Margin Notes



As teachers, we often seek out learning opportunities that provide a means for analysis and recognize the intentional writing choices of authors. One opportunity you may wish to try with your students is analyzing poetry though a “gallery walk”.  Here is how it works:

  1. Choose poems you want your students to analyze for craft (I will link some of my favourites at the end of this post!)
  2. Create stations around your classroom with a copy of each poem taped to the middle of a piece of chart paper.
  3. Model annotating a poem, where you think aloud for your students.
  4. Place students in small groups to move through the stations that each feature a different poem.
  5. After reading a poem students will record the moves they notice the poet making on the chart paper.
  6. After they have had time to do this, each group will rotate.
  7. From here, they will read the next poem, consider the annotations made by the previous group and add any further annotations that they notice.

The goal of this learning activity is to engage students in texts to notice craft moves that they may not have without a targeted reading purpose and collaboration, so a nice debrief is to then share the final collection of annotations for each poem either as a whole-class or with one final “gallery walk”.

Some potential exit slip questions could be:

  • What is a craft move you noticed in a poem today that impacted your reading of the poem? How did this move deepen your understanding of either the poem or the intentional moves writers make?
  • What is a craft move another student made that helped you see something new?
  • Did you see any craft moves in the poems you read today that you would like to try in your own writing? Tell me how or when you might use it.

Here are some poems you might consider using:

Good Bones by Maggie Smith

Home by Sarah Russell

The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

Blank Sonnet by George Elliott Clarke

And Lang Leav’s poem “Leaves”

Taylor Floris is an aspiring English and Business teacher, currently completing her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of New Brunswick. In her spare time, she can be found cozied up, with a coffee in-hand, indulged into the life of fiction and poetry.

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