This past week has been anything but calm! The school year is in full swing and I am the first to admit that it is pulling me in thousands of directions. I apologize for the late post on our poem fluency routine!
As a sixth grade teacher, the idea of fluency practice in the classroom is rarely discussed. Primary grades have their own system and I feel that intermediate grades forget to bring this important aspect into the classroom! We’re focused on higher level skills, etc. but fluency is still a critical component of a balanced reading program. If I expect my students to read with intonation, phrasing, and pace when they speak in front of others, I need to make sure this is still integrated into my daily practice. However, I love to do activities where my students don’t even realize they’re learning!
I love to use poems to practice fluency because:
- It’s quick!
- It’s engaging!
- It gets students moving (and I LOVE when students are moving)!
- Students are quickly comfortable talking in front of people. By the end of the school year when they give their 3-5 minute solo TED talk in my classroom the anxiety level has come down!
- Exposure to poetry gets us in the routine of analysis.
I’m sure there are many great ways to use poetry as a fluency practice and I would love to hear what you do! Here is how our routine works:
Day 1: Introduce poem by modeling for students. We annotate the poem with symbols: Ear: words/phrases that sound good, Eye: words/phrases we can visualize, Cloud: makes us predict, LOL: funny part, Heart: favorite part, Question mark: confusing part, Exclamation point: surprising part, Star: Important part. You could always focus on the specific skill you want students to utilize and just annotate for that skill.
After our close reading, I will say a line and students will repeat. We always snap three times at the end so it feels like an authentic poetry reading! Then I say “split” and students move around the room to find one or two people the want to perform the poem with for that week. Students practice in their groups just for 1 minute!
Day 3: Same routine as Day 2 but I remind students to start thinking about their motions, and where they will perform in the room.
Day 4: Same routine as Day 2 and 3 and I remind students to “think outside the box!” I love seeing their creativity take flight.
Day 5: Fluency day! This takes about 10 minutes depending on how many groups I have. The students love performing in front of each other and seeing the creative interpretations. I’ve had groups perform with the lights off, using instruments, reading the lines backwards, bringing in costumes, props, etc. Their creativity is amazing!
Keep it simple, keep it short, and keep it engaging!
I always start the school year with this poem: A Parade
Other poems I use come from the Grades 3-4 and Grades 5-6 Scholastic Poetry Fluency Book and other student favorites. You can also check out Grades 1-2 for learning support students, ELL, or primary grades.
I hope this gives you a better idea of how I use poetry in the classroom to practice fluency!
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