Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PFAMS Book Give-Away

Send us your favorite quote about poetry (50 words or less) for a chance to receive a free copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (PFAMS). Here are a few poetry quotes we already love (so they’re off limits!):

Poetry teaches us the power of a few words.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. 

Carl Sandburg

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.

Emily Dickinson

In looking at some apparently small object, one feels the swirl of great events.
William Carlos Williams

For what is a poem but a hazardous attempt at self-understanding: it is the deepest part of autobiography.
Robert Penn Warren

Poetry is most poetry when it makes noise.
Donald Hall

When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.
John F. Kennedy

Poetry—the best words in their best order.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before. 

Audre Lorde

* * * * * * * * * *

We challenge you to send us your favorite, most unique and pithy poetry quotes.
Send your name, mailing address, and email address along with your poetry quote to:

Deadline: March 21, 2013 (11:59pm CST)

Winners will be notified via email.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Now available

Middle School Language Arts teachers have been borrowing the K-5 version of The Poetry Friday Anthology ever since it came out last September, but now it’s time to celebrate: we have a Middle School version just for you!

Look for The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (PFAMS) available in two editions: connecting with Common Core poetry standards or with the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) poetry standards in Texas. This book contains 110 poems for Grades 6-8, with popular step-by-step Take 5! poetry lessons for each poem that address skills and requirements for English Language Arts and Reading.


The 110 poems in this book represent the work of 71 of the best poets who are writing for young people, including: Naomi Shihab Nye, Jack Prelutsky, Joyce Sidman, J. Patrick Lewis, Marilyn Singer, Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and Georgia Heard. Poems cover a wide variety of topics, such as soccer, community service, and visiting a panadería.

A growing number of school districts have adopted The Poetry Friday Anthology to make it easy for teachers to teach poetry. Poetry is the best genre to use with reluctant readers and writers and is found with increasing frequency on standardized tests.  Check it out and help us spread the word!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sample Poem Page

Here's a sample of a page from the book. It features the poem,  "Fear Factor" by Sara Holbrook, which is slated for 7th Grade, Week 33, highlighting personification.

Sample Page with Take 5 Activities

Here is the page from the book that accompanies Sara Holbrook's poem, "Fear Factor." These "Take 5" activities offer suggestions for how to share the poem with students (and weaves in a standards-based skill activity in step #4).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Word Cloud for "Bombardier Beetle"

If you are sharing "Consider the Bombardier Beetle" by Jane Yolen (found in Week 6 for Grade 6), here is a sample "word cloud" or "wordle"made up of the words of this poem. Try making your own, since each word cloud offers a new arrangement of words. Try Wordle or Tagxedo, for example.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Use This Book

The Poetry Friday Anthology includes a poem a week for the whole school year (6-8) with curriculum connections provided for each poem, each week, each grade level. Just five minutes every “Poetry Friday” will reinforce key skills in reading and language arts such as rhyme, repetition, rhythm, alliteration, etc. Here you’ll find:

•    36 original poems for Sixth Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)
•    36 original poems for Seventh Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)
•    36 original poems for Eighth Grade (with mini-lessons for each poem)

That's a poem a week every week from August through May!

However, since it’s March and not August, we offer three alternative ways to use this book this year.

1.    Choose your desired grade level (6, 7, or 8), open the book and start with the poem for Week 1 of your grade level. Then continue sharing a poem every Friday until the end of the school year. You won’t use all the poems in the book, but you’ll share plenty of new poems and build a dozen key poetry skills or more. (Then in August, you can start again with Week 1 and use ALL the poems across the school year.)

2.     Choose your desired grade level (6, 7, or 8) and look for Week 27. Share the poem and activities you find there. Why Week 27? That’s where your colleagues in grades K-5 will be, if they are also using The Poetry Friday Anthology (K-5). This way you can maximize connections across all the grades with all the students experiencing poems on the same theme, one theme per week.

3.    Or focus your energies on a big splash for National Poetry Month. Choose your desired grade level (6, 7, or 8), open the book and start with the poem for Week 1 of your grade level. Then continue sharing a poem every DAY, instead of one per week. That’s 22 poems for 22 weekdays in the month of April. Then keep sharing the rest of the poems, one every Friday (or more often) till the end of the school year.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


The Poetry Friday Anthology is unique for two main reasons:

1. It features a year's worth of new original poems for every grade level 6-8, with a poem per week by some of the best poets writing for young people. [See the complete list of poets in the sidebar on the right.]

2. Every poem in every grade level is also paired with learning activities that are anchored in the Common Core standards (or TEKS standards in Texas).

Take 5
One of the most significant features of The Poetry Friday Anthology is the inclusion of standards-based mini-lessons for each poem at every grade level (6-8). We call that the "Take 5" component with five activities related to the poem. You're welcome to use some, all, or none of these activities, but they provide a starting place for presenting the poem and connecting with curriculum standards. The Take 5 components also follow a regular pattern: they include guidance on reading the poem aloud, a creative way to engage students in presenting the poem, a discussion prompt, a skill focus, and a link to another related poem or poetry book. In just five minutes, you can lead a poetry break that is enjoyable, meaningful, participatory, and skill-based.

Why Friday?
Why does The Poetry Friday Anthology focus on Friday? 

In 2006, blogger Kelly Herold brought Poetry Friday to the “kidlitosphere.” Much like “casual Friday” in the corporate world, there is a perception in the world of literature that on Fridays we should relax a bit and take a moment for something special. 

Why not bring the Poetry Friday concept into your classroom and take five minutes every Friday to share a poem and explore it a bit, connecting it with students’ lives and capitalizing on a teachable moment? Pausing to share a poem—and reinforce a language skill—on Poetry Friday is an easy way to infuse poetry into your current teaching practice.
Yes, of course you can share poetry on other days of the week too—and we hope that you will! But for those who are not already teaching poetry regularly, planning for Poetry Friday makes poetry sharing intentional and not incidental. Get your own copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology now-- and tell a colleague about it and about pausing to celebrate Poetry Fridays.