Some elementary children are intimidated at the thought of writing a poem. It is important to let students know that writing poetry does not have to be a difficult task. In fact, it should be a delightful experience that they look forward to. There are many ways to teach elementary aged children to write poetry, but teaching them to write a list poem is one of the easiest ways of all. A list poem is to a great degree, just that: a list. A list of things the child did on vacation. A list of things in the child’s bottom drawer. A list of reasons the child likes to play video games. As you can see, the list (excuse the pun) is endless!
To ease your elementary students into the mood of writing list poems, give them several minutes just to write lists of whatever sort they desire. They can even make a list of nothing in particular, if they want! Or they can be specific and write lists such as what they saw on the bus ride to school that day or what they will do upon arriving home after school. You might even encourage your students to make a list of lists!
Now how do these lists become poetry? It’s simple, really. Just add a few words at the beginning, ending or in the middle of a list. Consider, for example, these list poems that I have just written off the top of my head:
Why do owls fly at night?
They are nocturnal.
Owls have great night vision.
Their food runs around in the dark.
lots of feathers
are things that owls have, also
and short beaks
Soft feathers keep me warm.
It guards my house.
My friends are amazed!
Those are reasons
I want an owl for a pet.
In the beginning, your students will probably want some guidance from you as to how to add these extra words and ideas for what words they should use. By all means, help them! Before long, they will be poem-ing away and will no longer need your help.
In order to encourage their creativity and love for poetry, post your students’ poems for others to see, either on the classroom wall or in a class bulletin.