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Friday, May 8, 2015

More Poetry Recipes in the Classroom: Add a Dash of Shape Poetry by Andrea Perry

Adding a dash of Shape Poetry is bound to spice up many a classroom project.  Get the point?

Shape poetry is a type of poetry which describes or defines an object (or concept, function or characteristic) and is shaped as the object (concept, etc) being described.  

For example, in math class students can demonstrate their knowledge of geometric shapes (even three dimensional ones!) by constructing a work of art.  They can show what they know.  They can type or write or stencil their words, rhyming or not, and arrange them to explain terminology.  Quadrangles, cylinders, squares, oh my!
 In Social Studies, similar projects can take shape. While studying Egypt, students can display their understanding of the mummification process or afterlife beliefs or even Egyptian gods by constructing a poem in the shape of a sarcophagus, linen strips, a pyramid or other related subject content. In an American History unit, Fort Necessity could necessarily be constructed with beams of words, the evolution of the American flag could be striped with information, or the Boston Tea Party,  steeped with facts.
Out in the solar system, scientists have described planets, galaxies, constellations, meteors, stars, and comets to us.  Students can make a big bang by applying their knowledge of any of these with a shape poem full of facts or descriptions.  The applications in science are seemingly endless - atoms and molecules, seeds and plants, magnets and metals can all take shape as shape poems.

Life does indeed imitate Art.  Get out the construction paper, scissors and glue and have your students start getting plenty of poetic projects "in shape."

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