To help younger students with the distribution of STEM materials, we prepackage the materials for each group in zip lock bags. Clean up is then also a snap as they put materials back in the bag at the end. Organization really helps STEM activities go smoothly.
Janiel has a few tips for using poetry with your students and for her book:
In general, what “Stella: Poet Extraordinaire” will do is inspire you and your students to explore the power of reading and writing poetry in your everyday lives. The book is exploding with examples of how to get this process going and keep it thriving. For example, ever thought of having students write a few words when they are feeling upset, mad, disappointed or happy, excited, energized? Just a few words on the page can empower them to explore these feelings in profound ways. When the emotion is anger, writing it out often helps students feel better. There’s an example of this on page 16-17 of the book—a real event from Janiel’s classroom.
Another simple idea for using poetry is to inspire students to write their own poetry by lifting a line, a sentence (or two) or a phrase from a poem. Then, have students simply write ‘off of’ this starting point. Of course, this works best if you model it several times first while thinking aloud about your process. An additional scaffold is to write several such poems together as a class.
When working with poetry, it is important to read it orally and multiple times to fully appreciate the language used. You will not only teach appreciation of the poetic elements, but also help your students gain appropriate phrasing and improve reading fluency.