Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Poems for Assessment

Middle School students are often the most emotional, imaginative, and creative kids around.  They are struggling with all of the new life experiences that surround them, and more importantly, they are searching for a way to let it all out.  For some, writing poetry can be that release!

Poetry writing has long been an incredible form of therapy for the soul, but in our classrooms, it can also be a form of assessment.  With so many options for how to write poetry, it can be done in very effective ways to demonstrate student understanding or to show student processing of content or a subject-area concept.

ere are a few suggestions for using poetry in your class for assessment:
  • When studying significant people, whether dead of alive, students can create fact filled Epitaphs or Biographical Poems.  Provide a template or allow students to research the purpose of each prior to writing, and set requirements to meet the standards of your course.
  • Examine important events or subjects by using Haikus. This Japanese art form has long helped people connect their thoughts to events, and students can use this short format for writing concise summaries.
  • Another great tool for examining time periods, unit topics, or themes is the Acrostic Poem.  This easy to use template format can help students detail their topics while processing and extending information into a cohesive flow.
  • For the very creative, encourage the creation of a Shaped Poem, allowing art and knowledge to meet for an assessment like no other!
Whether you utilize templates or allow your students to free verse their way to your heart, the opportunity to write poetry for assessment may open doors for some students who have had challenges with writing in the past.  More importantly, it may be the encouragement some need to inspire them to learn and participate more in your class!

Happy Teaching!

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