, I would purchase it for the next go-round. It’s a guided journal designed to help students actively write and practice the ideas and principles addressed in this thorough and enjoyable curriculum.
You can find this and other solid literature studies at http://www.blackbirdandcompany.com.
-You can find Angela blogging at Dancing with my Father.