Poetry Plus

Poetry Choice Board

We say it all the time, but our educators are constantly coming up with new ways to engage learners and do literacy differently! This week, we're showcasing a fun way to engage middle graders while teaching more than just the topic at hand.

Poetry Choice Board3

At first glance, Librarian Dr. Ezell prepared a lesson on poetry. However, by looking a little closer, we can see she's teaching much more. She's using a Choice Board to encourage independent and differentiated literacy by incorporating multiple ways for students to engage with the content and present their work. Students enjoy autonomy over their learning and the choices allow students to practice many varieties of executive functioning skills. 

Start with Clear Guidelines

Exquisite Corpse

Dr. Ezell began by defining expectations for her students. This frames the lesson and gives students a clear goal for their work. She gave clear steps - an important part of independent work. Independent work provides opportunity to practice crucial executive functioning skills like self-monitoring, prioritization, and time management.

Give Students A Starter Kit

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By naming resources, Dr. Ezell reminded students of what is available to them (and how to use them!). She pointed out specific titles they could try to give clear examples of the type of resources she expected them to consult. This also supports students who struggle to get started with projects. Providing start points can help them avoid initial hesitation by jumping in with one or more of these suggestions. Expert level: The cover art shown here were actually a mini link library - each cover art links directly to the title, so students can start listening right away.

Room to Grow

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Finally, she made room for further investigation. For students who found themselves especially engaged with this project, Dr. Ezell gave them other appropriate options for independent study. Again, she references executive functioning by asking students to check in with their own comfort levels. 

Huge thanks to Dr. Ezell for sharing her work with us! If you'd like to see more of what she is up to, follow her library on Twitter @LibraryLPMS.

What lessons have you given (or planned) that were more than met the eye? We'd love to hear your stories!

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