Poetry Activities (for all classrooms)

Comprehension Poems

This exercise is really just a variation of the precis poems I use in my ELA classroom.  The emphasis, as the title suggests, is on comprehension of your lesson’s content. Whatever your subject, whatever your lesson for that day, you can assess your students with this fun and engaging exercise.

Process

  1. In groups, pairs, or individually, ask students to discuss and identify the three most important points or takeaways from today’s lesson.
  2. Using a poetic structure of their choosing, have students communicate the three most important points or takeaways poetically.  If your students struggle, you can give them more specific tasks in their poems (i.e., “You can only write your poem using adjectives; You can only use prepositional phrases; You can’t use punctuation”).
  3. You can have your students either submit or recite their poems.  Just remember that the grading should focus on the poem’s key ideas from your lesson more than the artistic process.

“NOUN” Poems

Despite the general, not-too-cool-sounding title, this is a fun, all-encompassing activity that you can use for just about any subject (person, place, thing, or idea) you might be studying in your class.  The idea is to have students focus on a specific topic (person, place, thing, or idea), brainstorm words and phrases that best embrace, describe, or represent the topic, and then create poems based on the topic.

Process

  1. Assign students (either in groups, pairs, or individually) a vocabulary word, concept, person (a noun) from whatever lesson plan or unit of study your class has been working on.
  2. On a sheet of paper, have students brainstorm a list of descriptors (words and phrases) that define, describe, represent, or symbolize their noun.
  3. Have students revise their list, by choosing the descriptors they like the most or that are the most important descriptors for their noun.  Students can now start to arrange the descriptors into a form that they feel best represents that noun. If you want (either for test review or to teach their classmates), you can have students make a mobile or poster of their noun and the poem they created.
  4. You can have your students either submit or recite their poems.  Depending on your focus, you can display the poems around your class, too.