I used to be such a good teacher! :) I used to do poetry journals-and keep up with them, not just put them together and let them sit on a shelf. *sigh* The good old days! I have slacked off a bit in that area this year. My kiddos were not ready for it in the beginning (even watching them try to cut out the poem and glue it in the proper place was giving me gray hair). Now that I think they might be ready, I just haven't been able to find the time to get it all together.
I do still use poetry in the classroom. I think it can be a great way to introduce new vocabulary-poets have to be very succint. I also think it's a good way for them to apply their listening skills, to really visualize what the poet is saying. One of my all-time favorite poems is Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes:
One of the first observations they made was that it sounded like an "old-fashioned" way to talk. Which brought up the discussion-why do you think the poet wrote it that way? A word you think is a simple word like "tacks"-they didn't know what tacks were. Every day for a week we read this poem together in our reading warm-up. On Friday, I asked them to illustrate the poem. Here's what they came up with: