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Lesson Plan

Compiling Poetry Collections and a Working Definition of Poetry

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Compiling Poetry Collections and a Working Definition of Poetry

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Mary Osborne

Ozona, Florida


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



This unit introduces poetry forms and craft elements while students explore poetry about everyday topics or themes. Students begin by discussing their varying definitions of poetry, brainstorming all the different types of poems they know, and briefly discussing elements of poetry. In each subsequent session, students are introduced to one form of poetry. This lesson uses concrete/shape, haiku, cinquain, two-voice, and free-form poetry, but the lesson can be easily adapted for any poetic form. Students read examples, define the form, and find additional examples in poetry books. They create their own poetry collection by adding examples, definitions, and their own poems to a writer's notebook. In the final session, students go back through the poems they have collected, looking for examples of five elements of poetry.

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Poetic Forms...and Examples: This page from PBS NewsHour offers an extensive list of poetic forms, with examples of each.

Poetry Collection Checklist: Have students complete this checklist of their favorite examples of each type of poetry as an assessment for the unit.

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In "Language and Literacy: The Poetry Connection," Dorothy S. Strickland and Michael R. Strickland explain that immersion in poetry provides a positive experience for students that provides scaffolding for later poetry exploration and experimentation. By reading a variety of poems in read alouds, independent reading, and group sharing, students begin to play with poetic ideas and forms naturally. The article explains that "many teachers still argue that there is value in highlighting certain literary devices or aspects of a form as one way of knowing and appreciating literature. When students discuss various characteristics of a form, it helps inform their own writing and familiarizes them with common terminology needed to talk about language, literature, and literacy. Familiarity with the structure and terminology of literacy facilitates students' abilities to communicate with others about what they know. In addition, such familiarity can deepen students' personal responses and interpretations of literature" (201). In this lesson plan, students explore a wide range of poetic forms and devices in order to gain the kind of grounding understanding of poetic elements that Strickland and Strickland recommend.

Further Reading

Strickland, Dorothy S., and Michael R. Strickland. "Language and Literacy: The Poetry Connection." Language Arts 74.3 (March 1997): 201-205.

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