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Lesson Plan

What Am I? Teaching Poetry through Riddles

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What Am I? Teaching Poetry through Riddles

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 30-minute and two 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

John Paul Walter

John Paul Walter

Washington, Washington DC

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One: Reading the Poems

Session Two: Discussing the Poems

Session Three: Writing a Class Poem

Session Four: Writing Riddle Poems

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • explore, analyze, and discuss how metaphor, simile, and metonymy are used in riddle poems.

  • use metaphor, simile, and metonymy to write original riddle poems.

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Session One: Reading the Poems

  1. Give each student a copy of the sample riddle poems handout and have them get out a separate sheet of paper to write on.

  2. As a class, read the first sample riddle poem. You can read it or have a student read it, and you can use an overhead to display the poem or just have students read along from their handouts.

  3. After you've read the first poem, ask the students to guess the answer to the riddle. You may want them to spend some time and write possible answers down or you may just call on students immediately.

  4. Once they've guessed the answer, have them write it down on their handouts and repeat, working through each of the sample riddle poems.

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Session Two: Discussing the Poems

  1. Ask the students to look back at the first poem and talk about what they notice about it, what it does, how it works, what techniques it uses, and how it both gives hints and obscures the answer. Encourage them to comment upon anything they notice.

  2. Work through each poem in turn and have students take notes.

  3. Ask the students to discuss the poems as a whole with an eye towards defining what makes a good riddle poem. At the very least, you'll want to discuss the use of metaphor, simile, and metonymy.

  4. Distribute the Riddle Poem Features handout and ask the students to use it to analyze the riddle poems, and/or have them work through Exploring Riddle Poem Techniques.

 

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Session Three: Writing a Class Poem

  1. Distribute the Writing a Riddle Poem handout and go over it as a class or ask the students to work through it individually online.

  2. Then, as a class, use the steps to collectively write a class riddle poem.

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Session Four: Writing Riddle Poems

  1. Using the guidelines and strategies established by the class and tested through the process of writing the class poem, have the students write some riddle poems. If they write in class, walk around the room and look for good examples of poems and parts of poems.

  2. Students can also do this individually online using the Student Riddle interactive. They can plan their poems using the Riddle Planning Sheet.

  3. Have the students peer-review their poems with each other in small groups, focusing on the features you've emphasized, and choose a few for further revision.

  4. Have the students share their poems, either with the whole class or in smaller groups. Remind the class that the peer-review group members should not answer each other's riddles as they already know the answers!

  5. Have the students publish their poems or create a class riddle poem anthology.

  6. Students can use the Stapleless Book student interactive to create their own riddle poem collection. They can map out their books using the Stapleless Book Planning Sheet.

  7. Students can use construction paper to make cards with the poem on the outside and a picture (drawing, clip art, cut-out from magazine) of the answer on the inside.

  8. Students may also choose to create PowerPoint anthologies.

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EXTENSIONS

  • The ReadWriteThink lesson plan What Makes Poetry? Exploring Line Breaks can help students think about how and when to use line breaks as they write their own riddle poems.

  • Riddles have a long history and exist in most cultures. Extend this lesson by investigating the traditions of riddles in other cultures, including Lithuania.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

 

  • Observe students’ involvement in thinking and discussing the poems. Are the students interested and engaged in the process?

  • Observe students’ involvement in the composing and peer-review process. Do they seem to understand the riddle poetry genre and the techniques the class has identified and discussed? Are they able to offer useful feedback during the peer-review process?

  • Handout the student self-assessment and have students use it to check their riddle poems.

 

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