A few teachers have asked me how I go about encouraging students to "plant" poetry and how I go about getting them to carry poems around on Poem in Your Pocket Day. We "plant" all spring. It's the perfect time of year for it. As the weather gets warmer, we're all spending more time outdoors, so it's easy for kids to find an outdoor location for sharing.
When I introduce kids to poetry planting, I show them some photos students have taken in the past. Then I encourage them to find a creative place to plant a poem and take a picture of it for the class to see. Sometimes I make it an optional assignment and sometimes it's mandatory, depending on how much else is going on in the rest of their classes.
The kids are wildly creative with their poetry placement, and the class enjoys seeing a slideshow of all of the poems when the photos are in.
Poem in Your Pocket Day
As for Poem in Your Pocket Day, we carry our poems in many different places other than pockets. Most of my students don't wear pants with pockets. They're into leggings, lacrosse shorts, and sweats. I always offer them a cut-out pocket, but only a few take me up on it. Most prefer to carry their poems in other, more inventive ways. Some carry a poem in their phone case, many of the girls will stick the poem down the side of their Uggs, or they'll fold it up and put it in their ponytail holder or tie it into their shoelaces.
Believe me, these kids are creative and they actually enjoy the challenge of sharing. I ask them to step out of their comfort zone and share their poems with those they meet outside of school. Many of them memorize their poems and proudly recite them.
Last year, state testing was the same week as Poem in Your Pocket Day, and I almost didn't get around to celebrating it. Then I started to get questions about it from staff members who look forward to it. What really sealed the deal was when kids started asking me if we were going to "do that poetry sharing thing" that their older siblings had done.
How cool is that? There's no way this teacher is going to let any state test get in the way of a "poetry thing."