Happy April! This month, we celebrate poets and their work. There are so many things that teachers can do to incorporate poetry into their classrooms, such as reading a short “poem of the day,” with a different student reading each day; students could write a different type of poem every week; students could illustrate poems and teachers could set up a gallery walk. The possibilities are endless! In honor of National Poetry Month, we are sharing a poetry lesson with you. We want you to take it and make it your own. Be sure to take pictures and share on social media! Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

1. Introduction:

  • Read a poem to/with the class (suggested poems below)
  • Model how to annotate it, pointing out whatever you are working on (we don’t recommend doing ALL of these at once):
    • Figurative language
    • Sound devices
    • Attitude
    • Tone/Mood
    • Imagery/Sensory details
    • Rhythm and rhyme
    • Figurative and literal meanings
    • (Here's a good way to annotate poetry if you're not sure)
  • Discuss how the poetic devices work together to convey the poet’s meaning

2. Writing activity:

  • Assign a poem (suggested poems below)
  • Choose a prompt (create and enable in MI Write before the lesson):
    • How does the word choice create rhythm and rhyme in the poem?
    • Choose two poems about the same topic: How do they approach the topic differently? How are the attitudes conveyed? What creates the tone?
    • How does the writer use [poetic device(s)] to convey the meaning of the poem?
    • How do the figurative language and imagery work together to reveal the speaker’s attitude about the topic?
  • Students will be able to:
    • Cite textual evidence to support analysis
    • Draw inferences from the text to support analysis
    • Use context to determine the meaning of a word or phrase
    • Analyze how a poem's form or structure contributes to its meaning
    • Produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to the task, purpose, and audience

3. Extension Suggestions:

  • Students can:

    • write a poem in response to the assigned poem.
    • illustrate the poem or a section of it.
    • write a story based on the poem, noting the differences between poetry and prose
    • create a blackout poem from the original or a related piece of writing
    • create a poetry analysis poster to display what they’ve learned (an example is here)

Suggested Poems

Grades 3-5:

Grades 6-8:

Grades 9-12: