Jo Morris and Sarah Bullock
Adapted by Mark Rounds
|California Language Arts Content Standards|
|Standards Addressed in this Unit|
Teacher Background Reading
TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIESSelect and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available.
Introductory LessonContext: reading varied poems
- The teacher presents the class with a large variety
of poems (at least 1 for each student), including this resource, Introduction to Poetry using a poem by Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003.
- The students spend time browsing through the poems, pausing to read any
that appeal at first glance (a full understanding is not necessary -
instead, the student should look for sounds, images or patterns that appeal).
- Students focus on a poem or part of a poem that they particularly like.
They share the poem and their reasons for liking it with a partner.
- Volunteer students share their poem and reasons for its appeal with the
- The teacher leads the students through the various ways a poem makes its
appeal - e.g., sound, rhyme,
- The students take a copy of their poem. Underneath it, they write why they
- For more on the analysis of other poems, see these ARB resources:
Stimulus 1: Group ExperienceContext: Writing a poem individually, using a group experience and ideas.
- Teacher provides students with stimuli (e.g., a walk, run, shout,
play, lie in the grass)
- Students brainstorm words to describe the experience
- Students use the words from the brainstorm to create a poem. The focus is
on putting the words together to create word pictures.
- Students can, if they wish, develop these word-collection poems using more
of their own ideas and creativity.
- Students shape their poems into a
form of their choice,
to share the feelings and images associated with the poem. First drafts
are discussed in pairs and groups, edited and re-worked.
- Extension: Students draw on the same recollection to write a short feature or letter to inform their audience or set out a point of view that arises from the experience. The focus is on the differences in language use for different purposes. See also Fifteen poems you can write now.
Stimulus 2: SensesContext: Writing a poem as a class, then an individual poem.
- Sensory stimuli are collected -- each student brings in a "smell" that
reminds them of something (e.g., bleach for hospitals, sunblock for summer)
- Smells are passed around. Focus is on individual memories, associations,
- A smell is chosen that has resonance for a lot of the class (sunblock is
good if your school is near the beach!). The class develop a sensory poem as follows:
- Brainstorm other sensory impressions of association.
- Title establishes memory.
- First line evokes sense of smell.
- the smell of sunblock
- Other sensory impressions are used to create rest of poem.
sunblock sand on
- One poem developed as a class, then students work on their own poem, using
the class one as a model and choosing another smell.
- Students can, if they wish, develop these poems using more of their own
ideas and creativity.
- Students shape their poems into a
form of their choice, to share the feelings and images associated with the
poem. First drafts are discussed in pairs and groups, edited and re-worked.
- Extension: Students can move from concrete sense impressions and images to
more abstract ideas; associating the senses with ideas.
See a student poem using this extension.
- Teacher defines and explains rhythm and rhyme.
- Teacher gives the class a limerick.
- Class uses teaching to work out a "pattern" (rhyme scheme, rhythm, line
number) for the limerick.
- In pairs, class write their own limerick. Focus is on obeying metrical and
rhyming rules - not necessarily making sense!
- Extension 1: The same approach can be taken to
- Extension 2: Students can model on other forms or use other starters to prompt their own poetry.
MovementContext: Reading varied poems that have movement images
- Students warm up with appropriate
- The teacher leads students in a movement exercise. Students explore how
they can make their bodies
- The teacher leads the students in movement exercise that concentrates on
the movement of weather, seasons, animal and plant life.
- Students divide into groups of 4-5. As a group they explore two poems with
movement images. (Each student is given a role within the group. Two
students are responsible for reading a poem aloud each and the other two
students take it turn to facilitate discussion.)
- Teacher brings class together for oral feedback of group discussion.
- Students return to group. They prepare a presentation of one poem to give
to the class. The students must use movement, and every group member is to
- Students write expressively. Focus is on using images of movement.
Poetic WritingContext: Students working on individual poem.
- From all the poems and writing the students have done, each chooses one of
their own poems to prepare for publication.
Several of these
will be useful in
the drafting process.
- Final edit and re-write done; final copy made.
- Publication possibilities: class book, folio, library, student newspaper,
Internet, sending to an established poet, etc.
- Extension: Publication could include a static image, computer skills, work
on a similar theme in another genre.
|Collaborative on-line projects related to this unit:|
- Manhire, Bill. Mutes and Earthquakes
- Scott, Denise and Kitchen, David. Involved in Poetry. Heinemann
- Michael & Peter Benton. Examining Poetry. Hodder & Stoughton
- Eshuys & Guest. The Power of Poetry. Universal Publishing
- Marsden, John. Everything I know about Writing. Mandarin
- English in Aoteoroa May 1998
- The NZ Electronic Poetry Centre
- Thirty Days of Poetry
- Poetry for Kids - How to Write Poetry
- Giggle Poetry
- ARB Resources: