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Lesson Plan

Writing Free Verse in the "Voice" of Cesar Chavez

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Writing Free Verse in the "Voice" of Cesar Chavez

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 40- to 50-minute class sessions
Lesson Author

Dori Maria Jones

Oxnard, California


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



This lesson gives students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the characteristics of free verse and to write a free verse poem using written material about the labor activist Cesar Chavez. First, students read about experiences that helped shape the life of Chavez and take descriptive notes about these experiences. Using these notes, each student composes a first draft of a free verse poem in the "voice" of Chavez. With the help of graphic organizers and a rubric, they revise, polish, and share their poems with their classmates.

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Tiedt, I.M. (2002). Swift things are beautiful: Writing original poetry. In Tiger lilies, toadstools, and thunderbolts: Engaging K8 students with poetry (pp. 107133). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Nonrhyming verse is often easier than rhyming verse for students to write successfully.

  • As a genre, free verse has few restrictions; thus, students with a range of skills and abilities can write it successfully.

  • By giving students strategies to improve their poems, it is possible to help students write more powerful poetry.

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