Planning An End Of The Year Poetry Recital

Planning A Class Poetry Recital

The end of the year is upon us. One of my favorite end-of-the-year activities is our class poetry recital. I have seen some skeptical looks from my students when I have introduced this unit to them in the past. They always assume a class poetry recital is going to be boring. Quite the contrary! With a few connections to pop culture and a little flair, my students rock their poetry recital. It is one of our favorite days of the year. I am so excited to share with you some of my favorite poetry recital ideas that I'm sure you and your students will be excited to try out. 

Use these helpful tips to help you successfully plan an end of the year poetry recital for your students.

Plan Ahead For A Successful Poetry Recital

While I love no prep activities, this one does require some advanced thinking and planning. But follow my timeline and you will have plenty of time.  And . . . I promise it will be worth it! 

About a month before the poetry recital, I pull out all of my favorite poems.  I pull poems of all different types and from many different authors.  Since my students always love funny poems there are plenty of those in my favorites list.  Some of my favorite poets include Bruce Lansky, Kenn Nesbit and Shel Silverstein.  

getting out your poems for your end of the year poetry recital ahead of time will help you plan out appropriate poems for all skill levels.

I sort through the poems putting them in piles based on their skill level.  This really helps me as I select poems for each student based on their skill level and ability. Giving students poems I know they will be able to read helps them feel more comfortable and successful on the day of the poetry recital. 

After sorting the poems, it's time for my favorite part. I pair up my students with their poems based on their personalities, learning styles, or something special about them. I love matching students with poems that I feel will inspire them, make them laugh, or give them a unique way to express themselves. 

Getting Buy-In from the Students

Since a poetry recital is not something we do all the time, it is a new experience that many students are unsure of.  So, what's a better example than to do my own little poetry reading as a demonstration?

Depending on the timing, I might do multiple poems in one day and move right to handing out the students' poems.  Or, I might do one poem a day and hand out the students' poems on Friday.  It really just depends and both work well.

It's important to get buy in from your students to plan a successful end of the year poetry recital everyone will feel comfortable with and enjoy.

I read some of my favorite poems to the students.  I make sure to use lots of expression and feeling as I read. The students become so engaged as they listen.  Then I share the opportunity they will have to do the same thing.  This is usually enough to build excitement.  

The next step is passing out the poems that I have personally selected for each student.  I make sure that the students know that from hundreds of poetry options I chose this one poem just for them. Sometimes I tell them why, this poem reminds me of your kindness, and sometimes I tell them that I think this poem will make them laugh. Whatever my reason I like to share it with them. This lets them know that I didn't just grab some random poem, but there was thought and intentionality behind choosing this one special poem just for them.

Three Weeks Until Poetry Recital Day

About three weeks before the poetry recital I pass out the poems I have selected for each student.  Each student gets two copies of their poem. The first copy is sent home with a note for the parents about our poetry recital.  I ask parents to help their students work on memorizing their poems and I give them a deadline for this activity (usually one week before the poetry recital).  

Involving the family in the poem practice is a huge way to help students feel more confident and prepared for poetry recital day. Giving families a list of activities to help their students practice their poems is really helpful for everyone involved. 

Getting parents involved in the weeks leading up to the end of the year poetry recital will be one of the most important keys to the overall success of the poetry recital.

At-home practice is key to success! Some of the ways your students can practice include reciting their poem to their family at dinner, reading the poem at bedtime, or practicing on the way to and from school each day. 

The second copy stays in class in the student's book box. This way the student can read and practice at school too.

The next month is filled with activities that incorporate their poems to help them memorize and really dig into the message of their assigned poems. We use the poems for morning work activities, in small groups for performance practice, and in literacy and writing centers to practice comprehension and writing skills. The more you can get your kids reading and practicing their poems prior to poetry recital day, the more confident and successful they will feel.

All of these activities help students practice and memorize their poems in a fun and supportive environment. It's always fun to start our morning with stories of how students are practicing their poems at home. 

The Week Of The Poetry Recital

With one week to go, students should already have their poems memorized or be really close to it.  Now, understand that you will likely have a couple of students who don't get the support at home and don't have their poems memorized.  What I like to do is build in time to work with these students myself, with an aide, or with parent volunteers. 

In the days leading up to the poetry recital, we focus on practicing for the big day.  I want students to know what to expect, have opportunities to practice on the stage, and even use the microphone. We spend some time talking about what poetry recital day will actually look like. There are so many options for poetry recital day that can be so much more than students getting up in front of their classmates to recite their poems.

Create a special day that will work well with your students and any school guidelines. There are so many ways you can make this day feel special to your students. In the past, I've taken my class outside for a poetry picnic and invited administrators or another class to be the audience. I've also invited students from a buddy class, or the grade level below to come and see my students perform on stage.  

Helping your students get comfortable with performing by practicing with them or inviting parent volunteers in to help them practice will mean more confident and less stressed student performances during the end of the year poetry recital.

For shy students or a virtual poetry recital, you can try to record a video of each student reading and put them together in a video slideshow to present on performance day and share with families. If students will be presenting their poems live in a virtual learning environment, encourage them to decorate the space around them to fit the setting or theme of the poem. 

Whatever you and your class decide to do for poetry recital day, make sure you give your students a few opportunities to practice in the space before performance day. 

I always keep a copy of their poems close by when we are practicing.  If students get stumped or messed up during practice I'm there to help prompt them. I also let them know that I will have this on the day of the poetry recital and that I will be there if they need anything. This helps to ease any concerns they have.

If you are inviting another class, administrators, or families to view the poetry recital, consider sending a collaboratively created class poetry recital invitation to invite guests. This can be a fun in-class writing activity you can do as a class that has a dual purpose.  This is a cute and memorable keepsake families will treasure for years to come.

Poetry Recital Day

It's the day you and your students have been looking forward to for what feels like a very long time! I love watching my students come into the room the morning of recital day. You can feel the excitement in the air as students are putting their backpacks away. Throughout the day, I give my students the opportunity to do a quick partner practice, review reading their poems again, and take time to get their jitters out with plenty of recess time. 

Let your students know you are their biggest fan and there for them on the day of the end of the year poetry recital.

When it is time for the poetry recital remind your students how proud you are of them for all of their hard work. Then sit back and watch them amaze you!  

Watching my students recite their poems on performance day fills my heart with so much joy! I love watching them find the courage within themselves to stand up in front of others to recite their poetry. Even my most shy students amaze me with their bravery and courage as they step up to recite their poems.

After our poetry recital, it's party time! I love planning a special picnic lunch outside, a special snack in the classroom, or a reception with the parents as a special way of celebrating the students.  It's also fun to hand out some personalized poetry rewards or end-of-the-year certificates at this time. 

Poetry Recitals For The Whole Year

I absolutely love finishing my year with an empowering poetry recital, but it doesn't have to be an activity reserved ONLY for the end of the year. If you are like me, you are chomping at the bit to get your first class poetry recital in motion. 

Poetry recitals don't need to be saved for the end of the year. Consider quarterly, seasonal, or holiday poetry recitals as well.

You don't have to wait until the end of the year to have a poetry recital.  April is poetry month and a great time for a poetry recital.  You can also do them monthly, quarterly, or once a semester.  It's a great way to meet those oral speaking standards!  And . . . if you do more than one consider having one time where students can share their own written poems or stories from writer's workshop. 

Make it your own!  Make it fit the personality of your classroom.  Make it a special time that your students will never forget!  

Save These Poetry Recital Ideas 

Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you need some poetry recital idea inspiration and so much more.  

Planning a successful end of the year poetry recital doesn't have to be stressful for you or your students. Use these helpful tips and tricks to pull off an amazing end of the year poetry recital you, your students, and parents will absolutely love. #thechocolateteacher #endoftheyearpoetryrecital #poetryrecital #poetryrecitalideas

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