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There are so many easy ways to integrate technology into your poetry writing! Many teachers have students type their poetry, but why not add even more technology options for your students? There are a number of free apps and websites that can be used to help students write poetry. Beginner poets will appreciate having the support some site provide, but even more advanced students will enjoy writing their poems with technology. I did find many paid apps, but for this post I only focused on free sites.
Would you like to integrate technology into your poetry writing lessons? This post reviews seven free apps and websites that can be used by upper elementary students when they write poetry.
Have you ever announced to your class that you would be working on a poetry unit and all the students cheered? Yeah, me neither. Usually there are a few students that love poetry, but the groans outweigh the enthusiastic cheers. So why do so many students hate reading poetry?

Let's be honest. Poetry has a bad rep among students, especially boys. Close your eyes and clear your mind. What are the first things you see when you think of poetry? I don't know about you, but I saw valentines and love poems. Not exactly the most popular thing in middle grades. So how can you, as a teacher, help your students to love reading poetry? By the end of this post, you will know four steps to introducing poetry, as well as have free poetry resources including apps and classroom resources.

Why Students Hate Poetry and How to Make Them Love It! - Teach poetry so that kids love it, and discover free resources including apps and classroom resources.

Poetry is one of those topics teachers seem to either love or hate. Students seem to feel the same way. However, Common Core and state reading standards are emphasizing figurative language more than ever. Not only do students have to learn how to read poetry, they also need to learn to compare and contrast it with other types of literature. Whether you love it or hate it, you need to teach it. So what's the trick to making poetry fun and enjoyable for both teachers and students?
12 Amazing Poets Who Make Kids Love Poetry! Learn about the poetry of twelve different poets that upper elementary students enjoy reading. Suggested books are provided for each poet.


In my experience, the most important part of teaching poetry is to make it fun. That's it. Even when I taught poetry to older students, it didn't take long for their grumbling to stop because I made sure that everyone felt successful during our activities. And as a lot of poetry is up to personal interpretation, it isn't hard for students to realize that their opinion is probably right!

In order to get students comfortable with poetry, teachers need to read it to them. But who should you read? For many adults, poems are remembered as long and difficult pieces of writing they had to dissect in high school. However, today there is such a wide variety of poets out there to read that teachers couldn't possibly fit them all in! A few poets write books specifically aimed at children, but my students have also enjoyed reading the classic poets as well. Teachers should take the time to read a variety of poets and earmark poems they feel are especially interesting or that they feel their students would enjoy. This will also help teachers to select a variety of poetry styles and topics, so that every students hears at least one poem that appeals to them.

I have selected a few of my favorite poets, as well as some that come highly recommended for younger students. By the end of the blog post, you will learn about twelve different poets your students will enjoy!
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It is never too soon for language arts teachers and reading coaches to begin planning for the FSA exams! Sixth grade reading standards expect student to go beyond mere comprehension of the reading, but also to understand the craft of writing. Understanding what the students are expected to do will help teachers and parents make sure their students are learning the skills they need to be successful not only on the state exams, but also in future classes. This blog post will break down the reading and language arts standards and how they are tested on the FSA.

How to Prep for FSA: Valuable Tips for 6th Grade ELA - This post unpacks the 6th grade ELA FSA test and standards and discusses which concepts to focus on during your test review.

This blog post may also be beneficial for teachers and parents in other states as well. If your state takes the AIR exam, FSA was modeled on that test. In addition our state standards are 99% identical to the Common Core state standards.

What Does FSA Cover in 6th Grade ELA?

The Florida Assessments Portal has the test item specifications available for the public. These are a great tool for parents and teachers, but they do take a lot of time to analyze and break down.

As always, students are expected to be reading and spelling on grade level. Judging from the practice tests, the reading passages are longer and denser than previous grades. The passages will probably be be about one and a half  to two pages, single spaced, 14 - 16 sized font. Overall, students are expected to draw inferences from their reading. In sixth grade, students are expected to move past merely citing text evidence to being able to analyze the text. Students should be able to make inferences from the text and explains what part of the text made them come to that conclusion. Also, readers are expected to understand how the author builds the story or topic using words and structural elements. Students are learning how a story or text is crafted to create meaning.

Also important, students are expected to build comprehension and integration of multiple texts on the same theme or topic.  For example, students should be able to take a poem and a realistic fiction story with a similar theme and compare how the authors' approach the theme.

Sixth grade students should build their research and critical thinking skills . Students should also be able to compare two nonfiction texts on the same topic. They should also be able to identify which claims are supported by evidence and from those which aren't. Students should also be able to use the same skills in reading a text or listening to a multimedia presentation - or comparing the two.

Vocabulary is really just building upon what they already know. The categories of terms are basically the same as fourth and fifth grade, but sixth graders should be exposed to high level words.

Grammar standards for sixth grade focus heavily on pronouns.  Students should understand subject, objective, and possessive cases, as well as intensive pronouns.  They should also be able to recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun person or number, as well as vague pronouns with unclear antecedents.

Aside from pronouns, the standards focus on using Standard English and nonrestrictive elements.  

The four sections of FSA ELA are weighted nearly the same.
  • Key Ideas and Details - 15 - 25%
  • Craft and Structure - 25 - 35%
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas - 20 - 30%
  • Language and Editing - 15 - 25%
Soon testing will be here, and teachers want to make sure they have covered as many of the standards as possible. The 5th grade ELA standards are a pretty big step up in reading expectations. The good news is that teachers and reading coaches can focuses on a few specific skills that will really help prepare students for the FSA tests.  This blog post will break down the reading and language arts standards and how they are tested on the FSA.

How to Prep for FSA: Valuable Tips for 5th Grade ELA - This post unpacks the 5th grade ELA FSA test and standards and discusses which concepts to focus on during your test review.
This blog post may also be beneficial for teachers in other states as well. If your state takes the AIR exam, FSA was modeled on that test. In addition our state standards are 99% identical to the Common Core state standards.

What Does FSA Cover in 5th Grade ELA?

The Florida Assessments Portal has the test item specifications available for the public. These are a great tool for parents and teachers, but they do take a lot of time to analyze and break down.

As always, students are expected to be reading and spelling on grade level. Judging from the practice tests, the reading passages will be about one and a half pages, single spaced, 14 - 16 sized font. Overall, students are expected to draw inferences from their reading. Supporting answers with text evidence is not a skill new to fifth grade students, but it is something that they should be doing regularly. Students should come to fifth grade with some ability in using text -based evidence. However, the skill should be increased to providing reasoning for implicit answers. Teachers need to push students to answer inference-based questions and have students explain what part of the text led them to their response.

Students should be prepared to have 2-3 texts for prompts. They should be able to integrate information and compare characters, setting, organization, etc. of multiple texts. The great majority of reading standards ask students to compare two or more ideas/traits and/or at least two texts. Two texts may be a written text and an audio or multimedia presentation. In general, these standards are preparing students for the future. As students are expected to research and write reports, they will need to be able to use multiple sources and combined the information into one report. That is really what these standards are preparing students to do.  To practice these skills, teachers could do mini-units focused on one topic or theme, as well as research projects.

Fifth grade vocabulary is really just building upon what they already know. The categories of terms are basically the same as fourth grade, but fifth graders should be exposed to even more figurative language. Students are also expected to use context clues to determine the meaning of words and phrases.

The grammar expectations again just build upon what they already know.  Each year students focus on a different verb tense - in fifth grade they add the perfect verb tenses. They are also expected to be able to select the appropriate tense for their writing and write in one tense. Students should already know a lot about conjunctions, but now they should learn correlative conjunctions (ex. rather/than, either/or). The fifth grade standards also emphasize the various uses for commas.

The four sections of FSA ELA are weighted nearly the same.
  • Key Ideas and Details - 15 - 25%
  • Craft and Structure - 25 - 35%
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas - 20 - 30%
  • Language and Editing - 15 - 25%
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