Teaching reading poetry can be daunting.. but teaching writing poetry can be downright terrifying! Following these simple steps can make teaching students about writing poems easy peasy.
Step 1: Intro & Reading Lesson
Before teaching students to write poetry, they are going to need to practice reading poems. You can read more in-depth about how I teach reading poetry here.
A quick synopsis: First, I show students an anchor chart that explicitly teaches the daily reading skill. Then, I love to model with both examples I have written, as well as real examples from famous authors.
After students have been exposed to the poem in multiple settings and have had practice reading these types of poems, we focus on WRITING POEMS.
Step 2: Ready to Write Poems
Before letting students write their own poems, I will model how to write a poem using a template.
First, I show students a blank template, and we relate it back to the model. Then, I show students how I would fill in the template by doing a shared writing activity. We come up with ideas as a class, then read the poem back out loud to be sure we hit all of the correct components.
Step 3: Let Students WRITE!
Finally, I allow students to use the template as a GUIDE to write their own poems. Typically, I will display the template for students to use, but I do NOT make a copy for every student. This removed scaffold encourages students to remember the formula, and to be able to replicate poetry onto any page.
Some poems need to follow the template exactly, whereas some can be modified. I am sure to talk about the difference. For example, haikus MUST follow the same format every time, where autobiographical poems can be modified to fit the writer’s interests.
If students are struggling, you can definitely allow them to write directly on a template for guidance. This is great for EL students, students with an IEP or struggling readers/writers.
If all of your students struggle with the same type of poem, try a shared writing. Allow students to copy if they are stuck, and allow students who have a good grasp on the poem to make up their own poem.
Step 4: Publish and Share
I give my students a “poetry book” that we work on the entire month. Each day, they write in the book and spend lots of time illustrating the pages.
At the end of the unit, we invite parents in for an “author’s tea” where they can come and “drink tea” with their students and hear their poems. If that is not an option, an author’s chair or recording and sharing are also great options.
What is your favorite way to teach students about writing poems? Drop it in the comments below!