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10 Fun Elementary School Classroom Decorations
An elementary school classroom that is decorated with fun colors and themes can help create an exciting learning atmosphere for children of all ages. Here are 10 fun elementary school classroom decorations that can help engage young students.
Use Bright Colors
Children love bright colors, and an exciting classroom can spark imagination and keep children wanting to learn more.
Make the Walls Count
The walls in any elementary school classroom should be instructional in nature and inspire students to work hard and be kind.
Offer a Warm Welcoming
The first thing a student sees upon entering a classroom is the door. Make the door stand out and creates a warm, inviting welcome.
Display Student Artwork
Nothing makes a student feel more proud than seeing his or her artwork on display. Create a Fine Art Gallery to proudly display students work.
Create a Reading Nook
There’s nothing better than an inviting reading nook in an elementary classroom. A bookshelf and a cozy cushion or two can help students foster a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
Create a Classroom Theme
A classroom theme ties the room together and can get students focused on a specific topic. Fun themes include under the sea, desert plants, jungle animals and rainbows.
Classroom calendars are a great interactive decoration that students can update daily. A calendar can help students establish a routine and commit important dates to memory.
Create a Wall of Fame
A fun way for teachers and students to get to know each other is to create a Wall of Fame in the classroom. Students can submit pictures or have their pictures taken in school.
Every student loves to feel important. A classroom job is the perfect way to teach children responsibility and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Computer access for students is important in every 21st century classroom. An elementary classroom should have a space for students to safely access the web. Kahoot is a fun way to play interactive and educational games for students of all ages. Some of the games available to students on Kahoot include lessons in world history, geometry and vocabulary. Google Classroom is an innovative online classroom where students can join a class created by an educator. In order to access Google Classroom, students must first receive an access code from his or her teacher. Students cannot access Google Classroom with their personal Google login. Schools must have a G Suite For Education aCC0unt before creating classes for students.
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Step by Step: Poetry Unit for Elementary Classrooms
Week One of the Poetry Unit Plan – Figurative Language
Week Two – Introduction to Poetry
Engaging Poetry Elements Activity
Fourth Grade Poetry Writing
Weeks Three & Four –Write Original Poetry
More Ideas for Your Poetry Unit Lesson Plans
Creative Writing Prompts
Games to Review Your Poetry Unit
9 Fun Poetry Lessons to Add to Your Next Unit
Poetry Out Loud Lesson Plans
Poetry Writing Lessons
Happy Poetry Writing! It’s such a fun way to expand your students’ writing capabilities, and I hope these poetry lesson ideas help you! And if you’re looking for more ways to engage your students, I’ve got tons of ideas in my free Classroom Community Planner . Download it for free here to keep the fun going after your elementary poetry unit!
Five Poetry Lesson Plans for Elementary School Students
Here are five hot-off-the-presses poetry lesson plans for elementary school students, from our Writing the Community teaching artists!
I Give the Giving Tree (Sophie Daws)
Similes Made of Rock, Shell, and Bone (Matisse Rosen)
"Where Does Tomorrow Live?" (Matisse Rosen)
Travel to Malaysia: Learn to Write Pantoums (Saraiya Kanning)
Travel to Japan: Learn to Write Haikus (Saraiya Kanning)
Photographs by Jeremy Thomas , Irina Iacob , Meiying Ng , IQRemix , and Hokusai .
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Poetry Writing Lessons for Kids
There are many different ways to write poems as well as lots of techniques you can learn to help you improve your writing skill. Here are many of the poetry writing lessons for children that I have created to help you become a better poet, including how to write funny poetry, poetic rhythm, poetic forms and other styles of verse, as well as lesson plans for teachers and video lessons.
How to Write Funny Poetry
- Chapter 1: Writing Poetry
- Chapter 2: How to Rhyme
- Chapter 3: Choosing a Topic
- Chapter 4: Making it Funny
- Chapter 5: Types of Funny Poems
Rhythm in Poetry
- You Can Scan, Man
- I Am the Iamb
- Okie Dokie, Here’s the Trochee
- More than Two Feet
A poetic “form” is a set of rules for writing a certain type of poem. These rules can include the number of lines or syllables the poem should have, the placement of rhymes, and so on. Here are lessons for writing several common poetic forms.
- How to Write an Acrostic Poem
- How to Create Book Spine Poetry
- How to Write a Cinquain Poem
- How to Write a Clerihew
- How to Write a Concrete or “Shape” Poem
- How to Write a Diamante Poem
- How to Create a “Found Poem”
- How to Write a Free Verse Poem
- How to Write a Haiku
- How to Write a Limerick
- How to Write a Sonnet
- How to Write a Tanka Poem
- How to Write a Triolet
Other Poetic Styles
There are many different styles of poems. These are not “poetic forms” because they don’t usually have firm rules about length, syllable counts, etc., but they are common enough that many well-known children’s poets have written poems like these.
- How to Write an Alliteration Poem
- How to Write an Apology Poem
- How to Write a “Backward” Poem
- How to Write an Exaggeration Poem
- How to Write a “Favorite Things” List Poem
- How to Write a Funny Epitaph Poem
- How to Write a Funny List Poem
- How to Write a Traditional “Mother Goose” Nursery Rhyme
- How to Write a Fractured Nursery Rhyme
- How to Write an “I Can’t Write a Poem” Poem
- How to Write an Onomatopoeia Poem
- How to Write an Opposite Day Poem
- How to Write a “Playing With Your Food” Poem
- How to Write a Repetition Poem
- How to Write Riddle Rhymes
- How to Write a “Roses are Red” Valentine’s Day Poem
- How to Write a Silly Song Parody
- How to Write a Tongue Twister
- How to Host an Open Mic Poetry Party
- How to Host a Poetry Slam
- How to Recite a Poem Like an Expert
Other Poetry Writing Lessons
- Can You Make Up Words?
- Describe the Sky – A Poetry Creativity Workout
- Evoking the Senses in a Poem
- Five Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block
- How to Start a Poetry Journal
- “Forced Rhymes” and How to Avoid Them
- That Doesn’t Sound Right to Me
- Twenty Fun Writing Prompts for Kids
Poetry Lesson Plans for Teachers
- Alliteration and Assonance Lesson Plan
- Onomatopoeia Poetry Lesson Plan
- Personification Poetry Lesson Plan
- Rhyme Schemes Lesson Plan
- Simile and Metaphor Lesson Plan
Video Poetry Lessons
- Awesome Acrostics – A video poetry writing lesson
- How to Rhyme – A video poetry writing lesson
Poetry Dictionaries and Rhyming Words Lists
When reading these lessons, you may come across some unfamiliar words. If you see a poetic term and don’t know what it means, you can always look it up in the Poetic Terms Dictionary. Poetry4kids also has a rhyming dictionary and a list of rhyming words you can use to help you write poems.
- Poetic Terms Dictionary for Kids
Rhyming Dictionary for Kids
- Rhyming Words Lists
Other Useful Poetry-Writing Lessons
There are loads of websites on the Internet that offer helpful lessons for children on how to write poems. Here are a few you may find useful:
- Writing Rhyme and Meter
- How to Teach Poetry Writing in Four Easy Lessons
- Poetry Worksheets and Printables
Type any word here to find all the words that rhyme with it
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3 Ways to Introduce Poetry to Elementary Students
Teachers can use these practical and innovative strategies to help students get familiar with poetic ways of exploring language.
As someone who reads and writes poetry, I’m unsurprisingly a big advocate for its power to engage, inform, and educate learners of all ages. Over the years, I’ve used poetry as frequently as possible while teaching elementary and middle school students. This includes both reading and discussing poetry, along with writing poetic responses and experiencing the writing process as a poet.
I do this as a way to offset the fact that poetry is underrepresented in current curricula, often fighting for space and struggling to be utilized by teachers whose own experiences of poetry at school might have been underwhelming or discouraging. I try to squeeze in mini-units of poetry whenever I can and hope that sharing my process allows others to do the same.
Here I’d like to share three fairly straightforward ways to bring poetry into the classroom in the early elementary grades.
1. Try a 1-Week Mini-Unit
Ideally, I would love to have two weeks for a unit of poetry, but a week is all I can manage in the current curriculum. Even then, I’m taking a week out of nonfiction or fiction writing units to achieve this, so it ends up being a whistle-stop tour of the poetic process.
Day 1: Introduce the poetic concept, discuss student ideas and questions, and record ideas as words or phrases in writing journals. The teacher models with their own ideas.
Day 2: Take words and phrases and develop them into complete sentences, incorporating a grammar and/or vocabulary goal from the writing unit. The teacher models with their own poetic sentences.
Day 3: Students pick their favorite sentences (at least three) and show how to edit them with more descriptive vocabulary. There’s also a focus on correctly spelling any high-frequency words. The teacher models with their own poem.
Day 4: Model how to publish the lines as a poem on the page. Students then publish their work.
Day 5: Share the work with each other as a whole class. The teacher models how to read poetry aloud.
2. Introduce Poetry with Model Texts
For my first-grade students, this is usually the first time they have written poetry. Early on, one of my students asked one of the most important questions in poetry: “What is a poem?” To answer this, I use model texts before and during the week to help the students become used to what a poem is, what it looks like, what writers focus on—language and images, etc. I also focus on the students’ independent reading and have them choose poetry books from our class library.
Some of my recent favorite model texts have been If This Bird Had Pockets , by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and Desert Voices , by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall.
What I especially like about the above two books is that they take a break from the way that poetry is commonly presented to children: as lines and verses filled with rhyme and humor. While they are wonderful tools, writing a poem with rhyme has the pitfall of focusing on what words rhyme with another word. Instead, I model free verse poetry (a poem with no particular rules of rhyme or structure) that sometimes includes occasional rhyme and repetition.
The key is to focus on the words that describe images and the overall purpose of the poem. This helps students express what is in their imagination without getting tied up in form and structure—elements that they will study in the years to come.
3. Ideas for Mini-Units
1. The Secret Sounds of Spring: Our next mini-unit will combine our science unit on sound with an opinion-writing unit at the start of spring. I will take students on a poetry walk around the school to find all the secret signs of spring but focus on what they might literally and creatively sound like. An excellent prompt poem for this is Roger McGough’s “ The Sound Collector .” The types of sounds we’d be listening for might be the yawning of awakening trees, the baby talk of leaf buds, and the excited chattering of birds.
2. Thankful for Poetry: The week before the Thanksgiving holiday, we took a week to create a poem about what we were grateful for in our lives. This was the first time my first-grade students had ever written a complete poem (though some had written poetic sentences with my wife, a kindergarten teacher at the same school). The week culminated in our presenting a class-created line of gratitude for the Native Americans of Oregon at our first school assembly of the year—a student’s suggestion! My model text for this unit was Chief Jake Swamp’s Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message .
3. The Spirit of Winter: The week before our winter holiday, we created poetry imagining that winter was a living creature. This connected well with our nonfiction teaching book unit in which the students had been researching a chosen animal. It allowed students to use their new scientific vocabulary and understanding as well as build longer sentences using and —a grammar goal. For this unit, I used image prompts from the internet and wrote my own sample poem .
4. The Poetry of Emotions: Toward the end of the school year, we write realistic fiction texts. For this unit, our students write poetry about their emotions. They choose an emotion and describe what that emotion looks, feels, sounds, tastes, and acts like. This exercise expands their descriptive vocabulary around a realistic subject that can be applied to the writing.
The Many Benefits of Poetry
Poetry may contain fewer words than students are used to in reading assignments, but the heightened focus on vocabulary, sentence construction, and meaning ultimately serves to heighten their writing and thinking skills.
My first-grade students enjoy seeking out and using new, complex words that we call “wow!” words. Having no required template for the poems means that students are free to explore and experiment. They surprise themselves with what they write, and their unique voice and creativity can shine. They can and will be poets.
Of all the writing I have done with students in elementary school, teaching poetry writing has been the most exhilarating and successful. Kids love it; they are energized by the myriad of possibilities and the total writing freedom.
Teachers love it too; it's fun and easy to teach, and all kids thrive.
Several years ago, when I began teaching young children how to write free-verse poetry, I was amazed at how creative and insightful all kids became. Students who struggled with forming letters and words and with writing sentences, and who found writing in school burdensome, blossomed in this genre. Free from restrictions in content, form, space, length, conventions, and rhyme, they could let their imaginations soar. Proficient writers also shone.
For all children, their choice of words improved, and their joy in innovating surfaced. For some students who felt constricted by the requirements of school writing (journals, letters, and assignments), poetry writing freed them up.
Kenneth, a first grader, was one such student. The act of writing was physically difficult for him, and the traditional process was unsuccessful. Adult expectations for good handwriting also contributed to his dislike of writing. His teacher, Kevin Hill, commented on the impact of poetry writing: "With poetry, Kenneth was unleashed, and his talents were all over the page."
Fascinated by the world around him, Kenneth could finally use writing to express himself freely. Poetry writing gave him a creative outlet for his mature understanding of nature in a way that made him feel comfortable, assured, and successful. (See "Spring" below.)
Other children also wrote easily and confidently, about sports, school, friends, pets, nature, likes and dislikes, their families, and what was on their minds. Their poems displayed energy, rhythm, passion, shape, and keen observation.
What's more, the voices of individual students were evident in their poems and convinced teachers that young students could indeed write with "voice"—a personal and unique style. Hill comments, "I could actually hear individual students' voices. Even without the child's name on the paper, I would often know who wrote the poem."
Introducing Poetry to Elementary Students
Teaching poetry writing so that all kids are successful requires an in-depth introduction, including exposure to lots of poetry. While the initial session will last about one hour, follow-up sessions, including student writing, may be shorter as less demonstrating becomes necessary.
Typically, the whole class session includes demonstrating poetry writing through one or two of the following:
- Sharing and discussing kids' poems (10–15 min.)
- Writing a poem together (10 min.)
- Teacher writing a poem in front of class (5–7 min.)
- Mini-lesson on features of poetry (5–10 min.)
- Brainstorming before independent writing (5 min.)
- Writing a poem independently (15–25 min.)
- Sharing and celebrating (10 min.)
During our introductory session, I limit the demonstration to sharing and discussing kids' poems. It is these poems most of all that will provide the confidence and models that spur budding poets into confident action.
Sharing poems written by other children sends a clear message: "Kids just like you wrote these poems. You can write poems too." I want to dispel any notions about writing being constrained, hard, or requiring strict conventions. I want students to write with ease and joy, and exposing them to kids' poems is the best way I know to accomplish that goal. Or, as one first-grade teacher put it, "they don't see themselves as poets till they see other children as poets."
As students listen to and read poetry, I want them to see and hear immediately that a poem:
- Can be about anything
- Can use few words
- Has a unique form and shape
- May or may not have rhythm and a beat
- Often ends with a punch
- Has a title
- May use invented spelling
- Let's us get to know the poet
- Is easy to create
- May be serious or humorous
- Usually expresses important personal feelings
I read aloud and show at least five or six kids' poems, such as the ones included below. These poems are written by students just like yours—students who excel in school and students who struggle, students who like to write and students who avoid it. These are first-draft poems, thoughtfully conceived but quickly written with minimal revision. Our purpose is for students to discover the fun and joy of writing.
After reading a poem, I ask students, "What do you notice? What do you like?" We often comment on what the writer did and note many of the following as we discuss the poem as a whole:
- Word choice
- Expression of feelings
- Line breaks
- Ending line
- Special or missing punctuation
Putting Pen to the Page
At the beginning of a poetry-writing session, I usually do some oral brainstorming. Rather than asking every student what he or she is going to write about (which is time-consuming and allows for only a brief response), I will ask several to talk in detail about what they think they might like to write a poem about. With the whole class "listening in," I talk with each poet. These one-on-one conversations encourage each student to pursue a topic in which he or she is interested, and to think about word choice, beginnings, endings, and so on.
I let them know that we'll have about 15 minutes of "quiet" writing with voluntary sharing afterward. I also tell them to put their name and a date on each poem so we have a permanent record of their work.
Students go back to their seats (or writing places) to begin their poems. Almost everyone settles down and gets to work right away. As they do when writing in other genres, kids quietly share ideas and help one another with spelling.
As children begin to write, I circulate about the room and briefly talk with each student, kneeling down so I am at eye level. My main purpose here is to encourage, support, and affirm each writer's efforts. Sometimes, if a student is having difficulty choosing a topic about which to write, I may need to have a brief one-on-one conference.
Celebrate the Poems
After the sustained writing time, students are invited to share their poems. Because poems are usually fairly short, sharing time goes quickly. All children get a chance to read aloud if they choose to do so.
Sometimes, students will stand at their desks and read their poems. Other times, we gather as a class in the reading-writing-sharing area, and each child reads his or her poem in the "author's chair." Some days we pair up or read in self-selected, small groups.
The purpose of the sharing is to celebrate students' efforts. I point out only what the writer has done well. Sharing the poem congratulates the writer, affirms the effort, serves as a possible model for other students, and encourages the writer to continue writing. When the writer reads, we also clearly hear the voice of the poet. At times, students instantly appreciate the quality of a poem and spontaneously applaud.
Sometimes, to generate conversation, I'll ask: "What did we learn about the poet that we didn't know before?"
There is little critique during sharing time. Once again, our purpose in writing poetry is to free kids up to write, to make poetry writing fun and easy, to play around with language, to write without concern about "correctness," and to give everyone confidence in their abilities as writers. For all of that to happen, our focus must remain on honoring children's writing efforts. Our first poetry-writing session (and all sessions) ends with this celebratory sharing.
For other teachers and me, poetry writing has proved to be the easiest, most joyful, and most successful writing many students have ever done. I wish you the same ease, joy, and success.
"Spring" Chirping Chattering Aromas Something tells Something to sing
"My Cats " Two cats One hangs One runs One dies One left I miss that skinny fellow.
"Animals " Lion Snake Leopards Oh no Lizards sea turtle moose Oh no things are scary you know
— Bridget Frantz, Grade One
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40 Inspiring Poetry Games and Activities for Kids and Teens
They are poets, and they know it!
Tired of hearing groans when you announce it’s time for some poetry? Poems can be hard for kids to connect with, so it helps to have some clever poetry games and poetry activities up your sleeve. Try these with our favorite poems for sharing with elementary students and middle and high school students !
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
Our Favorite Poetry Games and Activities
1. watch poetry videos.
Let YouTube do some of the work for you with this roundup of poetry videos for elementary students . See authors read their own poems, learn about poetry terms, and more.
2. Climb a hill with Amanda Gorman
Young poet Amanda Gorman took the world by storm when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration. Kids can really relate to her and her words, so try this roundup of poetry activities to introduce her in your classroom.
3. Take inspiration from nature
Nature has always provided inspiration for poets, and it can help your students find their own way to a love of poetry. Find out how poet David Harrison uses nature to help kids tap into their poetic sides here.
4. Read a novel in verse
Help kids find more meaning in poetry by reading novels told in verse. When they have a story to follow, they’re more likely to be engaged and open to learning about the poetic elements. Here are some of our favorite novels in verse for students of all ages.
5. Stack up book spine poetry
Pull some books off the shelves and stack them so their titles create a poem. Kids can take a pic, write the titles down as they are, or use their stack as inspiration for a more fleshed-out masterpiece.
Learn more: Living the Learning Life
6. Build a Humpty Dumpty wall
For most of us, nursery rhymes were the first poems we read, and they’re the perfect place to start with poetry games. Write words on building blocks ( try this set of Giant Cardboard Blocks from Amazon ), then stack them up to build a wall. Kids will get a kick out of these poetry activities by knocking the wall down and then building it up again!
Learn more: Toddler Approved
7. Plant a poe-tree
“ I think that I shall never see / a poem as lovely as a poe-tree!” Hang a paper tree, then fill it with leaves covered with poetry from your students.
Learn more: HarperCollins
8. Try paper bag poetry
Introduce poetry to little ones with a paper bag filled with several items of different sizes, shapes, textures, etc. Kids reach into the bag without looking and describe what they feel in a few words. These words make their first poem. This is one of the great poetry activities for younger students.
Learn more: Bulldog Readers and Bobcats Blog
9. Explore a Poem of the Week
We love the idea of using a pocket chart with sentence strips to post a poem broken down by lines or phrases. Do a different activity each day throughout the week to help students make a connection.
Learn more: Proud To Be Primary
10. Go on a poetry speed date
This is a cool way to introduce older readers to a poetry unit. Gather up all the poetry books you can find, and invite students to bring their favorites too. Students spend the class period “speed dating” the books—they simply browse and skim, looking for poems and authors that catch their eye. Encourage them to make notes of their favorites for further reading.
Learn more: Nouvelle ELA
11. Have a poetry book tasting
Here’s a cool spin on the speed-dating idea—a book tasting! Set up your room to look like a restaurant, play classical music in the background, and then invite students to sit down and try a variety of poetry books. Get more ideas on how to hold a book tasting here.
12. Pair up songs and poems
One of the easiest ways for many students to connect with poetry is by linking it with song lyrics. Visit the link below to find 15 fantastic song and poem pairings. Then, challenge your students to make their own pairings and explain the reasoning.
Learn more: The Literary Maven
13. Read poetry in different ways
Poetry is all about the reader’s (or listener’s) experience. Experiment with that idea by having kids read poems out loud in a variety of ways. How does it change the experience when you read a sad poem in a silly voice or a funny poem in a scared voice?
Learn more: The Classroom Nook/Poetry Voices
14. Spin to generate discussion
A poetry discussion can be hard going for kids at first. Use this free printable spinner to give them conversation starters or to help them choose a topic for further exploration.
Learn more: Poetry Spinner/The Classroom Game Nook
15. Create colorful paint chip poetry
This is easily one of the most popular poetry games, and for good reason. Colors are so easy to relate to and evoke lots of feelings and memories. Paint chip poetry works for every age group, too, and makes for a neat classroom display.
Learn more: Fabulous in Fifth
16. Expand on paint chip poetry
Feeling a little guilty about furtively stuffing paint chips in your pocket at the store? These printable paint chip poetry games are here to help. They include multiple ways to use paint chips for poetic inspiration too!
Learn more: Building Book Love
17. Have a “Hey Diddle, Diddle” puppet show
Nursery rhyme poems were just made to be acted out! Create stick puppets for “Hey Diddle, Diddle” using the instructions at the link, then expand to your other favorite rhymes to assemble a whole puppet show.
Learn more: All Kids Network
18. Compose acrostics
Acrostics are simple enough for beginning poets, but even Edgar Allan Poe used this style to create beautiful works. Writing one is almost like putting together a puzzle!
Learn more: My Poetic Side
19. Match DIY rhyming dominoes
Rhyming poetry games are a lot of fun, and this one starts with some DIY dominoes made from sentence strips . This is a clever way to help kids find rhymes for writing their own poems.
Learn more: No Time for Flash Cards
20. Scoop up some ice cream poetry
Jack Prelutsky’s “ Bleezer’s Ice Cream ” is a kids’ poetry classic, and it’s sure to spark your students’ imaginations. Have them write and illustrate their own ice cream poems, with a focus on alliteration and other literary devices.
Learn more: Creative Curriculum
21. Give haiku a hand
Haiku poems with their standard 5-7-5 syllable structure are fun to write. And let’s face it, most of us count the syllables on our fingers when we do! So this haiku helping hand is a perfect tool for kids. Have kids trace their own hand and write a haiku on it too.
Learn more: The Techie Teacher and Our Favorite Haiku Poems for Kids
22. Fetch a doggie haiku
Once you start with haiku, there’s just so much you can do! Elementary kids will love hearing the story of Doug, a dog looking for his forever home, in Dogku by Andrew Clements . As you might guess, the tale is told entirely in haiku. After you read the book, have kids create and illustrate their own “Dogku” poems.
Learn more: Teaching Fourth
23. Roll the haiku dice
These are so cool! Haikubes are perfect for all sorts of poetry games. Roll the cubes and create a haiku, or draw a handful from a bag and use them to make your poem. You can use these for other poetry activities too.
Buy it: Haikubes on Amazon
24. Craft 3D tunnel haiku books
Haiku are fun to write, but a 3D tunnel haiku book is next-level awesome. This project looks harder than it is; all you really need are index cards, basic school supplies, and a lot of creativity.
Learn more: Teach Kids Art
25. Be a copycat
We’re normally opposed to copying in the classroom, but for this activity, it’s A-OK! Kids write poems that mimic one they’ve been reading in class. This helps open their minds to the creativity they need to write their own unique verses later on down the line.
Learn more: One Sharp Bunch
26. Draw a concrete poem
Concrete poems are art and poetry rolled into one. Kids write a poem on any subject they like, then craft it into a shape reflecting their topic. Tip: Use a light board to allow kids to trace shapes if they find drawing a bit too challenging.
Learn more: The Room Mom
27. Play Poetry Bingo
Is there anything bingo can’t do? Turns out it even works for poetry games! Get free printable sheets to use for this Poetry Bingo game that reviews literary devices and vocabulary terms.
Learn more: Teaching With Jennifer Findley
28. Keep a poem in your pocket
There are lots of poem-in-your-pocket activities out there, but we love this one for its sheer creativity! During independent reading time, kids explore and find their favorite poem to share with classmates. After they share, they tuck them in a pocket on this spectacular hallway bulletin board for others to find and read. (Turn this into an online activity by using an online bulletin board program like Padlet .)
Learn more: Pleasures From the Page
29. Design your own poetry dice
Learn about clauses when you make a set of dice to use for poetry games. Grab this set of Dry-Erase Blocks from Amazon and write dependent clauses on one and independent clauses on the other. Roll the dice and enjoy the verses you create!
Learn more: Education.com
30. Learn limericks with a rhyming word bank
Kids love limericks —and really, who doesn’t? Their biggest challenge is usually coming up with the rhymes they need. This cool poetry activity creates a bank of rhyming words students can pull from as they craft their own lovable limericks to share.
Learn more: STEAMsational
31. Color in blackout poetry
Blackout poems are a unique way of looking at the written word. This activity is easily differentiated for students from elementary through high school, and the results are often stunning.
Learn more: What Is Blackout Poetry (Plus Inspiring Examples and Ideas)
32. Post some pushpin poetry
Remember when poetry magnets were all the rage? You can still buy them ( find them here on Amazon ), but you can also just create your own from paper scraps and pushpins. This is a low-cost way to open the door to so many poetry games and activities.
Learn more: Residence Life Crafts
33. Make magnetic poetry online
Speaking of poetry magnets, did you know you can play with them online? Really! This clever site gives you new words every time, so there are always fresh new ideas to explore.
Learn more: Magnetic Poetry Online
34. Say it with sticky notes
We love using sticky notes in the classroom , and they’re fantastic for poetry games. Have kids write a selection of words of their choice and stick them to the wall or whiteboard. Then let each student select words to use for their own verses.
Learn more: Secondary English Coffee Shop
35. Prove that opposites attract
Even polar opposites can share similarities. For this poetry activity, students choose two opposite subjects, like the ocean and desert shown here. The middle line of the poem highlights the one similarity between the pair and acts as a transition (in this case: sand). Illustrations help tell the story.
Learn more: Joy in the Journey
36. Find poetry everywhere
Found poetry is likely to become one of your students’ favorite poetry games. Give them a stack of magazines, newspapers, or books to look through, along with a pair of scissors. Have them cut out words and phrases they like, and then arrange them into a brand-new poetic masterpiece!
Learn more: There’s Just One Mommy
37. Start with simple cinquains
Cinquains are five-line poems with a specific structure. There are a variety of styles, but this poetry activity walks kids through the creation of a simple cinquain on any topic they like. This is a neat way to work on “-ing” words (known as gerunds ). Bonus: This free printable Character Cinquains worksheet can be used with any book or story.
Learn more: Teaching With Terhune
38. Learn metaphors and similes
Similes and metaphors are two of the most common literary devices found in poems. Help kids learn to tell the difference with this free printable game.
Learn more: The Classroom Nook
39. Take inspiration from metaphor dice
The right metaphor is the gateway to a unique and meaningful poem. Roll these dice to find a metaphor that will inspire and challenge your young poets.
Buy it: Metaphor Dice on Amazon
40. Host a poetry slam
Round off your poetry unit with a poetry slam ! These events are a combination of recitations and poetry games, like freestyle rhyme battles. This is the ultimate event for poetry lovers of any age. Hold it in person, or stream it on Zoom so anyone can easily attend!
Learn more: How To Host a Poetry Slam and Slam Poetry Examples
Don’t miss our FREE printable poetry worksheet bundle !
What are your favorite poetry activities come share your ideas on the weareteachers helpline group on facebook ., looking for more poetry to use in the classroom check out our list of the best poetry books for kids in grades k-12 ..
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Celebrate Poetry Month With Amanda Gorman
Check out these free resources for Poetry Month and beyond. Continue Reading
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10 Fun Poetry Activities for Elementary Students
- Janessa Fletcher
- November 18, 2020
- No Comments
Poetry in the classroom can be very fun.
There are different activities for everyone.
Your students will love it and always shout “YAY!”
Poetry helps us teach literacy skills in a new way.
Here are some resources and activities for you.
10 Fun Poetry Activities are the cool things to do!
I really love using poetry to teach my students different literacy skills. Over the years, I have found that poems can be used for much more than just identifying rhyming words. I can use them to work on phonics skills, comprehension strategies, visualizing, and fluency and syllabication. Students also get introduced to the different types of poetry that can be written. (Their minds are always blown when I tell them that not all poems rhyme. 🤯 LOL) Here are 10 Fun Poetry Activities for Elementary Students.
It has been so easy to plan my poetry unit this month. With a membership to Education to the Core Premium, all I had to do was type “poetry” in the search bar and had multiple results pop up on the screen. Planning and prepping become super simple when you have thousands of activities at your fingertips ready to use with your students.
Let’s start with the most obvious skill… identifying and producing rhyming words. After reading a poem, I ask my students to go back and identify any rhyming pairs they heard. I also like to pair a poem with a rhyming center , so students can work on identifying rhyming words in isolation and then within the text.
To practice producing rhyming pairs, I like to read books that are written in rhyme. We play a game of “Guess the Word”, where I read the lines but pause at the second rhyming word in the phrases. Students then try to guess what that word may be, based on the previous word they heard. Some book recommendations for this include… We Go Together! , Giraffes Can’t Dance , Hush!
2. Phonics Skills
We have created a poems bundle that includes rhyming words but specifically focuses on a phonics skill throughout that particular poem. When using these, instead of asking my students to identify rhyming pairs, I have them read the poem and then go back and list all of the words from it that contain the target phonics skill. I use them as a supplement to help strengthen phonics knowledge and spelling patterns. With over 100 different phonics patterns included in this resource, I know that there is a poem for every small group or student I am working with.
Easy to Implement Poetry Types
There are so many different types of poetry you can teach your students. Color poems, 5 Senses poems, All About Me poems, Shape poems, Found poetry (using quotes found in magazines to create a poem), List poems, and Free Verse poems. We have a center set of poetry mats that include graphic organizers for many of these poem types. My favorites to teach are listed below:
3. Rhyming Couplets
This is where I start with my students, as they are the easiest to teach and write and the most familiar to students. With just two lines, you make sure that the last word in each line rhymes.
They are a great way to have students practice working with syllables in words. The first and third lines have 5 syllables and the second line has 7. Can your students choose words with the correct number of syllables that also make sense for their poem?
These are my favorite type of poems to teach and students have a lot of fun with them. I usually start out simple with their name and use adjectives or short phrases for each letter. Throughout the year, we will create more acrostics using themed words.
I love to pair the introduction of cinquains with grammar instruction on parts of speech. We review what nouns, adjectives, and verbs mean before beginning to work on this type of poetry.
The format is…
- 1st line (Noun)
- 2nd line (2 adjectives)
- 3rd line (3 verbs)
- 4th line (feelings-4 words)
- 5th line (synonym for line 1)
These are very similar to cinquains and are another poem that pairs well with grammar instruction. In the end, they take on the shape of a diamond.
- line 1 – noun (topic)
- 2nd line – 2 adjectives
- line 3 – 3 ‘ing’ words
- 4th line – 4 nouns
- line 5 – 3 ‘ing’ words
- 6th line – 2 adjectives
- line 7 – a synonym for line 1 (noun)
8. Using Poetry for Fluency
Poems are a great way to help your students practice fluency, especially the flow and rhythm of reading. They tend to be shorter than stories and therefore not as daunting of a reading task. Your lower readers won’t shy away from trying to tackle a poem like they would a book.
The rhyme in poems also helps struggling readers tackle unknown words, as they know that they most likely rhyme with the word in the line before. It helps those students use their knowledge of phonemic awareness to help with fluency. This poetry bundle has over 200 poems to choose from to help strengthen fluency skills in your students. The selection of poems allows you to differentiate for all of your students, based on their fluency needs.
9. Comprehension Through Poetry
As I stated above, poems are usually easier to read because the text is shorter and there aren’t as many words. The same is true of comprehension. Since the text isn’t as long, students are better able to comprehend what they read.
The poems bundle listed above has gotten a makeover and we have now included comprehension questions for every poem. Students will be able to use visualization to draw a picture of what they feel the poem is about, identify words with a certain phonics skill from the poem, and answer two multiple-choice questions and one short answer question. It is a great way to get your new readers working on comprehension skills as well as fluency practice.
10. Create “Found” Poetry
This poetry activity is a favorite of my students. Ask families to bring magazines, newspapers, or old unwanted books into class. Students will go through those and cut out phrases that mean something to them. Once they’ve found 5-7 clippings, they glue them in any order to create their “found” poem. These poems are original poetry masterpieces!
I hope that you have found some fun poetry activities for your elementary students. It is a wonderful way to see the creative side of your kiddos while practicing essential phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and comprehension skills. They will be having so much fun creating their own poems that they won’t even know the valuable skills they are learning. 😉
Written by: Janessa Fletcher
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Year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 Poetry Unit Program
Updated: Jun 18
Year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 Poetry Unit Program with ready to use lessons! 😊 Poems include: Limericks, Cinquain, Haiku, Simile, Colour and Diamanté Poems.
FREE PDF Download here:
Year 1 and 2
Year 3 and 4
Year 5 and 6
Or purchase the editable bundle here:
Use alongside ready to teach poetry unit.
This Ready to Teach Poetry Unit is perfect for teachers of Year 1-6 and comes with 96 slides of editable poetry lessons. The program is easy to use, allowing teachers to focus on teaching instead of worrying about creating lesson plans. Perfect for all year levels, this unit is sure to capture the interest of your class and make learning poetry enjoyable. Let your students explore the wonderful world of poetry with this Ready to Teach Poetry Unit.
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Ready to use resources.
Designed to provide your students with the skills they need to become confident speakers and writers. Make learning engaging and fun for your students with these ready-to-teach units.
COMPLETE Halloween Vocabulary and Writing Pack
Complete Year 1 and 2 Persuasive Writing Unit
Complete Year 3 and 4 Persuasive Writing Unit
Complete Year 5 and 6 Persuasive Writing Unit
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How to Teach Poetry in Upper Elementary
By Mary Montero
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How do your students react when you mention poetry? If they’re anything like mine, you’re probably met with groans. Students typically equate poems with sappy sentiments of love and cheesy rhymes. However, poetry can be so much more than that! Here are my best tips and activities for how to teach poetry in upper elementary.
If you’re unsure where to start, I like to introduce our poetry unit by relating poems to music. I share popular song lyrics and help students realize that their favorite songs are essentially poems set to music. You can even share a few lines from poems and a few lines from songs and have students try to guess which is which. This is a great way to increase students’ interest in poetry at the beginning of your unit.
Why Teach Poetry In Upper Elementary?
Poetry has so many literacy benefits. In addition to learning poetry-specific elements and vocabulary, your students will also improve their figurative language skills, fluency, and more.
Poetry depends largely on fluency and so much of the meaning can be inferred by the way a poem is read. Poems are almost always meant to be read aloud. Where do you pause? Where is the emphasis? Invite different students to read aloud for different interpretations and emphasis, or have each student try re-reading the poem several different ways.
The majority of poems utilize Imaginative and figurative language. Your poetry unit is the perfect time to brush up on similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration, and more. You can read this previous post on how I teach figurative language for more details. Be sure to download the free figurative language sort while you’re there. Students also love using highlighters to color code different types of figurative language in poetry!
I also have this huge figurative language bundle on TpT that’s perfect for incorporating into your poetry unit.
You can highlight inference and the author’s purpose, theme, or mood in your poetry unit, too. Is the author writing to express their feelings? Tell a story? Send a message? What’s the overall mood of the piece? You can provide students with copies of poems and ask them to sort the poetry into piles by purpose, theme, or mood.
I use my poetry comprehension pack to dive deeper into understanding poems. It includes original poetry about a range of topics, with different rhythm/rhyme schemes for differentiation. It also uses a variety of figurative language and has opportunities for students to use their inference skills to draw conclusions. These poetry task cards challenge your students to truly think about poems!
This Poem of the Week bundle will help your students to read and comprehend poetry with 40 original poems designed to practice poetry and fluency skills! Each poem is accompanied by thoughtful comprehension tasks. The poems and comprehension questions range in complexity, making it easy to differentiate. A wide variety of figurative language is used, as well as imagery and references that require students to draw conclusions. Finally, you can choose between double-sided booklets or single-page version with additional space for annotating.
Of course these activities can be used any time, but if you’re planning ahead April is National Poetry Month each year. It culminates with Poem In Your Pocket Day. You can find lesson plans and activities for how to teach poetry from the Academy of American Poets . Amy Ludwig has a fantastic website with original poems and classroom examples. Here’s her Poem In Your Pocket Day examples .
Using poems to introduce other topics throughout the year, not just in a poetry unit, will also help your students learn to appreciate this unique genre. You can find free lessons on Poets.org for cross-curricular learning. This social studies lesson or this science lesson are great examples!
There are numerous types of poems, but here are some specific types that I highlight in upper elementary. You can introduce a different type of poem each day, share a few examples, and then challenge students to write and share their own too. At the end of the unit, students can compile their favorites into individual poetry books or contribute to a class poetry album.
In addition to the poems above, collaborative poetry (sometimes called collective poetry) is another must-do for upper elementary! Collaborative poems are created by multiple authors. You can have students write (or type!) in different colors and take turns writing each line (or stanza) to create one cohesive poem.
Found Poetry is an excellent way to study other authors or take cross-curricular texts and turn them into poems. In Found Poetry, students borrow pieces of text (newspapers, speeches, letters, other poems, etc) and reorder them into poems or collages. You can find free found poem lessons here . This post has examples too.
More Places to Find Poems
Kenn Nesbitt Poetry 4 Kids is packed with funny poems, games, lessons, a rhyming dictionary, videos, and more.
Poets.org has tons of free poems and lesson plans for how to teach poetry too
Amazon affiliate links to some of my favorites:
- Days Like This: A Collection of Small Poems
- National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry
- Count Me a Rhyme: Animal Poems by the Numbers
- Least Things: Poems about Small Natures
- Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
- Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg
- Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.
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5 ways to teach poetry in upper elementary classrooms.
When poetry is mentioned, it’s usually met with a few groans…from the students and maybe even the teacher! But there are so many benefits to teaching poetry to your upper elementary students. First off, they’ll learn it’s not all just “roses are red, violets are blue…” mushy love poems like they may think! They will develop fluency, vocabulary, speaking, and listening skills. Whether you are a poetry lover or a reluctant poet, teaching poetry with a variety of poems, books, activities, and more will help your students develop a love for reading and writing poetry.
Think about the daily writing that happens in your classroom…it might begin to feel regimented (which is NOT a bad thing). But I'm sure you always hear, “How long does this have to be?” or “How many sentences do I have to write?”
Poetry gives students freedom in their writing that they are not used to, and that can be scary for them at first…but it can also be a lot of fun! There are so many ways that you can get students to read and write poetry; here are a few ideas for teaching poetry in your upper elementary classroom:
1. Poetry Centers
Setting up poetry centers in your classroom is a great way to get students reading and writing different kinds of poetry. There are so many ways for students to explore word choice, line breaks, stanzas, and forms of poetry. And the more that students read poetry, the more comfortable they will be writing poetry.
Poetry centers allow your students to pull inspiration from all around! You can take a nature walk and pick up objects along the way, bring in newspapers or magazines to use current events as inspiration, create heart maps, and think about things that they love in their everyday lives that can become inspirations, and so much more. Inspiration is all around us when we write and poetry is the perfect time to explore it!
2. Writing Poetry
To help students get used to writing poetry , you can begin by choosing forms of poetry that follow a format. When students are reluctant to write poetry, following a given format can get their feet wet and help them ease into poetry writing because they follow a step-by-step format of writing, but they still have the freedom to express themselves.
As students become more comfortable with reading poetry, you can have them free write. With their centers and poetry writing practice , they will continue to grow as poets.
3. Studying Poetry
As students explore different forms of poetry by reading and writing poems, they will begin to notice line breaks, stanzas, tone, rhyming patterns, and more. Many times, students have a hard time understanding line breaks when they read and write poetry, but the more they read and write, the more comfortable they become.
Create a poetry corner where students can choose from a basket of poetry books to sit quietly and read. You can have sticky notes available for them to mark poems and pages that they love and recommend poems to friends too.
Start the day or your writing/poetry time with a read-aloud poem. Find different poems to share with students that express different feelings and choose funny, meaningful, love-filled poems that you know students will love.
(You can find a list of favorite poetry books, websites to download poems, and more in the download below!)
4. Create a Poetry Pack
To continue students' love of poetry at home, you can create a “Poetry Pack” where students read poetry books and poems at home. You can create pages to send home made up of the poems students have written, you can also include some favorite poetry books or any other poems that students are excited to share with their family.
When students take home the poetry pack , they will look through the poems, read some favorites, and then rewrite their favorite poems in the class journal. This helps students with their fluency as they read with family and also as they listen as their family reads to them. They will notice the rhythm as they read, and as they copy the poems into the journal they are paying close attention to the line breaks, rhyming patterns, and stanzas.
5. Encourage Students to Share Poetry
Throughout your poetry unit, students will learn and grow as poets. Allow them to share the poems that they read and write! You can create a place for students to write the poems they’d like to share, a jar to put the poems in, or just have a time in the day where students can read their poems. You can also give students the opportunity to add their poems to the poetry pack that is sent home, they’ll be so proud to send their written poems home to share.
Here are a few poetry books that I love. These are wonderful books to choose poems from to share with your students, to have available for students to read and to put in your poetry pack as well…
I hope you enjoy exploring poetry with your students! It's a wonderful way to see students express themselves, I always love the creativity that comes out while students are reading and writing poetry!
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