Poetry Recital

I have a favorite end of the year activity I do with my class.  
It's a poetry recital.  
We had ours this past Friday and it came together beautifully.  My only regret is I didn't take pictures to share with you!

Here's how I do it.  About a month before the recital I pick through my pile of poems that I have collected over the years.  A majority of the poems are funny poems (Bruce Lansky, Kenn Nesbitt, etc.).  I assign the poems based on their ability.  For my sweeties that might struggle, I assign a super short poem (maybe even 2-3 lines).  I assign longer poems to those who can handle it.  This poem and a letter go home to their parents three weeks before the recital.  In the letter I give a date one week before the recital that they need to have the poem memorized.  To build anticipation, I read the class the poems on the day the letter goes home.  They are always SUPER excited.  Many kids come back the next day and can say a good part of their poem.  One tip- when I am running copies of the poems to go home, I always make an extra set to give away as the kids lose them. I know- shocking, huh?

The week of the poetry recital is practice week.  We practice getting on the stage and saying our poem into a microphone.  It's ALWAYS rough at the beginning of the week.  I make notes of kids who don't have their poem memorized.  I have a wonderful group of parent helpers that I have work with these kids during the week.  I also send home another copy of the poem with the child.  

The day of the poetry recital is always a blast!  The kids love it and want to get up and do it again! As they are saying their poem, I am below them on the floor sitting on a small chair.  I have their poem open ready to prompt them if needed.  As we are practicing all week, I remind them that I'll be doing this.  I think that gives them a boost of confidence knowing I'm there to help them if they forget.  I actually only have to help a few kids each year.  

The thing that amazes me is that even my shy, quiet kids perform.  I think it's a wonderful way to help them gain a confidence in pubic speaking.   I have had some very frightened children that I thought might not be able to do it, but they always pull through.  They actually want to do it, even though they are scared.  I personally have never enjoyed public speaking.  I wonder if it would have helped if I had had some opportunities like this when I was younger.

This is always a wonderful end of the year activity!  It's low prep and is always a hit!


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