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Teaching Poetry in the Elementary Classroom

April 7, 2018 in Reading - No Comments
Infographic: Teaching poetry in the elementary classroom
1. choosing poetry
2. introduce a variety
3. word play
4. write, write, write
5. a poetry freebie for you

April is national poetry month so I wanted to share some ideas for teaching poetry in the elementary classroom that worked for me!

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1. Choosing Poetry

I love poetry and really enjoyed teaching it to my students.  I always searched for new authors and books, but I had a few staples that I would use year in and year out in my classroom.  Find what speaks to your students.  Invite them to find poetry and bring it into the classroom as well.  Here are a few of my favorite poetry books: (click the picture to see details on Amazon)


2. Introduce a Variety

I love to introduce my students to different types of poems.  Many children think that poetry has to rhyme and be written a certain way.  I love to break down these ideas and show them how fun poetry can actually be! Find examples of haiku, concrete poetry, free verse, etc., and share them with your students.  I always loved reading Hate that Cat and Love that Dog by Sharon Creech because it made poetry relatable to my students.  These books are also great at showcasing some of the different types of poetry and their conventions.

3. Word Play

It’s important to know the basics of poetry to understand it.  Spend some time introducing your students to poetry terms and conventions.  Once they are familiar with them have them put them into use.  A great way to do this is to print out the lyrics to songs and have students look for examples of figurative language.  They can highlight examples that they find and explain the purpose for them in the song.  I’ve had students do this activity in pairs and small groups.  It’s a great way to spark discussion!

A fun wordplay activity that I used in the classroom was to have students examine words to determine the difference between their literal meaning and actual meanings. 

Yellow jacket figurative vs literal meaning
fruit fly figurative vs literal meaning
airmail figurative vs literal meaning

The kids always had fun doing these and sharing their pictures.  It is a great activity for a laugh!

4. Write, Write, Write!

After examining works by other authors I’d have my students write their own poetry.  I usually had them keep a poetry journal where we could work on the different kinds of poetry like haiku, diamante, cinquain, rhyming, concrete, etc.
We would work on poetry for morning work, freewriting, and during our ELA block.  Many of my reluctant writers really enjoyed poetry because they were able to get their thoughts onto paper in shorter passages.
I’d also have students write poetry by using Magnetic Poetry.  They arrange the words on a magnetic surface.  I used baking sheets from the dollar store.  When they finished their poems I would take pictures of their completed work!

Another fun way for students to write poems without writing is blackout poetry.  Check out Newspaper Blackout to see examples.

5. A Poetry Freebie for You!

Now that I have told you about my favorite ways to teach poetry grab a freebie on poetry analysis! If you like what you see make sure to check out this poetry analysis packet with 7 different poems and so much more!

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    I hope you found this helpful and can use some of the ideas in your own classroom!  If you have any other ideas I didn’t mention that work well for you comment below!
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  • Olympiad Success December 10, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Learning and writing poetry is not that easy task as we think, it needs to have the creative and imaginative thought process and a good vocabulary in order to compile the words into a poetry or rhyme. Thanks for your thoughts and tips to teach poetry in the classroom is well acquired. Keep on sharing such useful thoughts. All the best!

  • Crest Olympiads March 14, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Thanks Jennifer, for a progressive article about poetry teaching to the students, yes it's an art of words to be learned with the time. Students can get involved in it with the better guidance by their teacher, this will make them well learned in the subject. Poetry makes a sound knowledge base as it needs a lot of vocabulary knowledge to describe the imagination. Keep us updated with the innovative teaching process. Thanks and keep sharing!

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    About Me

    About Me

    My name is Jen and I’m the face behind Endeavors in Education.

    I have a passion for ELA and science. I am even STEM certified. Now I spend my time hanging with my kids, blogging (, and creating for my TpT store Endeavors in Education.

    I’m so happy you’ve joined me on this journey!

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