Creative writing projects like poetry are a great way to help your students strengthen their creativity and critical thinking skills. And it’s not just for Language Arts teachers – science, social studies, and even math students can benefit from the process. There’s even evidence poetry helps students develop social emotional mindsets that get them through difficult life challenges.
What is poetry?
The term evolved from the Greek word for “making”, meaning that it is constructed—just like we ask students to construct essays, computer code, and projects in STEM classes. But the literary event or experience of a poem actually can be hard to put our finger on. Wallace Stevens considered poetry as “a revelation of words by means of the words.” Joseph Brodsky described poetry as “accelerated thinking.”
Beyond acrostic poems that many of us wrote in elementary school, we can use any of the nine types of poems to explore ideas related to current events, personal experiences, or topics related to our curriculum. The key is to embrace personal, emotional responses to the world. Even song lyrics are a type of poetry!
Why use poetry in the classroom?
As my college English professor once said, “There is no such thing as ‘creative writing’—because ALL writing is creative.” In other words, we use the same mindsets of carefully selecting words, writing descriptions and detail, and developing rhythm and structure to craft powerful stories in other writing genres: expository essays, motivating presentations, proposals for grants, and college and job applications. The value of poetry for school and the workplace comes from the way it elevates our intellectual capacity to make new connections and communicate the intangible.
Poetry helps us scaffold the skills and mindsets our students need in every classroom.
- Help students create structure and organize thinking.
- Using sensory details and observations for writing projects develops a scientific mindset which is based on observation and inquiry.
- Provides social emotional support for students
- Create empathy for an end user (the audience) like STEM, design projects, public speaking, and other forms of writing.
How to use Book Creator to create poetry projects
Use Book Creator like an online word processing app, and have students type their poetry directly into a text box. Or have them copy and paste from another writing app. Then consider using these features of Book Creator to elevate the experience:
- Writer’s workshop. Once poems are in a Book Creator project, use commenting features to allow classmates or the teacher to add feedback and suggestions. Try using multimedia comments like audio, video, or even emojis.
- Add images. Level up any poem by including an image created by the student poet. This could be a photograph, illustration (create drawings right in Book Creator!), or an editorial illustration. Images can also be the initial inspiration for poems, perhaps an image directly related to your curriculum, such as a scientific phenomenon or a historic site in your community.
- Read the poem. Poems are always meant to be heard, and Book Creator’s ability to add audio clips lets your students perform their work. Add an audio widget next to the text to allow readers to see AND hear poems.
- Create interactive poems. Words, phrases, and even images can be hyperlinks to websites outside your book, or jump to pages within your book (like a choose your own adventure story!)
- Create cover art. Integrate art and design skills by having students create cover art for their book. This can also develop an awareness of visual metaphors. You can use the Canva integration to create a great looking cover.
Publish Poetry Anthologies
Book Creator allows students to create their own, individual books, showcasing multiple poems, and include an artist statement that explains their work. They can also be used as a collaborative publication, collecting the work of many students, anywhere in the world.
Share these books with a global audience by publishing publicly online, or downloading an ePub version to share and distribute individually, or on services like Apple Books.
Celebrate National Poetry Month and get creative!
April is National Poetry Month so we're celebrating with a competition to get your creative spirits soaring! We want to make poetry come alive for kids.
Submission deadline: 30th April 2023
Michael is an award-winning teacher, author, and international speaker in Los Angeles whose work focuses on digital and civic literacy, social justice, and student-centered learning experiences. His new book about authentic learning, Storytelling With Purpose: Digital Projects To Ignite Student Curiosity, leverages student passion to solve some of the biggest challenges educators face, like low student engagement and artificial intelligence. He is a Book Creator Ambassador, and the author of Book Creator for the High School Classroom. Find out more about Michael on his website.