Poetry Notebooks in Kindergarten? Yes!

The Question:
I have a question about Poetry Notebooks. I love to do poetry notebooks, but they are usually more work for me. I want to make it easier for the kindergarteners to add their own poems into the notebooks. How have others created notebooks that are easy to add new poems to?
The Answers:
I use 3 ring binders and sheet protectors. The students illustrated a printed copy of each poem, each week and slipped it into the sheet protector–2 poems in each sheet protector. That system worked very well for my Kinder students.
Stacey Ann
It takes a lot of pre planning but I make mine ahead with all of the poems in a 3-prong folder. They have all of them for the year and can find them pretty successfully since they have illustrations etc.
My kids also added a poem a week at one of their weekly independent literacy activities stations. I run the poems on colored paper and 3 hole punch. Often I have a parent volunteer that they can go to ask for help if they are having trouble with the binder. The poems are always at their reading level and I spend a lot of time during shared or guided reading time. Often they would highlight a new sight word or kind of punctuation. Illustrations are a must! Poetry Books can be chosen during silent reading time or as a filler activity for kids who finish quickly. By the end of the year it is a keepsake and something that they can read over the summer!
I did the same as Katy. At the end of the year, I bound them for the children to take home so I could keep the binders and sheet protectors. They love these poetry notebooks!
I use composition notebooks and the kids are taught to glue stick the precut poem or song onto the next page on the right side. Comp notebooks last all year!
I use a spiral notebook and have students glue in the pre-typed words, then they illustrate to match the poem. At the beginning of the year, I use a lot of nursery rhymes, then I use poems from whatever reading program we are using. At times, I add special jobs such as finding a certain sight word or counting the letter of the day. I have never had students add their own poems but I like the idea!
Where do you guys get your poems that are easy enough for little ones?
Mrs. Miner’s Kindergarten Monkey Business 
I’ve done it with the cutting and gluing before, but, since those can be arduous tasks for little ones in the beginning, I changed it up a bit. This year, I had the poems all typed out and 3 hole punched for them to put in the fluency section of their 3 ringed binder. It worked GREAT. At the end of the year, we took them all out and stapled them into a poetry book for the summer!
Great ideas, I’m adding a poetry binder next year!!
Where do you find your selection of poems?
Great ideas…I’ve used a 3 prong folder (plastic) and for the first few months add poems on my own, but eventually teach students how to do it and make it part of their morning work (and there are enough at a table to lend a helping hand to someone at their table). We’ve also collaborated with our music teacher who sends us her Powerpoints (with illustrations) of songs and we add them as well.
We placed a new poem and/or song into the Poem and Song Book on Wednesdays, which was also “Wondering Wednesdays” where we had parents stay for a few minutes to help scribe children’s Wonders into their Wonder Journals – the “wonders” were usually as a result of some kind of provocation or guiding inquiry question that was set out before school. I used to use a scribbler and had the children independently glue the poem/song into the scribbler.
We use a file folder with holes punched on the sides and brass brads put in from the back. The kids can add pages and open and close brads. Just don’t put brads all the way through; have them opened up on top page.
I use staple brand spiral notebooks–usually get them in a pack of 6 during back to school time). I copy the poems and trim the paper down so it can fit on a page. They put the poem on the bottom of the page and draw a picture on the top (using crayon or color pencil).
Each kinder has their own 3 ring notebook. ( we reuse every year). After a week of learning the poem, they get to illustrate it and then they put it in their notebooks by themselves. This was the first time I had done it this way and it worked great. Helped me out since I am by myself and kids loved being independent.
Composition notebook. poem on the right side, illustration for the poem on the left side. I teach the kids at first how to use glue….then we practice using our “bookmark”
Danielle Savage's photo.
3-ring binders…I section things off and you can add blank pages for them to write their own.
About 10 years ago our K team (Lopez Elem, Hillsborough County, Fl) worked on setting up Poetry notebooks. We used 3 prong binders – each week’s poem was hole punched and kids learned how to open up prongs and add new poem at the back. For each poem students did an art activity to illustrate it – examples: glue on pieces, complete a dot to dot, draw a part, etc. Students also highlighted a featured part of the print – letters early in the year, words later. We began with nursery rhymes, added well known finger plays and thematic poems for units. It was part of weekly literacy centers.
Karen Jones has a great ABC poetry notebook that we are using. We have them put together for next year.
I add those plastic sheet protectors into their daily folder, about 10 per kid, so if you use front and back, that’s 20 poems. I make a cute little cover that says “Susie’s Poetry Folder” Please leave all poems in so we can enjoy them all year long. We read the poem as a class on a pocket chart, and then brainstorm what we can illustrate on the page, we highlight sight words and when they’re done decorating, we add them into the sheet protector. You can always add more sheet protectors. I also add the sheet protectors to the kid’s supply list so I don’t have to supply them each year.
I made bound poetry and song books at the beginning of the year. I taught 1 poem per week on chart paper as shared reading and as a way to introduce sight words. I looked for poems or songs that had a lot of one or more of the sight words I was introducing that week. For example, Itsy Bitsy Spider has LOTS of the word “the”. Head, shoulders, knees, and toes has LOTS of “and”. The following week in Work Board the kids had a copy stapled into their poetry books and they would have to illustrate the poem AND highlight the sight word using crayon. I started by having kids glue their own poems into their books but sometimes that would get messy and sloppy. My paraprofessional or I would staple the poems into their books at the beginning of the week. The task takes less than 5 minutes and made for a nicer keepsake for the kids to take home at the end of the year. And to reiterate, I’d like to point out that songs are essentially poems set to a melody. Because kids often have a repertoire of familiar songs when they enter K, they can easily “read/sing along” as you point to the words on the chart. I guess what I’m saying is: use songs as much as you’d like– as poetry!
For the past 8 years I’ve used Fast Start for Early Readers which is published by Scholastic. Each poem has activities on the back that the parents can do with their child at home to strengthen skills needed for reading using that poem. Each child gets the poem of the week in a duo tang folder. We have learned that asking parents to supply a vinyl folder helps the folder last all year. The children take the folder home each evening and bring them back each day to have in their book boxes to read during our Daily 5 rotations. Many of the poems are nursery rhymes and others can be sung to simple tunes to help the children remember the words. We do a quick activity each day with the poems to help the children learn them. The children whose parents do the activities at home are my strongest readers at the end of the year. I try to match the poem of the week with the theme we are doing, but you can choose to do them in any order you want.
I use Fast Start by Scholastic too! I agree with Bette. I also use any songs that we may be using in class. We put them in composition books, poem on left, illustration on right. Sometimes the illustration is their choice, and sometimes I have something that is required in addition to the illustration. We also highlight the sight words, usually in small groups.
For a bookmark, you can also use a post-it and place it on the next poem each week.
We use three-prong, two-pocket folders. After modeling and a few tries, the kids are able to put them in independently.
Love the ideas. Thanks.

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