Community Story

Beth Dunning

Denton, TX
I love the format of! It’s user friendly and packed with awesome ideas for teachers and interactive tools for students. My students loved working with the poetry interactives—they couldn’t get enough!
Beth Dunning's Story

"S" Is for Poetry

Each year our first-grade students research different ocean animals; this year we decided to research seals. My students spent three weeks researching, writing, sharing, editing, and then writing again. When it was finally done, we had a class book…ONE class book. I mentioned to another teacher about all of the hard work my students had done on their book. I wanted each of them to take their research home, but I couldn’t afford to make copies for each student. She suggested having my students write an acrostic poem about seals with one of’s student interactives.

Because of the wide range of ability levels in my class, I began the activity in a whole-group setting before we went to the computer lab. Students wrote one word that reminded them of seals on a sticky note and then we sorted the words by the letter they began with, paying special attention to words that began with the letters s, e, a, and l. Then, we worked together to create a class acrostic poem about seals, and afterward students worked on individual acrostic poems.

We went to the computer lab to use the interactive Acrostic Poems tool. When students got to the “brainstorming” page, I brought out the list of words we had created in the classroom. Students were able to look at our original list and choose which words they wanted to use. I gave students the option to use the poem they had created earlier in the day or to create a new one using the words they had recently brainstormed. Once the poems were written, students hit the “print” button and couldn’t wait to see the finished product!

Since then, my students have also used the interactive Diamante Poems tool to create poems about sharks, turtles, armadillos, and much, much more. Thanks,, for making my kids want to write and write and write…. I just hope I have enough ink to keep up with them!

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I have been teaching for five years, four of which have been in first grade. One of my passions is bringing the world into my classroom. If I can manage to get it there, it’s in there…no matter what! I have been married for 16 years, and I have three children: two daughters and a son. I enjoy spending time with my family at the ranch, volunteering, and scrapbooking.

I recommend using the poetry interactive tools as an introduction to students writing their own poems. The tools take students step by step through the writing process, and when they are done, they have a “published” poem that they wrote by themselves!

For younger students, I recommend brainstorming a list of words together as a class to use in their poetry before heading to the computer lab. By creating a list of words together, students with special needs can concentrate on the type of poem to write, not what to write.