Dehart (2019) suggests that before using poetry as a teaching tool, it is important to discuss and define poetry and in particular make a connection between poetry and song lyrics, to which students appear to unanimously respond. The following is an outline of Dehart’s steps when using poetry as a vehicle for teaching complex reading and writing tasks:
- Help students locate poetry that appeals to and interests them from books and websites.
- Analyze the poetry to determine how poets used language and the experiences they were trying to convey.
- Students use a range or resources to compose a list of key words and concepts to be explored. This could, for example, be concepts and terminology from other subject areas (e.g., scatter plot, numerator, denominator from math or vocabulary related to fossilization from science or concepts related to a specific era or event being studied in history).
- Teacher models the writing process to students, including think-aloud strategies to demonstrate the often hidden processes of composition, self-correction and review. As a part of this process, students should be encouraged to critique the teacher’s work.
- Provide a purpose for writing. This could be for some form of publication (online or hard copy) or could be for private study purposes or to assist other students with understanding a particular topic.
DeHart, J. D. (2019). Two birds, one stone: Exploring complex writing through poetry. Knowledge Quest, 47(5), E1-E4.