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Lesson Plan

Multipurpose Poetry: Introducing Science Concepts and Increasing Fluency

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Multipurpose Poetry: Introducing Science Concepts and Increasing Fluency

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will:

  • Participate in choral poetry readings

  • Work cooperatively in groups to create a choral reading of an assigned poem

  • Use a graphic organizer to gather factual information about a particular insect

  • Present choral poetry readings and research information orally to the class

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Session 1

1. Begin the lesson by discussing poetry with students. What do they know about poems? What kind of poems have they read before? Tell students that they are going to be reading some poems about insects.

2. Display the poem "The Treehoppers" from Insectlopedia. Read the poem aloud and ask students to listen and follow along as you point to each word. When you finish reading the poem, tell students that you are going to read it again and invite them to join along.

3. Once the poem has been read 2 times, ask students to help you create a choral reading. Ask for their suggestions (e.g., students read every other line, girls read one line and boys read another, half the class reads one line and half the class reads another). Perform the choral reading.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the poem "Fireflies" from Joyful Noise. The poems in this book are written for "two voices;" that is, they are written for two people to read together. You will need to take this into consideration when planning the choral readings. Some of the lines in the poem are meant to be read simultaneously by two people or groups. You should familiarize students with the format of the poems from Joyful Noise since they will be reading them in small groups during Session 2.

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Session 2

1. Reread the poems from the previous session in a new choral format. Ask a student volunteer to follow along with a pointer as the poem is read.

2. Divide students into 3 cooperative groups, and assign each group an insect (i.e., whirligig beetles, crickets, and mayflies) and each student in the group a task. Suggested tasks include recorder, timekeeper, mediator (makes sure that everyone in the group has a chance to talk), and task manager (makes sure that the groups stays on task). The assigned tasks should enable students to work more cooperatively together and to practice teamwork skills.

Once students are in their designated groups, give each group the chart papers with their poems written on them. Each group should have two poems: one from Insectlopedia and one from Joyful Noise.

3. Have students read the two poems several times in their groups. Students should develop a choral reading for each poem. Reinforce to students that all group members must participate in the choral reading. Allow students the freedom of choosing how they want to perform the choral reading.

4. Allow students time to practice their choral readings with their small groups until they feel comfortable with the poems.

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Session 3

1. Divide students into their small groups and have them run through their choral readings from the previous session.


Pass out the Research Information worksheet and tell students that they are going to work individually to find information about the insects in their poems.

3. Explain how students should complete the chart and direct them to the following webpages :

4. When students have completed the research information chart, have them return to their small groups to discuss and compare information. Collect the research charts.

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Session 4

Have each small group perform the choral readings of their poems for the class, and ask each student in the group to contribute one fact about his or her insect.

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  • Have students write a short report about their assigned insect.

  • Create groups with one member of each insect group and have each student teach their group members about their insect ("expert" groups).

  • Ask students to create a model of their insect and label the insect's body parts.

  • Ask students to choose a favorite poem to read aloud and share with the class.

  • Have students write diamante poems comparing two of the insects studied in class.

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  • Assess the development of students' oral language skills informally through observation.

    1. Were students comfortable performing the choral readings?

    2. Did they read fluently?

    3. Did they enjoy reading the poems aloud?

  • Use students' Research Information worksheets to assess their knowledge about the insect and research skills. Check to make sure that each section of the worksheet is filled in with accurate information.

  • Evaluate students' cooperative learning skills. Did students stay on task and complete the assignment while working in groups?

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