Before we even begin, we do not tell students precisely what we are doing (we’ve found that telling them that we are writing a poem stifles their creativity). We simply ask them to cut out about 40-50 words and phrases from magazines that are of interest to them. They can be anything of their choice – maybe they like the color or the font, or they find a phrase that “speaks” to them – it doesn’t matter. We also let students know that they will need articles and conjunctions to help make this project “work.” This activity is meant to be creative, so we really allow students a great deal of independence.
Once students have “found” their words and phrases, we now tell them that we are writing a poem using JUST what they have found. They cannot add anything else to their poem; they may only use what they have cut out. It’s meant to be fun and challenging!
Have students arrange the words on their blank piece of paper. Students are not required to use all of the words that they have cut out, but we do request that our students use at least 30 words in their poems (otherwise, you might get poems that are only two words!).
Once students have decided that they like the way their poem looks and sounds, they glue their words and phrases to the computer paper to create a final product! It is extremely interesting and darling to see what they come up with. You’ll find yourself quite impressed by some of your students at the end of this project!
And that is precisely why we love teaching and why we love teaching poetry.