Teachers looking to bring some excitement into writing poetry need look no farther than Theme Poems, an interactive computer tool on ReadWriteThink.org
Theme Poems uses colorful shapes to inspire students to write about subjects they love or topics that align with classroom lessons. The interactive is also a fun way for parents to keep creative writing skills fresh after school or during the summer.
The Theme Poems interactive begins with a lively animation that asks students to type in their name. When the students click on “Continue,” they are instructed to select a theme. Theme Poems features 32 objects divided into five categories: nature, school, sports, celebrations, and shapes. The objects include sun, raindrop, flower, tree, leaf, fish, cloud, moon, apple, book, bus, computer, bell, softball, football, pom-pom, basketball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, sneaker, heart, balloon, flag, gift, cake, square, circle, triangle, diamond, rectangle, and star. Students can click “Back” to redo a step at any point.
After students select a theme, they are asked to type words that remind them that this object inspires. This step encourages students to develop brainstorming and planning skills used in creative writing.
When students click “Continue,” the Theme Poems screen shows a picture of the object, the words that they entered on the previous screen, and spaces to write the poem text and title. Students simply type in these fields to write their poems.
When finished, Theme Poems creates an 8 ½” by 11” document with the students’ name, poem title, and poem in the object that the student chose. The magnifying glass icon enlarges the image of the document for previewing ease. This document can be printed, downloaded, shared via e-mail, or saved for later. ReadWriteThink produced an instructional video about saving files for those who need assistance.
Theme Poems offers many lesson ideas for teachers interested in including poetry in their plans or incorporating poetry into other subject areas. The shapes can be used to write poems about geometry for math units. Nature objects can be used for science units. Sports objects can be used for Field Day, and the flag object can be used for Memorial Day, Flag Day, and the 4th of July. Teacher and parents can use celebrations objects such as the balloon, heart, or cake for birthdays, Father’s Day, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day. As mentioned before, it is a fantastic interactive for fighting the “summer slide” along with the Poetic Memories of Summer activity from ReadWriteThink’s Bright Ideas for Summer initiative.
ReadWriteThink also offers lesson plans from teachers using poetry interactives. Illinois teacher Janet Beyersdorfer shared a lesson entitled “Theme Poems: Writing Extraordinary Poems About Ordinary Objects,” and Michigan teacher Lisa Domke posted her “Theme Poems: Using the Five Senses” lesson.
Teacher Jennifer Altieri presented many ways to use ReadWriteThink poetry activities in interesting ways in her session entitled “Creating Powerful Poetry Using Mathematical Concepts” at the 2012 IRA Annual Convention.
To produce poems in the shape of a diamond, visit ReadWriteThink’s Diamonte Poems interactive.
The International Reading Association partners with the National Council of Teachers of English and Verizon Thinkfinity to produce ReadWriteThink.org, a website devoted to providing literacy instruction and interactive resources for grades K–12. ReadWriteThink presents teachers with effective lesson plans and strategies, a professional community, and engaging online interactive student tools.