Ballad Poetry Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Teach your students how to write a ballad with this lesson plan. Students start off watching a video that explains the structure of a ballad poem and then shares some examples. Shared writing allows students to practice before applying learning independently.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'ballad poem'
  • describe the structure of a ballad poem
  • write a ballad poem with guidance


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Music for the Irish ballad 'Finnegan's Wake'
  • Music for the The Ballad of Curtis Loew by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Copies of ballad poems (have several duplicates so student groups can compare)

Key Vocabulary

  • Ballad poem
  • Ballad meter
  • Refrain
  • Epithet
  • Kenning

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.4

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.5

With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.


  • Engage students with the topic by playing the Irish ballad 'Finnegan's Wake' and The Ballad of Curtis Loew by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Ask students to jot down notes about what they notice about each song, then break students into small groups to share thoughts and compare/contrast.
  • Tell students these are types of ballad poems, which they'll talk about today, then start the lesson What is a Ballad Poem? - Definition, Structure & Examples.
  • Pause the lesson at 1:37. Have students talk with a partner, comparing and contrasting ballad poems and folk ballads. Share ideas as a class, then restart the lesson.
  • Pause again at 5:17. Display a ballad poem and work with students to identify the rhyme scheme, quatrains, and stresses.
  • Partner students and give them a copy of a ballad poem and have them work together to analyze their poem in the same way as guided practice. When finished, have them meet with other groups who analyzed the same poem and compare answers, asking questions if necessary.
  • Gather students back together and work with them to write a ballad poem together in a shared writing experience. Choose a topic together, then work with students to follow the structure of ballad poems.
  • Play the remainder of the lesson and take the quiz together.

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