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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Creating Classroom Community by Crafting Themed Poetry Collections

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Creating Classroom Community by Crafting Themed Poetry Collections

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

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One: Poetry Exploration

Session Two: Defining the Genre

Session Three: Defining the Requirements of the Project

Session Four: Diamante

Session Five: Cinquain

Session Six: 5W

Session Seven: Bio Poem

Session Eight: I Am Poem

Session Nine: Name Poem

Session Ten: Acrostic Poems

Session Eleven: Limericks

Session Twelve: Two-Voice Poetry

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • listen to a variety of different types of poetry.

  • explore poetry books, anthologies and collections independently.

  • learn the characteristics of several different forms of poetry.

  • learn the definitions of several different types of poetry craft elements.

  • examine already published poems that meet the characteristics of the chosen forms of poetry.

  • examine already published poems that meet the characteristics of the chosen craft elements of poetry.

  • create a working definition of poetry forms.

  • write poems that meet certain poetic forms.

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Session One: Poetry Exploration

  1. Make sure the students have their writer's notebooks, which will be used to create their poems and compile their poetry collections.

  2. Begin by telling the students that they are going to be working on a unit about poetry. Ask the students to list the kinds of poetry they have heard of or have experience with.

  3. Write students' responses on the board or chart paper.

  4. After you have recorded their brainstormed list, divide students into small groups and pass out the poetry collection books that you've gathered. Each group should have at least one thematic collection to look at. You may provide additional unthemed collections if desired.

  5. Ask each group to explore the books thay have available, comparing the poems that they find in the books to the information that they brainstormed. Urge students to find examples of the kinds of poems that they identified on their list.

  6. Give each group chart paper and markers, where they can write down their observations as they explore the books.

  7. Circulate among students as they work, supporting their observations and pointing out connections as appropriate.

  8. If desired, groups can exchange books and continue their observations.

  9. Once groups have explored their books, ask each group to share their findings with the rest of the class.

  10. After all groups have shared, ask students to help create a class definition of poetry. It will not be a dictionary definition, but a working definition that will grow and change as the unit progresses. Make sure that the students know that there is no one "right" answer about poetry.

  11. Post your class definition in a prominent place in the classroom so that you can return to it throughout the unit.

  12. If time remains, students can continue exploring the poetry books you have selected.

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Session Two: Defining the Genre

  1. Ask students to return to their groups and the poetry collection books they explored in the previous class.

  2. Explain that in the previous session you looked primarily at the form of the poems in the books. During this session, ask students to look at what the poems are about.

  3. Give each group another piece of chart paper. Ask groups to explore the thematic collection and note their observations about the information, content, and topic of the poems.

  4. Circulate among students as they work, supporting their observations and pointing out connections as appropriate. Exploration should move quickly as students are familiar with the books from the previous session.

  5. When groups have finished collecting their ideas, ask each group to share their observations.

  6. After everyone has shared, ask students to identify what makes each one of the books special, what makes the poems in each fit together.

  7. Record the features that students identify on the board or chart paper.

  8. Once students have shared all of their observations, identify the genre of the books as thematic poetry collections.

  9. Using the features students brainstormed as the source, invite the class to help you construct a revised list of the characteristics that fit thematic poetry collections. Take the opportunity to group related ideas together and filter out information that does not help identify the genre as you revise the original list into a description of the genre.

  10. With the genre defined, explain that students will write original thematic poetry collections focusing on "getting to know each other" and back-to-school poems over the next week and a half.

  11. To begin the exploration of the theme, read one or more poems about going back to school, using an example found online, a poem in one of the collections in your classroom, or a poem that you've written yourself.

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Session Three: Defining the Requirements of the Project

  1. Share the forms of poetry you will be focusing on in this unit (e.g. diamante, cinquain, 5 W's, bio poem, "I am" poem, name poem, acrostic poem, limerick, two-voice).

  2. Distribute or use the overhead projector to display the Poetry Collection Checklist or the Interactive Poetry Collection Checklist and discuss the requirements of the activity.

  3. Explain to the students that while they are learning about the different forms of poetry, they will also be seeing different elements of poetry, such as metaphor and simile. Make connections to the working definitions that students created during the previous sessions.

  4. With forms of poetry defined, if desired, discuss some of the different elements of poetry with the students. Some useful Websites with examples are found in the Resources section. While you will be teaching the forms of poetry explicitly, it's most effective to teach about the elements of poetry as they arise naturally over the following class sessions. For example, while you are working on diamante, someone might write a metaphor. Use this as a teachable moment to learn more about that element of poetry.

  5. If time remains, students can begin brainstorming back-to-school topics and ideas that they can return to as they write their own poems over the course of the lesson.

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Session Four: Diamante

  1. Read and show your students several different diamante poems. Have at least one example of a diamante to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their writer's notebooks or add it to their poetry folder. Alternatively, you could display the poem on an overhead projector and students can copy the poem into their notebooks.

  2. After reading the examples of diamante, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the diamante handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of diamante, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group diamante to model the form. As you work, reinforce the following characteristics, pointing to similar information recorded in students' observations when appropriate:

    • Diamante poems are shaped like a diamond, with 7 lines.

    • The words on lines 1 and 7 are opposites.

    • On lines 2 and 6, there are two adjectives that describe the nouns they are located beside.

    • Lines 3 and 5 contain "doing words."

    • Line 4 includes four nouns that relate to the words on lines 1 and 7.

    • Each line begins with a capital letter.

    • There are commas between the words in lines 2 and 6.
  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own diamante poems, following the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem.

    • The students could also create their poems using the Diamante Poems interactive.
  8. Remind students that because their poetry collections will focus on getting to know each other, their diamante should be personally related. For example, the diamante could start about third grade and end about fourth grade or it could be about personal changes in the student.

  9. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  10. Now that the students have read, written and listened to Diamante poems, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of diamante, and add, delete, or clarify.

  11. Additional resource for diamante poetry:

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Session Five: Cinquain

  1. Read and show students several different cinquain poems. Have at least one example of a cinquain to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples of cinquain, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the diamante form explored in the previous session?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the cinquain handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of cinquain, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group cinquain to model the form. As you work, reinforce the following characteristics, pointing to similar information recorded in students' observations when appropriate:

    • Cinquains are poems that are written using a recipe.

    • Most cinquain poems consist of a single, 22-syllable stanza, but they can be combined into longer works.

    • A cinquain consists of five lines.

    • The first line has two syllables.

    • The second line has four syllables.

    • The third line has six syllables.

    • The fourth line has eight syllables.

    • The final line has two syllables.
  7. Ask students to choose a partner to compose cinquain with.

  8. Using the questions on the handout to interview each other, the students will write a cinquain about their partner on the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper.

  9. Remind students to follow the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem.

  10. Have the students share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  11. Now that the students have read, written and listened to cinquain, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of cinquain, and add, delete, or clarify.

  12. Additional resources for cinquain:

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Session Six: 5W

  1. Read and show the students several different 5W poems. Have at least one example to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the diamante and cinquain forms explored in the previous sessions?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the 5Ws handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout. Explain that the 5Ws are often used as a comprehension tool (think journalism). Many teachers also use it while reading both fiction and nonfiction. Here, they can be used to create a non-rhyming poem.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of 5W poem, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group 5W poem to model the form. As you work, reinforce that 5Ws poetry include the answers to the questions Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own 5W poems, following the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem.

  8. Share some good topics for 5W poems such as writing about a summer activity or a memory from last school year. This is also an excellent poem for students to interview each other and write the poem about that person.

  9. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  10. Now that the students have read, written and listened to 5W poems, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of 5W poems, and add, delete, or clarify.

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Session Seven: Bio Poem

  1. Read and show students several different bio poems. Have at least one example to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples of bio poems, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the poems explored in the previous sessions?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the bio poems handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout. Bio Poems are all about a person. It is a way for people to introduce themselves to others. The author is able to share thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of bio poem, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group bio poem to model the form. As you work, reinforce the details on the handout.

  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own bio poems, following the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem. This is another good poem for students to interview each other and write the poem about that person.

  8. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  9. Now that the students have read, written and listened to bio poems, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of bio poems, and add, delete, or clarify.

  10. Additional resources for Bio Poems:

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Session Eight: I Am Poem

  1. Read and show students several different I Am poems. Have at least one example to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples of I Am poems, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the poems explored in the previous sessions?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the I Am Poems handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout. I Am Poems are all about a person. It is a way for people to introduce themselves to others, with topics that might not come up in every day conversation. The author is able to share emotions and feelings, and imagination and senses.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of I am poem, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group I Am poem to model the form. As you work, reinforce the details on the handout.

  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own I Am poems, following the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem.

  8. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  9. Now that the students have read, written and listened to I Am poems, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of I am poems, and add, delete, or clarify.

  10. Additional resources for I Am Poems:

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Session Nine: Name Poem

  1. Read and show students several different name poems. Have at least one example to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples of name poems, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the poems explored in the previous sessions?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the name poems handout and Writing a Name Poem handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout. A name poem is a prescribed way for people to introduce themselves to others. The author is able to share characteristics, thoughts, emotions, and dreams.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of name poem, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group name poem to model the form. As you work, reinforce the details on the handouts.

  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own name poems, following the guidelines on the handouts and discussed as you wrote your group poem.

  8. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  9. Now that the students have read, written and listened to name poems, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of name poems, and add, delete, or clarify.

  10. Additional resources for Name Poems:

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Session Ten: Acrostic Poems

  1. Read and show students several different acrostic poems. Have at least one example to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples of acrostic poems, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the poems explored in the previous sessions?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the acrostic poems handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout. Acrostic poems use the letters of words as starting points for adjectives or descriptive phrases, spelling a word down the page with the first letter of each line.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of acrostic poem, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group acrostic poem to model the form. As you work, reinforce the details on the handout.

  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own acrostic poems, following the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem. This assignment calls for students to work together and interview each other.

  8. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  9. Now that the students have read, written and listened to acrostic poems, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of acrostic poems, and add, delete, or clarify.

  10. Additional resources for Acrostic Poems:

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Session Eleven: Limericks

  1. Read and show students several different limericks. Have at least one example to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples of limericks, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the poems explored in the previous sessions?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the limericks handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of limerick, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group name poem to model the form. As you work, reinforce the following characteristics, pointing to similar information recorded in students' observations when appropriate:

    • Limerick Poems are five-line poem written with one couplet and one triplet.

    • A couplet is a two-line rhymed poem, and a triplet would be a three-line rhymed poem.

    • The rhyme pattern is a-a-b-b-a with lines 1, 2 and 5 containing 3 beats and rhyming, and lines 3 and 4 having two beats and rhyming.

    • Some people say that the limerick was invented by soldiers returning from France to the Irish town of Limerick in the 1700's.

    • Limericks are meant to be funny.

    • They often contain hyperbole, onomatopoeia, idioms, puns, and other figurative devices.

    • The last line of a good limerick contains the punchline or "heart of the joke."
  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own limericks, following the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem. Their poem could be about themselves, another student in the class, or if you are brave, the teacher!

  8. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  9. Now that the students have read, written and listened to limericks, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of limericks, and add, delete, or clarify.

  10. Additional resources for Limerick Poems:

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Session Twelve: Two-Voice Poetry

  1. Listen to examples of two-voice poems and/or read and show students several different two-voice poems. Have at least one example to hand out to the students. Students should glue or paste this example into their notebook or add it to their poetry folder.

  2. After reading the examples of two-voice poems, ask students what they notice about these poems—what makes them similar? how are they different? how are the poems different from the poems explored in the previous sessions?

  3. Record students' responses on chart paper or the board.

  4. Distribute the two-voice poems handout, and ask students to point out observations they recorded that connect to the format of the poem, shown on the handout.

  5. With the details on the handout and student observations, create a class definition of two-voice poem, which students can copy in their writer's notebooks.

  6. As a class, write a group two-voice poem to model the form. As you work, reinforce the following characteristics, pointing to similar information recorded in students' observations when appropriate:

    • Two-voice poetry is poetry that is written for two or more people to perform or read together.

    • The poem is usually written in two columns—one for each person who is reading the poem.

    • Sometimes, the poet wants the two readers to say something at the same time.

    • If that is the case, then the poet will write the words on the same line in each column.

    • You can compare two-voice poetry to a conversation between two people.
  7. On the next page of their writer's notebooks or on a sheet of paper, ask students to write their own two-voice poems, following the guidelines on the handout and discussed as you wrote your group poem. This is a great opportunity for students to work together and have teamwork. The two-voice poem can be a get to know you conversation or a way of introducing each other to the class.

  8. Ask the students to share the poems that they wrote in their poetry collection.

  9. Now that the students have read, written and listened to two-voice poems, they should revisit their definition of poetry from previous sessions and their definition of two-voice poems, and add, delete, or clarify.

  10. Additional resources for two-voice poetry:

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EXTENSIONS

  • Students can share their poems after each session in an Author's Chair, or you can have a special celebration for sharing of poetry. Since this project was to help create classroom community, they could be performed at Open House or a Back to School Night.

  • Each student can complete an art project (collage, diorama, anything that shows who they are) to accompany the poems.

  • Students can publish their Poetry Collections using the ReadWriteThink Printing Press. They have the option of making a flyer, newspaper, brochure, or booklet.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • As students read, collect, and write their poems during this unit, observe their activities. Look for engagement and immersion in the activity. If you notice students who are not participating fully in the activities, try to provide additional examples and encourage students to work together to support one another. Since the goal of the activity is not only to write poetry but also to build community, establishing the practice of peer readers in the context of a writing workshop is just as important.

  • At the end of this activity, provide students with a copy of the Poetry Collection Checklist or use the Interactive Poetry Collection Checklist, which allows students to type the titles of their poems and add additional criteria (for instance, if they want to list two poems for a category). Final assessment of the activity should be based on the completion of poetry collection in the composition books. Compare students’ checklists to the poems in their composition books. Provide feedback on selections as well as pointers on how to re-categorize poems in situations when poetic form is misidentified.

  • A further assessment is to conference with the students about their poetry and their poetic definitions. Invite the students to discuss with you how their definitions of poetry evolved through the course of the unit of study. As the students redefine, it is evidence of their learning.

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