April 17, 2017

Facing Your Fears...A Poetry Activity Freebie

After digging through my office, I found this gem of an idea using Maya Angelou's poem, Life Doesn't Frighten Me. I remember doing this activity shortly after Maya Angelou's death. It seemed very apropos at the time. Thinking about it...it's a great way for the kids to self-reflect and get their fears and how they are going to conquer them on paper.

Here's what I did: I showed the poem written by Maya Angelou under the ELMO projector and my students saw it on the SmartBoard.

We read through the poem together once, just for fun. During the second read, we started to dissect the poem. (You can even turn this into a close reading and annotating of the poem.)

After the discussion, I modeled for them how to fill out the poem organizer. I sent them off to work on their organizers. Once the majority of them were finished with their organizers, I modeled for them how we were going to write the poem.

We talked about how our poems were going to be formatted:
Stanza 1: my fears
Stanza 2: my fears
Stanza 3: what I’m not afraid of
Stanza 4: what I’m not afraid of
Stanza 5: how to get rid of my fears

**As I went over the stanzas, I always referred back to the poem and talked about how this is our mentor poem. {Mentor poems help poets, like us, make our own poems better. In this case, our mentor poem is helping us format our poems.}

I wrote my poem in front of my students, but you could definitely have this written beforehand to save time. 


Students can draft their poems in their writer’s notebook, on loose leaf paper, or they can use the poem outline. I had my students work on loose leaf paper and most were successful with it. 

To publish, I gave them a blank sheet of drawing paper. They wrote their poem, down the middle, first. I had them draw a bubble around the poem and illustrate items from their poem on the outside of the bubble. 
Here are some examples of student work:

I spruced all the materials up for this pack!

It includes the poem, Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, Teaching Notes, a poem organizer and outline. 

You can get it Here.

What hidden gems have you found lately?

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