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Writing Poetry Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

If you're about to start a unit on poetry, consider this lesson as a way to get your students excited about literature! This lesson features four easy types of poems that students will have fun writing with an option to extend the lesson by revising and publishing student writing.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson students will be able to:

  • write an original poem
  • revise a poem for a specific audience
  • consider various methods of publication for writing, weighing the pros and cons of each (if the lesson is extended)

Length

This lesson will take 45-90 minutes. The optional extension activity can take up to an additional 60 minutes.

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.

(If the lesson is extended) CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.6

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.

Materials Needed

  • A paper or canvas bag filled with safe objects that students can handle.

Instructions

Divide the room into four stations and put your students into four groups.

Read the lesson Fun Methods for Writing Poetry before setting up your stations. Each station is based on one of the methods outlined in this article.

  • Station 1: The Everyday Poem - Students at this station will start by reading an everyday poem such as, ''This is Just to Say'' by William Carlos Williams. They should immediately see that it's a note left from one member of a household to another. Leave directions at this station for students to write a note to someone who lives in their house. When you see students finish with their poems, call time and have them rotate to the next station.
  • Station 2: The Blind Poem - Have a bag of objects. Students will reach a hand into the bag and touch one item. They'll hold it for a minute, feeling all parts of it, before they pass the bag to the next student and begin writing. Their blind poem should describe the item they touched. For a more advanced version, you could require students to use figurative language, such as metaphor or symbolism. They will take the unseen item and make it represent a larger idea.
  • Station 3: The Plug-in Poem - The directions for this station will require that students write down four lines from one of their favorite songs. Then have them circle all the nouns and plug in new nouns instead. Do the same with verbs. The result will be silly sentences that can also be beautiful or profound. Allow students to revise their poems so that they make more sense.
  • Station 4: Group Poem - The directions for this station will have all the students in the group sit in a circle. One will start with a piece of paper and write on it a single word that describes ''vacation.'' The next student adds a word, and as the paper continues around the circle, a poem should emerge that expresses the thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears about vacation. If you have a more advanced group, start multiple papers going around the circle at once.

When students finish the fourth station, they'll have been involved in writing four poems. Ask them to decide on a single poem to revise for publication. To do the revision activity, pair students. Students will read their poems out loud to their partners twice. The partner then asks, ''What part of your poem doesn't sound the way you want it to?'' That should open a dialogue that will lead to revision without having to get too technical about poetry writing. Make sure that both partners take a turn reading the poem they chose out of the four they wrote.

Lesson Extension

Give students some options as to how to publish their original poems. You may want to have students explain to you the reasoning behind the choices they make. Publication options include:

  • poster to hang on the classroom wall or in the hallway
  • printed class literary magazine
  • publication in the school newspaper

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