Teaching Writing

Puny Poetry Meets Its Match


What can we do when confronted with the challenge of helping young poets develop an awareness of the expressive power of poetry as opposed to rhyming lines that that often convey little meaning? By sharing a series of scaffolded strategies illustrated with multiple examples of student writing, the authors tell the story of how they changed their teaching and supported students in exploring poetry and creating sophisticated works of self-expression. This resource offers excellent ideas for professional development related to teaching poetry within a reading/writing workshop approach.



Root canal is a simple, painless process compared to cajoling these students to rewrite or revise these pieces. To them, the poem is done and no amount of educated teacher prodding is going to make a difference. We began wondering why we were pushing students to revise. Whatever it was they were trying to say, they said. There is no meaning, no message, nothing expressed here beyond simple wordplay.

But what about those times students had real feelings to express and no other poetry voice to use?