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Using Emotional Poems with Children

Help Kids Express their Feelings

Poetry links into two dimensions of the EI theory. Self awareness is enhanced by the in-depth exploration of feelings and emotions that takes place while writing poetry. By linking emotions and feelings with words and pictures children can find deeper meanings in their everyday interactions. Relationship awareness can also be developed by employing two-voice poems to explore empathy and other types of poems to see another’s point of view or expression.

Poetry Ideas

Two Voice Poems: 

Two-voice poems are a wonderful way for children to learn about empathy.

  1. Share the following poem with your child 
  2. Discuss how people can see the same event from completely different points of view.
  3. Ask children to work in pairs each taking one point of view of a situation.
  4. Together the children can write a two voice poem.
  5. Ask each pair to read the poem aloud in two voices.
  6. Discuss the different points of view the poems offer.

Shape Poems 

  1. Ask children to choose a shape such as a teardrop, heart or lightening bolt that represents an emotion to them 
  2. Children write a poem inside or around the edges of the shape that reflect their feelings

Acrostic Poems 

  1. Brainstorm different emotions with your students 
  2. Ask children to write words or phrases that exemplify that emotion beginning with each of the letters of the emotion 
  3. Children write and illustrate their poems

Children can sometimes express themselves more thoughtfully when writing poetry. Using emotional intelligence poetry as a tool to develop and express emotional intelligence is still quite a new phenomenon in the expressive arts. Eli Greifer, a poet and lawyer initiated a "poemtherapy" class at a hospital in New York City using poems to help those with mental challenges in the 1950's.

Dr. Leedy wrote the first authoritative book on poetry therapy titled simply 
Poetry Therapy. In the early 1980's a gathering of those working in the area was held to devise training and recognition for those working with poetry therapy. They created the National Association for Poetry Therapy in 1997. Poetry therapy can be adapted and some of the benefits can be transferred to the classroom


Emotional Poems

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