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I'm Kellie, an avid reader and school librarian who loves sharing and talking about books.As a middle school librarian I get to spend my days doing just that, while also enjoy discovering the perfect books to share with my friends. Ms. Burke's Books is a continuation of that, a place where I can offer my honest opinions on the books I read and hopefully help match you to your new favorite book!

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Engaging Students in the Library with Poetry Stations

In January both the 7th and 8th grade English teams were doing their poetry unit, so we knew we wanted to support them with something in the library. My co-librarian and I decided to create poetry stations that would engage students while also offering flexibility to teachers. Depending on how they were doing with pacing, some teachers only wanted to pop in for 15 minutes while others scheduled the entire period. For librarians who aren't on a fixed schedule and are dealing with classes that don't want to give up entire periods due to pacing, this really worked out well for us! 

We set up the 5 following stations, with directions at each and walked around to help students get started. We had a lot of support materials, too.

Magnetic Poetry

We ordered kits in English and Spanish, as we have a large number of Spanish speakers. We also got small magnetic easels and trays to put the magnets in; important to keep some semblance of order at this station! Some students were told to write down their creations for their teacher but most it was just to play around with. We had to move many along to try other stations because they just wanted to stay here! 


We used this worksheet from Poetry4Kids, which I'd recommend because it is simple with clear rules of haikus and an example. We also put a book with haikus out so students could read some more examples; this was one of the more challenging types of poems for them to write, though it went fast once they got it.

Acrostic Poems

Another worksheet from Poetry4Kids was used for this station- for high school it may be too simple, but it definitely helped our middle schoolers who weren't quite sure what to do. 

Blackout Poetry

We printed out book excerpts in English and in Spanish, along with black markers and color markers. I did an example so that students could see a model using the same excerpts they had, which I think helped them visualize what they were supposed to do. This was one of the stations that took longer.

Magazine Poetry

We put a pile of older magazines out, with some white paper, glue sticks, and scissors. Students were to cut out words or phrases to then paste on the paper to create a poem. This one needed the most supervision as it turned out to be the messiest. We also had to redirect a few students who were just cutting out pictures, especially a group making collages of Harry Styles (we removed the J-14 magazines after this as it was too tempting for teenagers). This station was also longer.

For the classes that spent the entire period they ended up going to all the stations; others only did 2-3. After explaining what they were going to do we handed them a number of which station to start at. We found that some stations took a lot longer than others, so instead of doing a fixed amount of time at each we just guided the students when they were done to another station. For some of the larger classes this was tricky but it did give students who were really focused to not be interrupted and the ones who were getting squirrely to keep moving.

Did it go smoothly for every class? Of course not. Some students were not engaged, others had trouble staying focused or on task. But overall I think the students enjoyed moving around, trying different ways to creating poetry, and having the chance to play around with the magnets or art. 


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