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  • Writer's pictureKellie Burke

Engaging Students in the Library with Poetry Stations

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

A flexible lesson or program that is perfect for collaboration with English classes.

green type writer with a piece of white paper to the left of it. "Engaging Students with Poetry Stations" is typed on the paper, in black.

The poetry stations were created to support the 7th and 8th grade English teams, who were both doing units on poetry at the same time. My co-librarian and I to'ok this as a great opportunity to bring those classes into the library to engage in student-centered activities while also offering flexibility to teachers. Hence, stations which allowed us to shorten or extend time, as well as switch out activities based on the class' needs.

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.

A wooden desk with a Magnetic poetry board and pieces in a yellow tray.
Station 1: 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!

Station 2: Haikus

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.

Station 3: 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.

A pile of magazines on a table with directions for cutting out words to make magazine poetry.

Station 4: 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.

Station 5: 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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