The winter season is just a few weeks away, which means it’s an ideal time to beginning planning your literacy centers and curriculum to match the seasonal fun. What better way to bring excitement to the longest season of the year, WINTER, than poetry!
I’ve used the poem of the week format in my K-2 classrooms and now in my homeschool. Poetry is an ideal format for teaching a boatload of skills and standards without the burden of a ton of text. This format is simple for those who struggle with reading on grade level such as ELL kids or special needs learners. Simply poetry encourages auditory processing, rhyme recognition, and most of all, fluency.
Over the past two months, I created an enormous Winter Poem of the Week Unit that features a ton of skill-based word work and a ton of fun.
This pack features ten original poems with nine different activities and centers for each poem. Each poem follows the same two stanza format, so it’s easy for the kids to learn the poems by heart.
Now, let’s look deeper at this Winter Poem of the Week Unit. At the end of the post, there’s a link to test-drive a week for free.
First off, I recommend both the illustrated and pocket poems to start off your week each Monday. I had my students use a poetry binder, you could also use a folder. Spend about five minutes doing a shared reading. Use crazy voices. Try choral reading. Sing it. Act it out. Have fun!
Following the shared reading, invite the kids to watercolor or lightly color the illustrated poems with colored pencil. I don’t recommend using markers because the darker colors can interfere with the text. My favorite medium to use with my kids are watercolor pencils or crayons. The clean-up is minimal and the effect is gorgeous. These would make a lovely winter bulletin board display as well!
All of these custom illustrations were chosen to help the student anchor or visualize the major theme of each poem.
Here are the titles of the ten original poems:
- Animal Parade (a great way to review action words and act them out!)
- Bundle Up
- Brush Your Teeth (Perfect for Dental Health Month in February)
- Lost Mitten (to the tune of “Oh Where, Oh Where has my Little Dog gone)
- Martin Luther King Jr. (a heartwarming MUST-HAVE for our studies of this noble leader in January)
- Shoveling the Sidewalk (to the tune of Working on the Railroad)
- Sled Hill (to the tune of “On Top of Old Smoky”)
- Winter Blues
- Winter, Winter
The pocket poems will help the students commit the poem to memory “by heart” without illustration. Each week, students can add a poem to their book. Using a ring clip would allow for students to easily access the poems. These pocket poems are smaller than a half sheet of paper.
Now here’s a closer look at the literacy centers and activities that accompany each winter poem of the week. Each of the ten poems have the same centers, so students gain confidence and familiarity
Grammar Rainbow & Vowel and Consonant Quest Literacy Centers
Grammar Rainbow is inspired by Montessori’s teaching of grammar, which if you are curious one evening, I HIGHLY recommend you google. It will change the way you view grammar! Basically, the Montessori method of grammar assigns a colored shape to each part of speech. Children do their word analysis by placing the colored shape above sentence strips. Over time, students begin to see the patterns in grammar via the colored symbols.
We’ve simplified this process by only assigning the Montessori colors to the word work. For students who are more advanced, we have also given the additional colors and tips for differentiation in our pack.
Again borrowing from the brilliance of the Montessori literacy method, the Vowel and Consonant Quest center takes the famous blue and red color-coding from Montessori’s movable alphabet. This color-coding is a great fit for visual learner who will benefit from seeing the relationship and patterns between consonants and vowels.
Rhyme Time Literacy Center
In this literacy center, students search for the two rhyming pairs in each poem, and then they extend those rhymes! Have students make the rhyming words “glow” with yellow crayon or highlighters. I prefer crayon because it won’t smear!
This simple work covers many standards and skills. The left-to-right orientation of this page is also a good fit for developing visual scanning and finding the “evidence” in the text. Which, this skill, in a common core world, is standard practice!
Be a Copycat-Writing Center
Bring back the art of “copy work” to your classrooms. In the homeschool world, copy work is a mainstay. By calling this center, copycat-trust me…it works! It’s all in how we present things to kids.
Handwriting and cursive work still needs to be center-stage in our K-2 classrooms and homeschools, because study after study shows that handwriting trains the brain differently than just typing. Copywork of poems is an ideal fit for new writers, because the amount of text is minimal. Even students with dysgraphia and OT issues can handle the workload for this.
Visualize the Poem- Literacy Center
This center “hires” the students as the illustrators of the poem. It would make for good independent or early finisher work.
Word Detective- Cloze Strategy made fun! Just add a dollar store magnifying glass.
This activity can be used in one of two ways. Before you introduce the new poem of the week, the kids could use context clues to be a word detective and “guess the covered word”. Alternatively, you could use this as a center later in the week as independent work once the kids are somewhat familiar with the poem.
Scrambled Up Poems: Sequencing 8 lines
Last up, our scrambled up poems are a perfect center for later in the week, once the students have memorized and worked with the poem. Given that each of our ten poems have two stanzas with four lines each, this literacy center is a great activity to work on sequencing.
Now that you have seen each of the centers and activities for each poem from our Winter Poem of the Week Unit, head over to our TpT store to test drive an entire week of lessons and fun for FREE!
Save 30% off ALL four seasons: 35 weeks of NO PREP Centers and lessons.
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Time for winter fun,