Quatrain Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students about quatrain stanzas in poetry with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson that gives the characteristics of a quatrain, as well as three types of quatrains. Discussion questions, analysis, guided and independent writing mean students walk away with a deep understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define and describe a quatrain poem
  • explain the three varieties of a quatrain poem


1 hour for lesson plus time for independent writing


Key Vocabulary

  • Quatrain
  • Stanza
  • Meter
  • Rhyme scheme
  • Elegiac stanza
  • Iambic pentameter
  • Iamb
  • Heroic couplet
  • Elegy
  • In Memoriam stanza
  • Iambic tetrameter
  • Ballad stanza
  • Ballads
  • Common meter
  • Iambic trimeter
  • Slant rhyme

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.5

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.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.4

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

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.10

Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.


  • Divide students into partner pairs and distribute the lesson Quatrains: Characteristics & Overview.
  • Read the section 'Characteristics' together and define vocabulary with students.
  • Next give each group a poem and ask them to work together to identify stanzas.
  • Read the next three sections, 'The Elegiac Stanza,' 'The In Memoriam Stanza' and 'The Ballad Stanza' and work with students to use the sample poems to characterize each.
  • Have students determine which type of stanzas are in their poems.
  • When groups are finished, have them partner with another pair to make a foursome and compare poems, sharing their type of quatrain and defending with textual evidence.
  • Now re-divide student groupings so there is one representative for each stanza type in each whole group.
  • Have students compare and contrast the three stanzas and ask:
    • What is the a-b-a-b rhyme scheme called? Which type uses it?
    • Which uses a-b-b-a?
    • Which has a line that does not rhyme?
  • Read the 'Summary' together and take the quiz to check understanding.

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