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Georgia Heard and Poetry

I have been lucky enough for the past 3 days to attend the Marre Reading Conference!  One of the keynote speakers was Georgia Heard and she was fabulous!

During her keynote address, Georgia Heard shared poetry and how poetry met common core standards.  We all know we should be reading, sharing and writing poetry, but sometimes we need a little reminder...a little nudge forward...and some practical ways to put it into practice.

Poetry is a natural way to be playful with language for children.  They love repeating little poems they have heard and playing with the rhythm and rhyme.  Georgia Heard reminds us of some of the ways poems are valuable.

Why Poems?

  • rhythm and sound
  • power of images
  • appropriate uses of figures of speech
  • playful attention to language
  • hidden meaning
  • metaphor
  • simile
  • personification
  • alliteration

How many in that list did you count that are in the common core?  Use poetry!  You can address speaking and listening and fluency standards by making voice recordings of students reading their poems or video taping them.

She suggests that we begin with simpler, accessible poems first then build up to the exemplar poems as used in the common core.  Georgia also asks that we cover more poets that Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky!

Here are some suggestions from her for using poetry through out the day, every day:

during morning meetings
before math (poems that have some sort of math in them) or other subjects that you find poems to fit 
transitional times

I loved her idea of using poems for transitions!  I know teachers use them this way, but I guess I needed reminding.  :)  Students get to choose which poem to  memorize (student choice is important).  As the class recites the poem, they are putting things away and getting ready for the next thing.  They know that they must be done and ready by the time everyone finishes reciting.  I will leave you with a poem she gave as an example that students love for this!  In the coming weeks, I will share more of Georgia Heard's ideas and suggestions.   Be on the look out for them as she gave us some really good stuff!


  1. Now theres a name I haven't heard in a long time:) you're so lucky you got to see her. We learn one poem a week but I might try the transitional poem too. The one you posted is hilarious!
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  2. Poems are great for transitions. Next time take you see Georgia, take me too. (I'll be looking forward to hearing more!)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. Oh I love Georgia Heard! I read her book "Awakening the Heart" a few years back, and it really inspired me to bring poetry into my kindergarten. One thing I have done, in response to that book, was start a collection of things that I hear my students say that are poetic. For example, I had a student talk about popping popcorn at home, and he said "the popcorn kernels were dancing a little dance." I think sometimes our students are naturally "poetic" with language. My goal was to point it out to them - to show them that they already had poetry in them! Thanks for the post - it has me thinking once again about poetry!

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  4. Georgia Heard was great to listen to, Barbara! I got several good ideas from her. I liked this poem that she shared with us too!

  5. Tammy, I would definitely take you with me to hear her if I could! We would have a great time!

  6. Karen, that is a great idea- collecting their poetic thoughts and sayings! Thank you for that idea!!

  7. HI Tammy!
    Sounds like you had an amazing conference! Poetry is a must-have in first grade! I use a poem every day and the end results are fabulous! Thanks for sharing the cute transition poem! Great idea!
    Happy to be your newest follower~
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  8. Hey Julie! I must say it WAS an amazing conference! I always walk away with practical advice that I can put in place immediately. Thank you for following me. I will stop by your blog and visit you!

  9. Lucky you! I bet it was just wonderful! I see so many teachers save poetry for the last unit of the year! It makes me sad. Kids love poems, especially if they are funny! I just posted turkey poems!
    Literacy Minute

  10. Yes, Sandi, I was lucky to get to go! I agree, poetry does not need to be delegated to one month only. I am coming over to your blog to see your turkey poems-fun!!


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