Back when I first began teaching, magnetic poetry kits were all the rage – but they were pretty pricey. Today, they are still pricey – and harder to find.
Teachers can make their own magnetic poetry kits for just a fraction of the cost of store bought kits! By making their own word sets, teachers can also adapt the activity to their students and subject matter. Magnetic poetry could easily be used in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms simply by integrating vocabulary words into a personalized set.
By the end of this post, you will have a few ideas for using magnets in your classroom, as well as know how to easily create your own magnets. I also have a free basic word set available for you to download at the end of the post.
Ideas for Magnetic Poetry
Magnetic Poetry can be used for more than just free verse poems! I recommend using the kits as word work or a center activity. Check the local Dollar store for magnetic cookie sheets to use as “tablets.” (Be sure to test them with a magnet – not all pans are magnetic.)
Here are a few ways you can use the magnetic words in your classroom:
- Spelling & Vocabulary Words – Students can use the magnets to write sentences using their word lists.
- Content Poetry – Looking for a Choice Board or writing activity? Add your content words and make magnetic poetry a writing choice. Students would write a poem that shows what they learned about the subject (math, science, or social studies.)
- Rough Drafts – Do you have students that struggle with writing or need differentiation? Instead of handwriting poetry drafts, allow those students to use the magnets to help them write their drafts.
- Portable Activity – Do you ever get kicked out of your room for testing, maintenance, etc? Have magnetic poetry boxed up in a small tub so you can grab it and go!
- Prewriting – Do you ever have students get stuck starting a story because they don’t have an idea? Have them use the magnetic words to help them generate ideas.
- Picture Magnets – If you have Autistic students or perhaps ELLs, you could also print pictures or images of words.
- Alphabet – Teachers could even simply make alphabet magnets to create a spelling center.
- Magnetic Sheets – Self Adhesive 8.5″ x 11″ – I purchased 30 mil sheets because the magnet is stronger.
- Copy Paper – White or Colored – I used Astrobrights.
- Heavy Duty Scissor
- Rotary Cutter (optional)
- Ruler (optional)
- Cutting Mat or Foam Board (optional)
Create Your Word Lists
A good kit will have a large supply of basic words. These can be purchased in poetry magnet kits, or you can make your own. My free word lists are linked at the end of this post.
If desired, create another page of words using spelling, vocabulary, or content specific words. Grab your word list(s) and then follow the following steps:
- Open a word processing program and create an 8.5″ x 11″ blank page.
- Select an 18 point font that is easy to read. Arial, Century Gothic, and Helvetica are all nice choices, but any easy to read font would work.
- Set the line spacing to 1.5.
- Type your word list.
You can make your list using columns, but I find columns create a lot of dead space. I make my lists by typing a column of words down, then tabbing over on each line and doing the next column. To save room, I type all the three letter words, then the four letter words, etc. (Be sure to have a copy of your word list so you can cross off words as you use them.) It’s not the fastest, but it makes it easy for me to fit more words on each sheet, as well as cut out the words when I am done.
Each page can fit a lot of words. I had 23 rows on each page with 6 – 7 words in each row. A good estimate for a page word count is about 140 – 150 words. Just be sure to completely fill in your page so that you aren’t wasting your magnet page.
Teacher teams could share by copying the word list multiple times on the page, then giving each person one set. This would also allow teams to color code unit words by copying each unit onto a different color paper.
Create the Magnets
If you have self adhesive magnet sheets, it is super simple to make the magnets.
- Print your word list(s).
- Peel about two inches of the paper backing off the magnet. (Don’t pull the whole thing off unless you are amazingly crafty. The magnet adhesive is really sticky, and if you get the paper on crooked it’s very hard to pull up.)
- Line up your word list paper with the edge of the magnet. Lay the paper down slowly, rubbing out any air bubbles.
- Carefully pull back more of the paper backing on the magnet, then smooth your word list down. Continue doing this until the paper is completely stuck to the magnet.
- Cut the words apart. You can either use a heavy duty scissor or a rotary blade. I had a hard time keeping the rotary blade straight, so I used a ruler edge to keep the blade straight. Be sure to have a cutting mat or foam board under the blade as you cut.
TIP: I have to admit, I find cutting a bit tedious. If you teach upper elementary or higher, you probably have a crafty student that wouldn’t mind cutting a few words out for you.
Stop back next week to learn how to make your own magnetic boards!