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Poetry Lesson Plans

Grades K-2

A Bear of a Poem: Composing and Performing Found Poetry
This lesson helps students recast the text they are reading in a different genre, which in turn, makes students more insightful readers and helps develop creativity in thinking and writing.

Acrostic Poems: All About Me and My Favorite Things
Students create acrostic poems using their names and the names of things that are important to them.

Poetry Portfolios: Using Poetry to Teach Reading
Teach your students about sentence structure, rhyming words, sight words, vocabulary, and print concepts using a weekly poem.

Theme Poems: Using the Five Senses
Students write theme poems in a flash using the picture book Flicker Flash by Joan Bransfield Graham and the online, interactive Theme Poems tool.

Writing Acrostic Poems with Thematically Related Texts in the Content Areas
Students read thematically related texts, scaffolded from simple to complex, to help them gather necessary concept vocabulary and background knowledge in a content area. They then write acrostic poems to organize and present their learning in a creative way.

Writing Poetry with Rebus and Rhyme
This lesson uses Jean Marzollo's book I Love You: A Rebus Poem as a model for using rebus writing to create wonderful poetry.

Grades 3-5

Compiling Poetry Collections and a Working Definition of Poetry
This unit introduces students to a variety of poetic forms and elements, as they compile their own collections of poetry.

Composing Cinquain Poems with Basic Parts of Speech
Reinforce student understanding of parts of speech through the analysis of sample cinquain poems followed by the creation of original cinquains.

Creating Classroom Community by Crafting Themed Poetry Collections
Students create poetry collections with the theme of "getting to know each other." They study and then write a variety of forms of poetry to include in their collections.

Learning about Clouds with Haikus
Using a mobile app or Interactive activity, students write haikus describing various types of clouds that they have studied.

Playing With Prepositions Through Poetry
Students play with words as they explore how prepositions work in Ruth Heller’s picture book Behind the Mask.

Poetry from Prose
Working in small groups, students compose found and parallel poems based on a descriptive passage they have chosen from a piece of literature they are reading.

Seasonal Haiku: Writing Poems to Celebrate Any Season
In this three-part lesson, students write and illustrate haiku depicting seasonal images.

Grades 6-8

Alliteration in Headline Poems
Students are introduced to the term alliteration and asked to create their own examples of alliteration as well as find examples of alliteration in poems.

Childhood Remembrances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki Giovanni’s “Nikki-Rosa”
Adapted from Carol Jago’s Nikki Giovanni in the Classroom, this lesson invites students to explore what Jago calls the place “where life and art intersect” by completing a close reading of Giovanni’s poem and then writing about childhood memories of their own, modeled on Giovanni’s poem.

Exploring Change through Allegory and Poetry
Students explore the theme of change through allegory and poetry by reading an example of literary allegory and creating their own pictorial allegories.

Found Poems/Parallel Poems
Students compose found and parallel poems based on a descriptive passage they have chosen from a piece of literature they are reading.

Polishing Preposition Skills through Poetry and Publication
Through the text Behind the Mask, students have the opportunity to deepen and refine their understanding of prepositions, including some of the more confusing standard usage guidelines, while enjoying the vivid pictures of Ruth Heller.

Swish! Pow! Whack! Teaching Onomatopoeia Through Sports Poetry
Students explore poetry about sports, looking closely at the use of onomatopoeia. After viewing a segment of a sporting event, students create their own onomatopoeic sports poems.

What Am I? Teaching Poetry through Riddles
Because they are games, riddles are an excellent vehicle for introducing students to poetry and poetry writing.

What is Poetry? Contrasting Poetry and Prose
Students often find poetry frustrating and meaningless. By helping students think critically about the differences between poetry and prose, this introduction sets the stage for different strategies for comprehending poetic texts.

Grades 6-12

Aim for the Heart: Using Haiku to Identify Theme
Using haiku, students focus on themes in literature and demonstrate their understanding of an author’s message. Writing haiku to accompany an analytical paper hones analytical skills and fosters creative expression.

Celebrating Poetry for Teens 
In honor of National Poetry Month in April, tune in for recommendations of a variety of poetry books for teens.

Crossing Boundaries Through Bilingual, Spoken-Word Poetry
Students explore the idea of “crossing boundaries” through bilingual, spoken-word poetry, culminating in a poetry slam at school or in the community.

Grades 9-12

The ABCs of Poetry
This activity allows students to play with words and letters in an imaginative way using their unique knowledge and experience to take something ordinary and familiar and make it new and exciting.

Discovering Poetic Form and Structure Using Concrete Poems
Concrete poems, poems that relate the placement of the words on the page to the meaning of the poem, provide an enjoyable literary experience that focuses students' attention on how a poet does more than simply put words together but can place them meaningfully on the page by paying attention to the subtle (or not so subtle) issues of layout.

Discovering Traditional Sonnet Forms
In this lesson, students read and analyze sonnets to discover their traditional forms.

Ekphrasis: Using Art to Inspire Poetry
In this lesson, students explore ekphrasis—writing inspired by art. Students find pieces of art that inspire them and compose a booklet of poems about the pieces they have chosen.

Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words through Diamante Poetry
Encourage your students to explore the ways that powerful and passionate words communicate the concepts of freedom, justice, discrimination, and the American Dream in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech by paying attention to the details of King's speech as they read and as they gather words to use in their own original poems.

Finding Poetry in Prose: Reading and Writing Love Poems
This lesson expands the concept of love poems to move beyond romantic love to explore other kinds of love, particularly the love within a family.

Is a Sentence a Poem?
This exercise encourages students to dissect an established poem while defining the characteristics of the genre of poetry.

Put That on the List: Collaboratively Writing a Catalog Poem
Students use lists—to-do lists, shopping lists, wish lists—to write powerful poetry, modeled after Raymond Carver’s poem "The Car."

Sonic Patterns: Exploring Poetic Techniques Through Close Reading
Students develop close reading skills connecting sound with sense in the poem “Those Winter Sundays,” and write an original text that reflects their new learning.

Speaking Poetry: Exploring Sonic Patterns Through Performance
Using their voices as interpretive instruments, students gain a deeper appreciation of the art of poetry as they prepare a recitation of the frequently anthologized poem “Those Winter Sundays.”

Varying Views of America
This lesson provides students the opportunity working in a collaborative setting to examine the ways that perspective influences how individuals vary in their tone and toward the same or a similar experience based on their point of view.

Walt Whitman as a Model Poet: “I Hear My School Singing”
Students first analyze Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing,” then use Whitman’s poem as a model as they create their own list poems.

Weaving the Threads: Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology
This project provides the organizational support (the poem) to help students learn more about the nature of hypertext composing.


View these additional poetry resources.

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