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20 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

1. Start each day with a poem read by a different student before daily announcements.

2. Set up a coffeehouse-style poetry reading in your classroom. Have students read their work. Don't forget the refreshments.

3. Contact local banks and other businesses in your community and ask them to consider displaying student works on their walls.

4. Have students compile and edit a classroom anthology of their best poems.

5. Devote an entire hallway in your school (The Poetry Hall) to poems. Put up new works each week.

6. Set up a schoolwide poetry reading. Invite the community to hear students read their poems. You might add dancers and musicians.

7. Write a postcard or letter poem to friends and neighbors. Send them out.

8. Contact radio stations about hosting a live, on-air poetry reading either at school or at the station.

9. Read a poem to students and ask them to draw their vision of it.

10. Host a schoolwide limerick, haiku, pantoum, or general poem contest. Winning students can read their poems over the intercom to the school.

11. Write poems on poster-size board, laminate them, and hang them in public places throughout the school: hallways, lunch rooms, playgrounds, libraries.

12. Leave a poem on your answering machine at home or school.

13. Memorize a poem. Recite it and tape-record yourself.

14. Make a National Poetry Month Time Capsule. Engage your students in a 10-to 20-minute "free-write," in which they write poems of any kind and form. Put them in the Time Capsule and have a ceremonial sealing, not to be opened until National Poetry Month 2002.

15. Make poetry bookmarks and laminate them. Students can use them, give them away as gifts, or put them in the library to be used by students and faculty.

16. Send your state or local representative a poem.

17. Make National Poetry Month buttons. Inscribe them with haiku poems, short poems, and favorite lines of poetry. Wear them as a class the whole month of April.

18. Finish each day or week with a class poem. Pick a topic together and have each student write one line on a slip of paper. Gather the lines together and read the poem to the class out loud. Type up the poem and pass it out the next morning.

19. Use this month to create biographies, book reports, or oral reports on famous poets. Have students prepare to give a presentation on their poet. Give one presentation each day of the month.

20. Pen-pal with another classroom, locally or nationally, and pass favorite and original poems back and
forth throughout the month. Make a book of your correspondence.

BONUS POTATO PICK: Pick a favorite poem as a class. Now choose a favorite tune (i.e., "Old MacDonald," "Greensleeves," "Amazing Grace"). Sing your poem to the tune of the song, and make it into your own class anthem for National Poetry Month.

All courageous classrooms send a written copy of the poem and the tape of your class singing to:
Potato Hill Poetry,
6 Pleasant St. Suite #2,
South Natick, MA 01760.

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