Poetry Friday: Class Poetry Anthology

December 16th, 2011

Instead of bringing you a poem on this Poetry Friday, we are going to share a classroom tip from Ann Marie Corgill’s book, Of Primary Importance: What’s Essential in Teaching Young Writers. In this excerpt, Ann Marie shares how she creates a class poetry anthology with her students.

A collage of second-grade poetry. This collage became the cover for our class poetry anthology.

As a final poetry project a few years back, my students and I put together a class poetry anthology. Included in this poetry anthology were typed copies of each child’s poem. This project provided an authentic way to showcase
the final pieces of an entire class of young poets, and this book was a great gift for parents, administrators, and students at the end of the study. Long after the poetry study was over, students, teachers, and family members returned to this anthology on the shelves of classrooms, offi ces, and home libraries. The anthologies I’ve since created with other classes have also been a great model for new classes and new students as we begin the next year’s poetry study. Children learn lots from the writing of their peers, and this book houses class sets of writing by former students of equal age to my new class of students.

Materials Needed

  • White copy paper (8 ½” X 11″)
  • Glossy photo paper
  • Computer, digital camera, printer
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Pencils
  • Fine-tip permanent markers
  • Crayons
  • Colored card stock (enough for the entire class to have a front and back cover oneach individual book)
  • Plastic ring binding/binding machine
  • Clear plastic presentation covers (to protect the front and back covers of the anthology)
  • Color copier (or class donation money to make color copies at local copy center)

Tips and Techniques

*Depending on the age of your students, their profi ciency with word processing, or the time you’ve allotted to this project, you make the decision whether students type their poems or someone else—a parent volunteer, teaching assistant, or teacher—does the typing.

*It’s visually interesting and more appealing to the eye of the reader when every poem is typed in a different font—or a font that matches the mood, tone, or feeling of the piece. It also gives each child more ownership and adds a touch of original quality to each piece.

*Before putting the poems together in book form, each child is given the final typed piece of his or her poem. Since color copying is so expensive, I ask the children to illustrate their pieces like the pictures in a coloring book. We first draw in whisper writing, and then the children outline their pencil drawing in black fi ne-tip permanent markers (so that the illustrations will show clearly on each poem when copied).

*Not only do the children have a typed poem for the anthology, they have also previously published this same exact poem on a poetry poster to hang in the school. This poster was illustrated with watercolor and oil pastels.

*In the years I’ve made the poetry anthology with students, I’ve simplified the project a bit, and rather than writing completely new poems, the students used previously published poetry to be included in the anthology. It’s up to you and your class of students to decide whether you’ll use the same poems published as poetry posters or create entirely new poems for an anthology.

*Through class fund money or parent donations (or me saying it’ll be a tax write-off and paying for the copies myself), we are able to make a color copy of the cover for each child’s anthology.

*After enough copies of the book are made so that each individual student will have his or her own copy, they are bound using the school binding machine with plastic ring binding (found at most offi ce supply stores).

*Each child then has an opportunity to add color inside to each poem or to just a few selected poems. Their color choices for the inside poems make each child’s book unique and personal.

Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Linda Baie  |  December 16th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Great keepsake for the children. The idea is beautifully thought out and should be an activity for all ages to enjoy. I imagine it also resulted in some terrific sharing and celebration, too.

  • 2. Myra from GatheringBooks  |  December 16th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    With patience, dedication, and lovelovelove – you get something as fabulous and as Linda noted ‘beautifully thought out’ such as this project. The kids must have loved seeing all their hard work come alive through the anthology. 🙂

  • 3. Tabatha  |  December 16th, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Thanks for laying this out. I like the idea of making the posters, too.

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