This year on Moving Writers, I’ve spotlighted re-reads of some older books about writing, and not all of them by teachers. Together, we examined the writer’s inner life with the poet Ted Hughes, practiced memory writing with the book Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively, and honed our questions for conferring with the wonderful Barry Lane.
This month, I’d like to offer you a guided tour of my new book about writing. It’s called Poetry Pauses: Teaching With Poems to Elevate Student Writing in All Genres.
Year of Publication: 2023
Length: 208 pages
How does this fit my theme for this year of all things made new?
Teaching poetry and teaching with poems is not a new concept for teachers of writing. But what you may never have considered before is this: How can poetry help your students to improve their craft in those argument essays your curriculum dictates? How can poems lead us to improve our brainstorms, to write better scenes in our narratives, to write research that is not just factual but gripping? How can punctuation and editing skills be reinforced with poetry?
Chapter by chapter, this book will show you how to slip more poetry into the nooks of your teaching practice and help students become more skilled, inventive, and perceptive writers.
Join me on a tour!
First things first: the table of contents below shows the variety of methods embedded in the book, and you can read the introduction for free here.
Each chapter comes loaded with lists of poems, so while I demonstrate how a specific poem can help to build a specific skill, everyone’s classroom and tastes are different, so any idea gives you a list of back-up poems that would work well for the activity.
Even better, these lists are digitized and available via the link libraries for each chapter found on the book’s companion website. In many cases, QR codes in the book take you right to these poetry lists!
Student samples abound, so you can get a feel for how students might respond when you embed a poetry pause in your writing process for a writing unit.
There is even a chapter that shows how students can use Plutchik’s wheel of human emotions to track development through an independent reading novel and eventually lead to literary analysis of the theme of the book, an idea I first explored in this 2020 post on Moving Writers.
The last chapter looks at how poetry can contribute to a healthy literacy routine in English class, a true love letter to the way poetry feeds both the mind and the soul. This matters for students AND their teachers right now.
There is an appendix full of strategies to streamline and scaffold lessons so that we can meet the needs of all of our students as we pause for poetry, and this is a list you will find helpful for any lessons in the ELA classroom. New teachers will love this list!
In short, I am thrilled to share this book, two years in the making, with teachers of writing everywhere. It takes something old — poetry — and brings it to you with a fresh new lens for teaching.
While this book will get your students writing poetry in their notebooks, it is not a book ABOUT writing poetry. Rather, it shows how the rough-and-tumble process of crafting words into something beautiful can help writers learn almost every writing skill we need them to learn and meet the standards we need them to meet.
If you want to join a summer book study of this book, Oona Abrams is organizing one right now. If your school or district is looking to organize their own work with the book or interested in hosting a speaker about the teaching of writing, please reach out to me via my website or on Twitter.
I am grateful for how Moving Writers has helped me shape my own writing; without it, I’m not sure this book could have happened. In fact, Rebekah O’Dell was one of the first people who saw the early drafts and helped me find the shape and form the book would eventually take.
For some past posts about how poems can help all of our students, you may find the links below of interest, though they cover different territory than the book.
Learning From Poems: Grand Finales
My book, Poetry Pauses: Teaching with Poems to Elevate Student Writing in All Genres is now available from Corwin Press or on Amazon. Tell me in the comments if how you are already using ideas from this book, or how you plan to in the coming school year! You can connect with me on Twitter @theVogelman or at my website www.brettvogelsinger.com
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