Choosing a Topic
Since poetry is so near and dear to the soul, I wanted to make sure students were allowed a choice of topics. In order to do that, students needed a list of topics to choose from, therefore… another paper chat! This time, I had students brainstorm possible poem topics. I gave them these prompts on different posters:
- What makes you angry or upset?
- What worries you? What are you scared or afraid of?
- What makes you sad?
- What do you love?
- What do you find beautiful?
Once we finished “chatting”, I handed out the Topic Proposal Paragraph handout. I told them we already came up with ideas on the posters, so they did not have to fill out the column on the right. (I included it as an alternate activity for brainstorming other than the paper chat.)
I told the students to think carefully when narrowing down their topic choices! It is a lot easier to write about a topic that you are passionate and know a lot about.
Topic Proposal Paragraph
In sixth grade, we are still focusing a lot on improving our paragraphs, so I provided an example for students to use as a guide. I had them write two paragraphs using the template on the back, one about their first choice and one about their second choice.
Afterwards, I collected the paragraphs and sorted students into teams of 3 to 5. I quickly realized that some students chose topics that no one else was interested in, or I had a lot of students choosing the same topics. Here are some suggestions for those issues:
- If there are no matches for a student’s first or second choice, I offered the student a choice: work independently or choose a different topic. Although…
- I tried to avoid groups of one or two in case of absences. (Collaboration is a huge part of the project.)
- Groups of 5 worked fine enough, however, it was hard for them to share resources at times.
- For popular topics such as bullying, I broke up students into several smaller groups which seemed to work pretty well. (I had three groups of three).
Next up in my Poetry Project series, I’ll explain how teams met and began the next step of the design process… imagining! In the meantime, stay tuned!
Here are the resources for my Poetry Project Part 2:
Poetry Project Part 2 – Lesson Plan (Google Slides)
Poetry Project Part 2- Topic Proposal Paragraph (PDF handout)