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Character Education

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Digital Learning

Around the Poetry Campfire


The Bright Idea I’d like to share with all of you today is my poetry campfire.  I have used this activity with second through fifth graders, and this is a great time of year to get it started!
I bought an electric campfire from our local fireplace shop, looking exactly like the one in this picture.  It has held up so well over the years with only an occasional replacement every two or three years of the red light bulb (available inexpensively at any hardware store). 
A very inexpensive and super cute version of this campfire is a paper plate piled with some toilet paper rolls (sans tp of course!) and torn and slightly crumpled pieces of red, yellow, and orange tissue paper. This would also be a very “green” way to do this activity – no electricity involved! Paint, color, or cover the rolls so they are brown and wooden-looking.  Here’s a picture of how it might look. 

One more idea is to use a cute basket with crumpled orange, red, and yellow cellophane and shiny red icicles (gift bag filler). Here's a photo of one I made with my favorite four year old when his outdoor fire pit was "closed" because of weather:

On to the poetry part of this activity! While decorating the paper rolls for the campfire, have each of your students decorate a paper roll of their own.  Do this even if you are using an electric campfire like mine!  This paper roll becomes the holder for each child’s poem to share at campfire time.  Make sure each student labels his/her “log” with their name.
start the first session by wowing them with my amazing and dramatic recital of the poem “Honey I Love” by Eloise Greenfield.  I recite it rather than read it, and it takes a couple of weeks of refreshing my memory in practice before I do it each year. (Easy and fun for me, though, because, honey, let me tell you that I LOVE Eloise Greenfield’s poetry!)  Pick a poem that YOU love so that the memorization and recitation will be fun for you.  This is your chance to show how much you personally love poetry so your students will catch that fire!

While you have your students’ rapt attention following your rendition of your favorite poem, talk with them about sharing their own poetry by the campfire each week (or at whatever intervals you choose).  Explain that they can write their own poem or bring a copy of a poem that they would like to share.  They can memorize and recite, or just read the poem with expression (we hope). The poem is stored inside the paper “log” and as each poem is shared, the log is added to the campfire.  At the end of the session, each child gets their log back to save the poem they’ll be sharing next.  Not every student has to share every week, but try to keep track in some way so you can draw those still reluctant sweeties in at some point.
I hope you’ll enjoy sharing your love of poetry in this cozy way sometime this year. I’d love to hear what happens around your poetry campfire!         

If you enjoyed this bright idea, I hope you'll visit Rainbow City Learning for more great ideas! 

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting! 



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