Teaching poetry can be super tough for elementary students – or it can be really fun! It is a different format than they are used to because narrative writing the norm (and who doesn’t love a good story?).
But, poetry is actually all around us. And not always in the classical sense of Robert Frost.
Keep reading to see some tips and trick for new and veteran teachers alike to put in your teaching toolbox for your next poetry unit!
As a new teacher, this was one of the hardest curriculum I had to learn how to teach, especially to younger kids who don’t “get it.” Of course, we worked with Dr. Seuss books to learn rhyming, nonsense words, and other important literacy skills, but even those materials didn’t always translate into students understanding how poems were set up (they didn’t always rhyme and they don’t always look the same).
Finding new ways to keep hitting on poetry throughout the year was vital. You never knew when the standardized test would throw in a poem and completely freak out every student in your class.
Using music as a step by step solution to teaching about poetry
I love incorporating what students already know and like into learning lessons. And using popular music is a great method for effective poetry instruction.
Of course, you will need to watch out for inappropriate lyrics and innuendos, which can be really hard with some of today’s chart toppers. But that’s when Kidz Bop Kids comes into play.
They have CDs, a YouTube channel, and even a tour (I took my 4th grade son to a concert at our State Fair last year and he LOVED it)
They take all the most popular pop songs and rework the lyrics (if necessary) and have kids sing them. Pretty awesome, right?
Of course, for older students, such as middle school and high school, yo could probably use actual song lyrics.
Find a song, print off the lyrics and have your class start analyzing those songs as poems. Sometimes they rhyme. Sometimes not. Sometimes they follow a pattern. Sometimes not.
Might be a great strategy to practice one new poem (aka popular song) per week and play the song at the end of the week to wrap it up after discussing the features of the poem, vocabulary, and the message the author is trying to share.
Top Lesson Plans for Poetry Activities
Need some more poetry solutions?
I love integrating subjects, so what could be better than combining math and literature? Check out THIS POST for a cool resource for multiplication poetry. It is a hit with my students!
Having trouble finding examples of poems that DON’T rhyme? I’ve got you covered!
Similes are a huge part of poems. THIS POST gives you plenty of examples. Challenge your students to write poems that include at least one simile before moving on to other types of metaphors.
Obviously poetry is only a small piece of your literacy lessons all year long. And not all students love writing. In fact, I have had plenty of students who loathed picking up that pencil to do any type of writing, much less something they personally created.
If you are in need of some student motivation ideas for writing, check out THIS POST with a helpful two-part video to get those pencils flying on the papers.
Free Poetry PDF Pack
I whipped up a super fun version of an activity you can do with them and have even included some fun templates for them to write on too! The best part? No rhyming required for this one.
Here are the directions for how to create the poems:
And here is a provided teacher example:
There are 12 total blank templates with the starting topic already listed for your students = oh yeah! This activity can be done once a month, as a fun center station, or even as morning work during National Poetry Month. The choice is yours!
Download your free Poetry Pack below!
What are your best ideas for teaching children poetry? We would love to hear them in a comment below!