Interview with Middle School ELA Teacher and Poet, Michelle Schaub
Welcome back to Chalk + Ink: The Podcast for Teachers Who Write and Writers Who Teach. Meet middle school ELA teacher and poet, Michelle Schaub. Michelle is the author of several books including Fresh-Picked Poetry, Finding Treasure and Kindness is a Kite String. Michelle's passion for words will have you running for your nearest thesaurus and after listening to this episode you'll be pumped up for National Poetry Month.
In this episode Michelle talks about the power and beauty of individual words, collective poems and shares how word fishbowls helped her students overcome writer's block.
Be sure to check out Michelle's blog Poetry Boost. I can't wait to spend time exploring this incredible resource. Be sure to check out this post about teaching prepositional phrases with poetry. She talks about this activity in our podcast and this post provides resources to help you incorporate this activity into your teaching toolbelt.
While we're talking about classroom activities, I read Michelle's Kindness is a Kite String to my students to help them distinguish the difference between a metaphor and simile. After we read the book for pleasure, each student made a T-chart. Then, we read the book again and noted the various different similes and metaphors for kindness. So much better than a rote worksheet!
Michelle is all about using joy to bring poetry to kids. She thinks all upper elementary and middle school classrooms should be sure to have Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters.
Students will enjoy Dictionary for a Better World and it's also an incredible teaching resource for the following reasons:
1) The book contains about fifty poems that feature abstract nouns which Michelle explains are nouns that you can't see such as humility, kindness and tenacity. The authors use concrete nouns to help readers understand the abstract nouns.
2) Teachers can also use the book to teach different poetry forms such as found poems, poems for two voices and cinquains.
3) Dictionary for a Better World is a wonderful way to help your students understand various book themes such as forgiveness, equality and empathy.
4) If you're looking for a way to anchor social emotional learning lessons, you could start each school week with one of these poems and ask your students to concentrate on developing that social emotional skill for the week.
Shortly after I interviewed Michelle, I learned about The Dictionary of Difficult Words by Jane Solomon. As soon as I heard about the book on Jennifer Laughran's podcast, Literaticast, I found myself wishing I had known about the book so that I could discuss it with Michelle. I purchased a copy and I am in love with it. The dictionary features "more than 400 perplexing words to test your wits," and it is an ode to the beauty and power of individual words-complete with illustrations.
Whether or not you check out either of the above books, you'll be more in love with words after listening to this episode.
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