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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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Erasing the English Teacher Status Quo
15 Fun Poetry Activities for High School
April 8, 2019 // by Lindsay Ann // 3 Comments
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High School Students + Fun Poetry Activities
If you’re an English teacher, looking for fun poetry activities for high school or middle school students, I’ve got you covered. I’m opening up my poetry toolbox and sharing some of my favorite (and most successful) poetry games and activities! Whether you’re looking for a stand-alone lesson or something more, there’s something here for everyone.
The creation of pop sonnets is one of my favorite poetry activities to use in conjunction with the reading of a Shakespearean play, but it can be used as a stand-alone lesson. The hook is that modern-day songs have been turned into Shakespearean sonnets. You can study one of Shakespeare’s sonnets and ask students to modernize it. Then, work in reverse by re-working a modern-day song as a sonnet. Or, just use this as a “hook” to help students feel more comfortable with Shakespearean language. Take a look and thank me later.
Songs as Poetry
Studying modern-day songs is a great way to teach about figurative language and poetic devices while studying poetry. Try reading the lyrics, but omitting or re-writing the metaphors and talking about the change in message/meaning. Look for examples of imperfect rhyme in one of Eminem’s cleaner songs. Study poems as paired texts . Analyze lines from a famous soundtrack. Ask students to bring in their favorite songs and discuss. So. Many. Options!
Here are 12 great songs to analyze if you aren’t sure where to start:
- “Across the Universe” by the Beatles
- “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan
- “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
- “Chasing Pavements” by Adele
- “Infinity” by Mariah Carey
- “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes
- “Counting Stars” by One Republic
- “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons
- “Imagine” by John Lennon
- “Mad World” by Gary Jules
- “Zombie” by The Cranberries
- “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley
Students need to know that poetry is not dead. It’s living. It’s breathing. It’s storytelling. It’s cool. In April, my classes come alive with the magic of slam poetry as students become authors and performers. They re-discover wonder and learn to let down their guard. They learn that there is intersectionality between their story and the stories of others. They are appreciated. They appreciate others. When I use this fun poetry activity for high school students , my classroom really becomes a true community.
Grab my slam poetry “mini” unit to get your students started with slam poetry!
Not sure which slam poems are school-appropriate and engaging? Here are 40 of my favorite slam poems !
Paint Chip Poetry
This poetry writing activity is FREE if you’re willing to grab some paint chips from your local hardware store, preferably ones with multiple colors in one. Or, Amazon sells an awesome paint chip poetry “game.”
- Have students use one of the color names as the title for a poem.
- Have students write poems in stanzas, using each of the color names as inspiration.
- Have students use all of the color names somewhere in a poem.
- Have students choose two contrasting colors and make a poem of contrasts.
- Have students choose two complimentary colors and make a poem.
- Have students choose a color and write an identity poem.
This is an oldie, but goodie poetry writing exercise for high school students. Copy a page or two from a whole class novel. Or better yet, choose a completely divergent text, maybe a science textbook or page from a dictionary. Students string together words on the page to form a poem, and black-out the rest of the words. If they want to go above and beyond, they can create an original illustration to accompany their blackout poem.
Book Spine Poetry
Take your students to the library (or have them browse a site like Goodreads) and challenge them to create poems from book titles. Each title becomes a line in the poem. An optional challenge: have students choose (or randomly draw) a theme, and their poem has to relate to their chosen theme. If you’re looking for some FREE templates, I’ve got you covered: Click Here ! I created these templates as a quick fun poetry activity for high school sophomores after my librarian told me that having my classes pull so many books would be a pain to re-shelve.
A lot of teachers are loving my reading progressive dinner stations . Poems are short and accessible texts that always rock when used with this activity.
Here are some options for poetry stations, a fun group poetry activity:
- Choose a certain kind of poem or a certain poetic movement to explore at ALL the stations, i.e. the ghazal or Imagist poetry.
- Choose different kinds of poems or movements to explore at each station.
- Choose poems related to ONE thematic idea.
- Choose poems written by teenagers.
- Choose “famous” poems.
- Choose slam poems.
If you’re studying word choice and tone in poetry, why not have students transform a poem, switching from one tone to another? Then, have students write a reflection analyzing why they made 4-5 important changes.
This poetry activity is exactly what it sounds like. Have students choose / cut-out words from magazines to form “found” poems. Or, have students listen to a TED talk or story, writing down a certain # of words they hear. Then, ask them to use these words + ones of their own to write an original poem.
Easter Egg Poems
If ’tis the season, you might as well use those plastic easter eggs you may have lying around. Put “poetry inspiration” in each egg. At the very least, I suggest a word or phrase. If you want to go “all-in,” create a combination of the items below:
- Random household objects, i.e. a piece of string, a bead
- Newspaper/magazine clippings
- Famous first lines
- A “mentor” poem, copied and folded up
Tell students that their challenge is to write a poem inspired by these objects. Or, if you prefer, have students incorporate words / ideas from each object in their poem.
Favorite Poem Project
If you’ve never seen the site “ Favorite Poem Project ,” I suggest checking it out as a poetry unit resource. The site’s goal is to interview a variety of different people about their “favorite poems.” In each short video, an individual shares a personal connection to his/her poem and reads the poem out loud.
After being a fan of this site for some time, I decided to have my students make their own “favorite poem” videos . They explored, chose a poem that they liked “best,” and created videos on Flipgrid discussing their thoughts about the poem and reading it aloud. These videos were then viewed by classmates. Everyone enjoyed this a lot!
Poems as Mentor Texts
Using mentor texts for writing is a powerful strategy for poetry instruction, yet one that I find myself “skipping” because there isn’t time. I have to remind myself to “make” the time because it’s important. If we’re going to spend time analyzing texts, it only makes sense to have students try to use those writing moves in their own writing. After all, students should be writing frequently, and not always for an assessment grade.
Here are 12 great mentor poems if you’re not sure where to start:
- “ We Real Cool ” by Gwendolyn Brooks
- “ Montauk ” by Sarah Kay
- “ This is Just to Say ” by William Carlos Williams
- “ Mother to Son ” by Langston Hughes
- “ My Father’s Hats ” by Mark Irwin
- “ Chicago ” by Carl Sandburg
- “ Entrance ” by Dana Gioia
- “ My Father is an Oyster ” by Clint Smith
- “ If ” by Rudyard Kipling
- “ Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market ” by Pablo Neruda
- “ The Bean Eaters ” by Gwendolyn Brooks
- “ The Summer I Was Sixteen ” by Geraldine Connolly
- “ Where I’m From ” by George Ella Lyon (As a bonus, students can submit their poems to the “I am From” project. ) p.s. If you’re looking for ready-to-use templates, here you go !
A fun activity to fill extra class time, or just for fun: magnetic poetry . Give each student (or pairs of students) a handful of magnetic poetry pieces. See what they come up with. Take pictures and display around the room.
Interactive Poetry Bulletin Board
Sort of like magnetic poetry, but with a twist, it’s fun to set-up an interactive bulletin board as a fun poetry activity for high school students to try before or after class. You can do this in several different ways.
- Poem of the day + a “feel-o-meter” for students to rate the poem on a scale from “mild sauce” to “hot sauce.” You can have students use push pins to vote.
- Large scale magnetic poetry + a bulletin board becomes “push pin poetry.” You choose the words. Students move them around to form poems.
Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to stream l ined grading . I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.
Click on the link above or the image below to get started!
About Lindsay Ann
Lindsay has been teaching high school English in the burbs of Chicago for 18 years. She is passionate about helping English teachers find balance in their lives and teaching practice through practical feedback strategies and student-led learning strategies. She also geeks out about literary analysis, inquiry-based learning, and classroom technology integration. When Lindsay is not teaching, she enjoys playing with her two kids, running, and getting lost in a good book.
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[…] Dice: I wrote about this game in my previous blog post about poetry fun, but couldn’t pass by another opportunity to give it a […]
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7 Poetry Activities Students Love
Getting secondary students to read and write poetry (and enjoy it) can be difficult. If you're a teacher like me who doesn't love poetry as much as, well, pretty much anything else, you have to get creative. I know my students deserve my best teaching, and I can't give that to them if I'm not passionate about the topic myself. So. I've gathered some tools that engage students in meaningful (but fun!) writing and discussion. Keep reading as I reveal the poetry activities my students love the most.
ENGAGING POETRY ACTIVITIES
1. nonfiction-inspired poetry.
I enjoy shape and collage poetry, but sometimes I want to challenge my high school students more. Since concrete poetry is something that interests them, I incorporate a twist off of concrete and found poetry, which is called the crot. ( It’s named as such because it’s reminiscent of a short, purposefully fragmented sentence, which students can use when composing it! )
You can read all about how to teach students to write the poem here .
I ask my students to write this creative poem based off of nonfiction source inspiration. In that way, students are creatively writing informative research texts. However, you can easily use it as a response to reading fictional works as well.
Writing a crot requires critical thinking and true reflection upon the topic and main points expressed in the original source(s). Students are asked to consider symbolism, art, and white space as they mold their snippets of thought and research into an inspiring piece of poetry. Of course, in order to intentionally break grammar rules, students have to understand them. In that way, it’s also wonderful for language enrichment and author’s craft.
2. TEXTING COUPLETS
Just to get students thinking about rhythm and rhyme, I ask them to write texting couplets . This assignment appeals to teens because - as we all know - text messaging is a language with which they are very comfortable. Asking students to write poetry? Meh. Ask them to write text messages in the form of poetry? Now we're talking.
With this task, students are writing text messages back and forth in the form of poetic couplets. I encourage them to make it sound like a conversation between friends. It's fun both to model and to watch.
Align it to standards by asking students to highlight a specific language element, like figurative language, grammar concepts, or vocabulary / word choice.
3. ANALYZE MUSIC
Intrigue even the most reluctant of students by showing them how music is poetry. Select a popular song that has literature elements you can analyze, and use this free music analysis sheet to guide discussion. Don’t forget to listen to music while you work!
4. MOOD AND TONE AMPLIFIER
Metaphors and analogies are effective teaching tools. Because students tend to wrestle with mood and tone, I came up with a different angle for them to approach these concepts. Using a music amplifier, students analyze how a story or poem’s mood and the author’s tone change throughout a literary work.
Find the assignment here . It involves critical thinking. Plus, students complete a writing extension activity that encourages them to use evidence to support their analysis.
5. PICTURE-INSPIRED POETRY
My students always produce their best work when they use images to energize their writing. In this post, you can read about thirteen different ways to use pictures to inspire students to write poetry .
Wordless picture books, old family photographs, political cartoons, famous paintings, and even hashtags can scaffold the poetry writing process by appealing to students' interests first.
If you'd like to try having your students write picture-based poetry but don't know where to start, you can download this free picture-based poetry resource to get started.
6. POETRY ONE PAGER
It’s true that poems hold so much more meaning than the — typically — short amount of words they contain. Helping students to unpack that meaning can be challenging.
Scaffold students’ analysis of poetry and music with these visually pleasing, step-by-step graphic organizers . Use them to lead students to more thoughtful extended written responses.
One way we can scaffold students’ poetry analysis is with an engaging one-pager that focuses on breaking down figurative language, form, structure, and diction. Use visually pleasing, step-by-step graphic organizers to help students prepare their literary analysis response.
If you feel your students’ responses to poetry are somewhat lacking, try approaching it from this structured, visually appealing avenue.
7. FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE GAME
Poetry is full of figurative language. To get students brainstorming before writing their own or analyzing the author's style of an existing poem, we play Figurative Language Truth or Dare . This game encourages my students to view poetry and figurative language as fun, enticing, and thoughtful.
After playing truth or dare to refresh their memories about common poetic language, students feel more confident when asked to close read a passage, looking specifically at how the poet uses literary devices to develop his or her ideas and style.
If you feel overwhelmed, underwhelmed, or disengaged at the thought of teaching poetry, don't worry. Poetry hasn't always been a highlight of my school year. Since I've begun incorporating more differentiated, engaging elements, my unit has become more meaningful and rewarding. Try some of these activities with your students, and tell us about your own go-to approaches for teaching poetry in the comments.
9 Fun Poetry Lessons to Add to Your Next Unit (Reading and Writing Haven)
Poetry Collage: Poetry Meets Art (Now Spark Creativity)
Poetry Writing that Assesses Reading Standards (Teach Between the Lines)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa is the creator of Reading and Writing Haven and a collaborative blogger on Teachwriting.org .
An English teacher for over a decade, Melissa is an avid reader and writer, and she loves sharing ideas and collaborating with fellow educators. Melissa use her degrees in English, Curriculum & Instruction, and Reading as well as her Reading Specialist certification to ponder today’s educational issues while developing resources to help teachers, students, and parents make learning more relevant, meaningful, and engaging.
When she's not teaching, Melissa lives for drinking a good cup of coffee, loving on her family, working out, and contemplating the structure of a sentence as well as how she can lead her students to deeper reading comprehension (Melissa's true nerdy passions).
Visit Melissa on Instagram , Facebook , or Twitter for English teacher camaraderie and practical, engaging teaching ideas.
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51 Fun Poetry Activities For Kids
December 8, 2023 // by Sean Kivi
Do your kids groan when they hear the word ‘poetry’? It’s no secret that this genre can be challenging, but do not fear! Our ideas will help you make poetry more accessible so that your learners might even start liking it!
This compilation will help your students deepen their understanding of poetry and support them as they apply this knowledge to their writing. So get ready to transform their relationship to poetry with our list of 51 fun poetry activities for kids!
1. Rhyming Dominoes
Turn the classic game of dominoes into a fun poetry activity! Your kids will have a blast matching words with the same rhyme scheme. Think about extending their learning even more by having them use these words to write their own poems!
Learn More: No Time For Flash Cards
2. Doggie Haiku
Haikus are a notably difficult type of poetry, but your students will simply adore making their own creative poems using the book “Dogku”. Why not have a poetry slam to see which of your amazing poets wrote the best one?
Learn More: Teaching Fourth
This is another great game to instill a little fun into one of the more challenging types of poetry. Just roll the dice and be amazed at the haikus your students start to create! To save money, write words on pieces of paper and have your students pick them out of a hat!
Learn More: Amazon
4. Blackout Poetry
This one is fantastic for getting even your most reluctant learners to participate in poetry! Distribute old texts to your kiddos and let them choose one that catches their eye. Your kids will love scanning the text and then circling, highlighting, or blacking out words to create their own unique poetry!
Learn More: Just Add Students
5. Push Pin Poetry
This activity will make a great display board for your classroom while also providing an excellent stimulus for your kiddies to craft some pretty cool poems. They’ll choose to create poems on their own poetry or have some extra fun by adding to the creations of their classmates!
Learn More: Residence Life Crafts
6. Songs to Poem
If your class loves music then this one’s for you! Using the lyrics of a modern pop song, you can teach your students how to explore meaningful poetry and engage them in discussions about figurative language. So start getting your kiddos rockin’ to poetry!
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
7. Book Spine Poetry
Your avid readers will enjoy this fun poetry activity! Have your students create unique poems by using the titles of books. You can keep things simple by having them choose titles from one genre, or mix it up by challenging them to combine fiction and nonfiction titles!
8. Pop Sonnets
This is a great way to engage even your most reluctant students in analyzing poems. Hook them on poetry by showing and discussing these amazing examples of modern-day songs that have been turned into an interesting type of poem – Shakespearean sonnets!
Learn More: Pop Sonnet
9. Figurative Language Truth or Dare
Your students’ curiosity is sure to be piqued when you introduce this truth-or-dare poetry game! They can learn all about techniques like figurative language that can be used to spice up poetry. This game is great for a whole class review and will surely be loads of fun!
10. Literary Term Practice Game
This is another game perfect for a whole class review! Your kids can play in groups to make their way around the game board as they explore literary terms and figurative language. They’ll be having so much fun with this one, that they won’t even notice you’re using it to check their comprehension skills of key literary techniques!
11. Invisible Ink Poetry
Secret poems? Decoding messages? Your kids will surely be engaged with this fun poetry activity. All it takes is lemon juice, a paintbrush, and some paper, and your students will be all set to create secret poems that they can then pass to a classmate to decode! Then, just apply heat and the mystery verses will be revealed!
Learn More: Poetry 4 Kids
12. Poetry Inspiration Scrapbook
At one point, every writer suffers from writer’s block and your kids are no exception. This scrapbook activity is a great way to combat this challenge and will help your kids create some excellent picture-inspired poetry! Just give them some old magazines, scissors, glue, and a blank canvas to get them started!
13. Clip It Rhyming Center
It’s never too early to instill an appreciation for poetry and your younger students will love learning about rhyming with this fun activity! You can use this poetry unit with simple words and syllables or try expanding this with multisyllabic words for a bit more of a challenge.
Learn More: Education To The Core
14. Tone Tunes
Get your poetry rockin’ with this music-themed activity! Your older students will begin to understand the pretty challenging concept of writer’s tone by connecting music to poetry. They’ll use the free printable to come up with ideas around a given tone, then explore how this applies to pieces of music!
Learn More: Teach Writing
15. Concrete Poems and Shape Poems
Your artists and poets alike will love creating concrete and shape poems in this activity. This one will take a little guidance to make sure your students don’t spend too much time drawing their shapes, as the focus should be on creating concrete poetry!
Learn More: The Room Mom
16. Acrostic Poems
This is a perfect introductory activity to get your kids excited about poetry! You can use this for teaching word associations across a variety of topics and content areas. If you think your kiddos are ready, try adding in some grammar rules to make this one a little more challenging!
Learn More: My Poetic Side
17. Character Cinquains
Sometimes those complex poetry structures can be a bit tricky to teach! This activity breaks down cinquains into an easy-to-use teaching template. Use this worksheet to show your budding poets how to create their very own cinquain poem!
Learn More: Worksheet Place
18. Texting Couplets
Your older students will love an activity that actually asks them to text! This is a rather unique take on poetry and will really get your kids engaged in thinking about how to craft a text couplet. Just make sure they’re focusing on texting poetry in class!
19. Rhyming Worksheets
These foundational and ready-to-use worksheets are great reinforcers for teaching rhyming. You can use these in your instruction as a warm-up activity, an introduction to poetry, or to help your littlest poets start to understand rhyming words.
Learn More: Kids Connect
20. Online Magnetic Poetry
Struggling for words? Use this digital tool to introduce poetry and show your students some poetry techniques. This one makes it easy on your poets as the words are already provided – they just move them over to create what will surely be some fun and interesting poems!
Learn More: Magnetic Poetry
21. Found Poetry
This is similar to the scrapbook activity previously mentioned, but this one only requires construction paper! It’s a great way for you to save money and resources by reusing old books and magazines, and your students will love cutting and gluing to create their poems!
Learn More: There’s Just One Mommy
22. Paint Chip Poetry Game
Another excellent game to provide your kids with different stimuli for writing poems is Paint Chip Poetry! These paint chips have writing prompts included on them, but you can also make your own paint chip poetry with some old paint samples lying around. Your visual learners will love this one!
23. Reading Progressive Dinner Stations
Add a little spark into your classroom community by using the theme of a progressive dinner party to teach literary analysis This engaging and in-depth activity is great for teaching about all genres – including poetry – and is certain to generate some interesting ‘dinner table’ discussion!
24. Favorite Poem Project
Instead of having your kids write poetry, why not ask them to interview people about their favorite poems? This project is a great endeavor that will expose them to a wide range of poetry styles. Have them gather the information and then come together to share their findings with the class!
Learn More: Favorite Poem Project
25. Metaphor Dice
Struggling to think of literary techniques to use in poems? Your kids will get ideas to create metaphors by rolling these cool dice. They’ll use a verb or two to combine the inspiring words into stellar metaphors. This is the perfect activity for partners or small groups!
26. Haiku Tunnel Books
Turn words into a three-dimensional poetry project with these awesome books! This technique is actually from the mid-18th century, but your modern-day students are guaranteed to love creating this foldable. You’ll guide your students to make an accordion-style poetry book that is sure to be a hit!
Learn More: Teach Kids Art
27. Poetry Bingo
Yet another fun group poetry game! This is the classic game of bingo with a twist that will have your students checking their comprehension of each technique. Make sure you remember to have a few prizes on hand for the winners!
Learn More: Jennifer Findley
28. Roll & Answer Poetry
This fantastic resource can be implemented in a variety of ways to suit your teaching style. You can choose to have your kiddos work independently or partner them up for a little collaboration! The questions will also help you keep an eye on their understanding of different types of poetry.
29. Silly Limericks
Who doesn’t love a limerick? This worksheet will soon become a favorite poetry game for your kids as they create their own funny poems by filling in the blanks. This is the perfect way to make what can be a pretty complex poetry structure a little more accessible for your students!
Learn More: Steamsational
30. Nursery Rhyme Craft
Your littlest learners will love making nursery rhymes come to life with this fun activity! This is a great way to introduce poetry to your younger learners by having them make a craft from simple materials, that reflects a common nursery rhyme. They’ll be inspired to write poetry of their own in no time!
Learn More: All Kids Network
31. Poetry Speed-Dating
This is a low-risk way to get your learners excited about poetry! Display a variety of poetry anthologies around your classroom and set your students free to browse! Your kids will love being able to casually sift through these books to find a few poems that appeal to them!
Learn More: Teach Nouvelle
32. Nursery Rhyme Wall
This one is perfect for your little ones who might need some movement or a hands-on learning experience. They won’t be able to resist building a wall out of their favorite rhymes or nursery rhymes. This one is also great for supporting the development of their motor skills!
Learn More: Toddler Approved
33. Collaborative Poetry
Get your kids together to write their poetic masterpieces! They’ll love this easier approach to creating a poem, where they’ll take turns working with a partner to write a line of a poem. This is a great way to instill a love of poetry and a little collaborative spirit into your classroom!
Learn More: The Literary Maven
34. Color Poems
Color poems are great for exploring creative writing through an analysis of different colors! During this process, you will encourage your students to brainstorm words, actions, and objects that they associate with each color, resulting in some pretty unexpected and unique poems!
Learn More: Teach Living Poets
35. Poetic Journaling
This poetic journaling activity creates a safe space for your students to let their creative juices flow so they can delve deeper into their thoughts and experiences! Start by giving your kiddos a specific category prompt like a season, type of poem, or emotion, and then set them free to write!
36. Ephemeral Poetry
This activity is great for engaging your kiddos who avoid writing at all costs. Ephemeral poetry uses a surface that will eventually disappear which can often be a little less daunting for these kids. Have them write on a chalkboard or a dewy or snow-covered window; all they’ll need is a finger and a little imagination!
Learn More: Michael Dickel
This is the perfect idea for your kids who enjoy listening to or mixing music. Soundscapes use background music and other sounds to create poetry inspired by the noises we hear in our everyday lives. You will be amazed at the auditory inspirations that ignite your students’ musical poems!
Learn More: Soundscapes
38. Photo Poetry
Your students who need some visual support will enjoy this activity. You can have them create a poem in response to a beautiful or thought-provoking photograph to share with the class. They’ll learn to appreciate poetry while also gaining perspective by understanding that not everyone sees things the same way!
Learn More: Little Infinite
39. Alphabet Poem
This one is perfect for all ages. Have your kiddies make a poem using words that start with each letter of the alphabet, or for older students, have them write a line of their poem with each letter. You can’t go wrong with the variations – just be prepared for some unusual results!
Learn More: Writer’s Digest
40. Ode to an Object
This activity is great for teaching poetry and for getting to know your students! They’ll love the different options involved in this activity as they choose from three types of odes to write a lyric poem praising an object, person, or event that they cherish.
Learn More: Thought Co
41. Memory Poem
The secret to creating a good memory poem is to teach your kids to be specific about a past event. Taking a walk down memory lane will engage them in the details of their lives and is great for helping them express the impact of both positive and challenging events.
Learn More: Power Poetry
42. Mirror Poem
Are your poets ready for a challenge? This activity focuses on the structure of a palindrome where the writing of two poems reflects one another. The poem doesn’t have to be an exact mirror, making this a great activity for you to use to teach your kiddos about word order and the power of punctuation!
Learn More: Medium
43. Travel Poems
Encourage your kiddies to think about their own travels to inspire their next poems! The best part is that your kids can write about their experiences of places they’ve been, but they can also use their imagination to create poems about destinations they aspire to visit!
Learn More: Laure Wanders
44. Dreamscape Poem
Your students are probably already talking about the crazy dream they had last night, so why not add this to your poetry instruction? Dreamscape poems open up the door for your kids to tap into their imaginative powers and bring their dreams to life by crafting poems about their dreams! Anything goes in dreams, so let them use this as an excuse to go wild!
Learn More: Three Teachers Talk
45. List Poem
Parents, teachers, and students are inundated on a daily basis with all sorts of lists. Whether it’s a grocery list, a chore list, or what seems to be a never-ending “to-do” list; your learners will love this spin that makes the everyday list a little less boring and a lot more poetic!
Learn More: Education
46. Vocabulary Challenge
This activity offers an in-depth look at vocabulary words in twelve curated poems. Your kiddos will dive deep to understand how context clues can help them determine the meaning of the words. Whether you are introducing new terms or want your them to build their vocabulary organically, this activity is a winner!
Learn More: Moore English
47. Reverse Poetry
Your kids will love deciphering the meanings found in this type of poetry! When read from top to bottom, this poem means one thing, but when read from bottom to top, the meaning changes. Analyze a couple together and then for a challenge, have your students give their own a try!
Learn More: Hey Natayle
48. Emotion Poems
Are your kids in need of a little social-emotional learning? Emotion poems are a great way for them to harness and explore things that can sometimes feel pretty overwhelming. Whether they focus on one or more emotions, this is a sure way for them to express themselves!
Learn More: Poetry Boost
49. Rap Poetry
What kid doesn’t love music? There are plenty of different genres out there, but rap is especially suited for connecting your kids’ interests to poetry. They’ll love analyzing the beats, rhythm, and rhyme of these examples, and then be sure to let them choose their favorite school-appropriate rap song to analyze!
Learn More: TPT
50. Recipe Poetry
Your students’ ears and eyes are sure to perk up with the mention of food! Now, combine that curiosity with poetry and you now have a recipe for a great writing lesson! In this activity, your kids will create a poem that reads like a recipe, using ingredients as metaphors. Bon appetit!
Learn More: Teachers And Writers Magazine
51. Contrast Poems
This in-depth activity will get your kiddos thinking critically about poetry while also giving them an opportunity to practice close reading and annotation. Give them practice comparing and contrasting poetry and watch as their interest in this genre starts to unfold!
Learn More: Teacher Vision
Interactive Poetry Activities Your Students Will Love
Do you want to make poetry so fun and engaging that your students will ask for more? Here are some simple activities to get you started.
1. Blackout Poetry
There are so many reasons blackout poetry is great: kids love it, it's creative, and it forces you to clean the falling-apart books from your classroom library without the guilt of tossing them in the trash.
What is blackout poetry? It's simple. Rip out the pages of old books. Give the students some basic instructions, then watch the creativity flow!
Blackout Poetry Examples:
2. Poet VS Poet
College basketball's March Madness is the perfect time to pit poet against poet for some exciting classroom debates, but any time of year teachers can create a similar feel by putting poets head to head and comparing their power.
Kids love competition. Creating competition with poetry naturally adds excitement and connects a sometimes intimidating genre with something familiar.
How do you implement a poet vs poet match up in your classroom? You could use an already created tool ( see Poet Vs Poet here ) or create your own match ups. For example, after a simple lesson on figurative language, ask your students to read the poetry of two different poets and rate their use of metaphors, similes, personification, and imagery. As a class, debate the poet's ratings using text based evidence.
If you are at all familiar with the basketball brackets of March Madness, poetry brackets work the same way (and you can find and download blank brackets by doing a simple Google search). I like to start with a sweet sixteen of poets, then narrow down to an elite eight, a final four, a championship, and a winner. Poets advance by having classes vote on the better poet in each match up. The reward of listening to kids debate poet's skills like the poets are athletes is worth any time it takes setting up this activity.
3. Found Poems
Found poems give language to students who may struggle to find the right words. Found poetry is easily accessible, hands on, and fun. Easy to set up, all you need to do to implement found poetry in your classroom is gather together stacks of old magazines, scissors, glue, and colorful paper.
First, instruct students to find powerful words in the pages of magazines, cut them out, and make piles on their desk. You could also assign cutting out powerful words from old magazines for homework and save yourself the time and mess in your classroom.
Next, students arrange and rearrange the words on their desk into meaningful poetry. This is a great opportunity to reinforce the power of form, shape, and line breaks in poetry and encourage students to be thoughtful in their choices. Talk to your students about choosing the best words, eliminating unnecessary words, and playing around with word choice.
Finally, instruct students to glue their poem into place on a colorful piece of paper and decorate your room with the beauty and power of poetry.
4. Poetry Escape Room
A poetry escape room is the most engaging and fun way to introduce or review poetry with your students. Escape rooms by nature are hands on and engaging. Combine the fun of an escape room with poetry and your kids will be hooked. (Check out the poetry escape room I did with my students here.)
Escape rooms, or breakout rooms, are a new trend similar to scavenger hunts. In a poetry escape room, students put together clues based on poems, poets, figurative language, poetry form, rhyme scheme, or any other poetic element. Then, students work to unlock the clues using their poetry knowledge.
Poets are experts at hiding meaning within the lines of their poetry, so use that to create clues that ask students to interpret, make inferences, and analyze. Escape rooms are a great method of turning tasks that can be intimidating to kids and making them into interactive challenges that students are motivated to engage in.
To create a poetry escape room, first choose the poetic elements or reading skills you want to target, a specific poem you want students to read and reread several times in different ways, or a theme or poet to design your escape room around.
Next, gather the materials and tasks that you would normally share with students in a traditional format, but think of creative ways to turn the tasks into clues. For example, if you want students to identify the figurative language in a poem, create task cards that students have to place in the order that those poetic elements appear in the poem. Hide small letters on the task cards so when students place the cards in order, the next clue appears. See the example below:
Get creative and hide clues within poems with bold words, put clues on task cards that students have to place in a certain order based on analysis, or choose clues based on symbolism or inferences that students can find only when they do a close read of the poem.
Although escape rooms require a lot of preparation and thought, the end result is worth the time. Students will be more engaged, thoughtful, and active in reading poetry than you could ever imagine. Escape rooms are a great way to review poetic elements or kick off a new study of poetry when you really want to catch students' attention and get them motivated.
Check out my step by step guide to creating your own escape room here .
5. Poetry Mash Up
Create a poetry mash up by writing poetry forms on slips of paper and placing them in one jar, types of figurative language and placing them in a second jar, and sound elements and placing them in a third jar. Pass the jars around the classroom and have students choose from each one, writing a poem based on what they chose.
For example, a student might choose haiku (poetry form), imagery (figurative language), and onomatopoeia (sound element). That student would then be challenged to write a haiku with imagery and an onomatopoeia. There are endless combinations and kids will have a blast writing, sharing, and seeing what poems are created in your poetry mash up.
Play over and over and model your poetry writing with students as well. Have fun laughing at the ridiculous and enjoy the surprise when students create some really amazing pieces with different combinations of poetic elements.
Making poetry fun and hands on is not only possible, but with a little creativity, it's really easy to implement at any level. Help your students to find the joy in creating magic with only a few words in different shapes and forms. Take the intimidation factor out of poetry by connecting poetry to fun challenges, familiar activities, and hand on learning.
- Poetry Lesson Ideas
Three high impact, low prep lessons for middle school ELA
Implementing Poetry March Madness
Integrating Poetry All Year Round
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12 Must-Try Shared Reading & Poetry Activities
Some young readers aren’t as confident as others, yet shared reading is a great way to boost confidence and increase reading success among your students. Read poems as a fun shared reading strategy to teach poetry and all forms of literacy to engage students!
Why You Should Use Shared Reading to Teach Poetry
Shared reading is a wonderful way to improve poetry and reading fluency. It can boost student confidence and support success as they work through complex skills.
What is shared reading? Shared reading occurs when a group of students reads and analyzes the same text together. This often occurs in a classroom setting, either as a whole group or in small intervention groups.
Shared Reading Strategies When Teaching Poetry
If you have never used shared reading, you might consider using it with your poetry units for a few simple reasons.
- First, students who struggle to read will appreciate shared reading, where they can listen or follow along more easily.
- Secondly, shared reading supports sight word fluency as well as reading fluency.
- Additionally, shared reading allows students to read materials they may not be able to read independently.
- Last, it provides students with support to feel successful.
Use a Weekly Poem in a Shared Reading Format
One way to introduce students to shared reading and poetry is to provide students with a poem of the week that they can focus on. Instead of reading a poem, talking about it, and then moving on, stick with one poem for a few days to dive into it more deeply.
With a poem of the week, you can analyze different aspects of it each time you revisit it. For example,
- On day one , you might read the poem and point out any interesting words you notice.
- On day two , have the class define vocabulary words or find sight words within the text.
- Day three , identify rhyming words or talk about poetry characteristics.
By breaking the poem down into multiple days, students will digest the information better, and their reading fluency will improve. Kids will also love the consistency of a new poem each week to work on literacy skills.
12 Shared Reading Poetry Activities You Will Love
Poetry activities are everywhere! Many great ideas for whole groups, small groups, and independent activities revolve around poems to improve literacy.
As a class, work on a poem of the week that encourages students to dive deeper into a piece of text each day.
Try some of these helpful shared reading and poetry ideas in your classroom!
Whole Group Activities
- Poem Features – Use posters to illustrate and describe important features of poems as you work on them.
- Student Leader – Students love having a job, so give one student the task of reading the poem or pointing out key features in the text. Rotate this leader daily or weekly based on your needs.
- Find Rhyming Words – Read through the poetry materials and find rhyming words throughout. Make a list on the board or have students write down the words they find. This can also be done as an independent activity, and then students can share out what they found.
- Fill in the Missing Words – Place the poem on pocket chart strips and cover words in an anchor chart. Ask students to find missing words to complete the sentences and rhymes.
Small Group Activities
- Poetry Structure – Have kids work on the poem in small groups and identify key parts, rhyming words, and new vocabulary. Discuss important words and parts of poems they will see as more complex poems come up.
- Vocabulary Cards – Point out new and important vocabulary words in the text and work with those words during intervention times. Display these in pocket charts for them to refer back to.
- Put the Poem Together – Use sentence strips with the poem written on them and put the poem back together to help with reading fluency. This can be a cut-and-paste activity or cards that get reused in different small groups.
- Poetry Notebooks – Provide students with a copy of the poems in a poetry notebook to read with a partner or follow along in small groups. Kids love looking back at what they have written throughout the year and eventually sharing it with their families.
- Poetry Writing – Invite students to use their imagination and write their own pieces of poetry to share with others. They can write from scratch, or you can give them a few words to draw from.
- Visualize & Draw a Poem – Once students read a poem, give them paper and a pencil to draw what they saw in their minds. After each child is done, compare the results and see how different each visualization is.
- Rewrite the Poem – After reading a poem, have students rewrite it in their own words. Encourage them to use words that are similar to what they saw. These might be synonyms or words that reflect the same meaning.
- Poetry Mats – After kids are familiar with a poem, they can complete an activity page independently to help them continue to build fluency. These mats are perfect for accountability and practicing writing skills.
Social Emotional Poem of the Week
Can you tell I love using a poem of the week? A social-emotional poem of the week is the perfect way to discuss literacy terms and work on social-emotional skills.
I created interactive SEL poems of the week that students will love to learn in the classroom. 24 original poems touch on important social-emotional topics students encounter in the classroom each day. Use these to build on reading, writing, and comprehension as you read through them each week.
Your students will love these engaging shared reading and poetry activities in the classroom. You will see their confidence soar as they work on important social-emotional skills while mastering reading fluency.
Fun Resources to Help You Teach Poetry
Try FREE SEL Empathy Poem and Activities in your classroom with this resource!
Click the image below to grab a copy.
Social Emotional Learning Poems & Activities
Try the Social-Emotional Poems and Activities by Proud to be Primary. It includes printable poems, sentence strips, fill-in-the-blank activities, tasks to work on sight words and rhyming, places to illustrate the meaning of poems, and comprehension questions for each poem.
More SEL & Literacy Ideas
integrate social-emotional learning
kindness activities for kids
books that teach respect
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Children’s Poetry Activities
Looking for ways to have fun with poetry besides just reading it? Here are poetic activities that you can use at home or in the classroom to celebrate holidays, have parties, make crafts, and more.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Seven Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month
- President’s Day
- St. Patrick’s Day – Make a Lucky Charm Poem
- Favorite Thanksgiving Poems to Read Aloud
- How to Include Poetry in Your Family’s Holiday Traditions
- Ten Ways to Celebrate Poem In Your Pocket Day
Classroom Activities and Parties
- Classroom Poetry Charades
- Exploring Ballads with Your Class
- Host an Open Mic Poetry Party
- Host a Poetry Slam
- Jump-Rope Rhymes
- “Lucky Dip” Poetry Recital Game
- Poetry Smelling Game
Arts and Crafts
- Foam Hand Extender Craft Activity
- Make a Misbehaving Recycled Robot
- Pet Apple Craft Activity
- Please Don’t Read This Poem: A Poetry Activity Using Invisible Ink
- Poetry Air Freshener Craft Activity
- How to Start a “Poetry Inspiration Scrapbook”
- “All My Great Excuses” Printable Worksheet
- “Autumn Is the Time of Year” Printable Worksheet
- “Betty Met a Yeti” Printable Worksheet
- “Breakfast in Bed” Printable Worksheet
- “Joe the Emoji” Printable Worksheet
- “I Eat Spaghetti With a Spoon” Printable Worksheet
- “I Made a New Password” Printable Worksheet
- “I Think My Dad is Dracula” Printable Worksheet
- “Mr. Yes and Mr. No” Printable Worksheet
- “My Invisible Dragon” Printable Worksheet
- “My Mirror Likes to Argue” Printable Worsheet
- “My Puppy Ate My Earbuds” Printable Worksheet
- “My Sheep Is Being Sheepish” Printable Worksheet
- “I Lost My Head” Printable Worksheet
- “A Sheep Is Asleep On My Sofa” Printable Worksheet
- “The Weather Is Perfect for Running” Printable Worksheet
- “Wayne the Stegosaurus” Printable Worksheet
- “Welcome Back to School” Printable Worksheet
- Describe the Sky – A Poetry Creativity Workout
- Fairy Tales and Poetry
- Start a Poetry Journal
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13 Fun Games and Activities to Get Your Class Excited About Poetry!
by Laura Hudgens
Spring is herem and that’s a great reason to enjoy a poetry unit with your students! But the fact that these poetic seasons also coincide with NCAA’s March Madness and MLB’s Opening Day makes competitive poetry activities the perfect way to bring a little poetry (and a lot of fun) into your classroom. After all, what excites kids more than a fierce and friendly competition?
Begin with the poetry basics
Before doing any poetry activities, my students and I spend a couple of days analyzing poems together, paraphrasing them and learning to spot poetic devices. I like to limit us to seven to ten poetry terms. After all, we are playing games, not writing a dissertation. Younger children will use fewer terms and simple definitions. This is a good starting list:
- Rhyme and rhyme scheme
1. poetry madness.
There are several ways to organize a March-Madness-style poetry unit. I like to start with 16 poems—four love poems, four sports poems, four nature poems, and four silly or funny poems. For older students, you could also organize poems by form—sonnets, free verse, limerick, haiku, etc. I group my brackets by subject and start with love poems vs. love poems, nature poems vs. nature poems, and so on. Depending on the age of your students and how much time you want to devote to this unit, you can decide how many poems you want to discuss and eliminate each day.
Taking two poems at a time, students discuss the poetic devices found in each poem and how they contribute to the poem’s overall greatness. Then they vote for a winner. That poem advances to the next round. This can be done as a class or in small groups and continues until each group or the class has an overall winner.
2. Change my mind
For this game divide students into pairs and give them 4-6 poems to choose from. They should briefly discuss the merits of each and choose their favorite. When you say “Go!” they find a pair who chose a different poem and each duo tries to convince the other why their poem is best. After a brief debate, they should switch to another pair and begin the debate again. Repeat this until everyone has debated or until you can no longer stand the noise.
3. Best in show
Similar to Poetry Madness, in this game poems are grouped by subject or form—but now think dog show. Students should choose a poem from one of the designated subjects or forms. They will then take turns presenting the merits of their poem along with the other students who have chosen a different poem from the same group. Once a “Best in Category” has been selected for each group, those winners will compete to be “Best in Show.” To prepare for this game, consider having your class watch a few clips of the National Dog Show and have fun trying to replicate a similar atmosphere in your classroom. And keep in mind that, as with dogs, the winner will often just come down to a matter of taste.
4. Blind draw debate
In this game, poems are again pitted against each other, but this time, students don’t get to choose their poem. Instead, pairs or groups of students are assigned a poem. They must analyze it and debate its merits with another group—whether they really like that poem or not.
5. Poetry in motion baseball
Divide your class into two teams, and give each team a stack of poems. Draw a baseball diamond on the board or arrange desks into a baseball diamond. This game could even be played outside with actual bases. The player “at bat” is asked to locate a poetic device from the stack of poems. For example, they may be asked to find a poem that has onomatopoeia or locate an example of alliteration in one of their poems. If a student can answer the question in the allotted amount of time (say 30 seconds), they advance to the next base. Three incorrect or unanswered questions equals three strikes, and the opposing team is up to bat.
Non-Competitive Poetry Activities
Of course, if you prefer to steer clear of competition, there are other fun ways to bring poetry into your classroom. You might even let your students choose which of these activities they want to do.
Have students memorize and recite poetry. We tend to think of memory work as outdated or as something strictly for the younger grades. But poetry memorization is a valuable skill for every age.
7. Make them new
Let students rewrite poems in their own words.
Ask students to illustrate their favorite poem.
9. Make it musical
Have students work in pairs to turn their poem into a song and perform it for the class.
10. Tell a story
Rewrite a favorite poem as a story. This works well with narrative poetry or poems like “ The Jabberwocky ” or “ Casey at the Bat .”
11. Line slides
Allow students to create a slide presentation taking the class through their poem line by line or stanza by stanza, explaining what it means and how the poet uses different poetic devices.
12. Become the poets
Encourage students to write their own poems on various subjects or following different forms.
13. Read to others
If you can visit a nearby elementary, collect poems for young children, and let older students practice reading them with voice and expression then read them to the little ones.
Need ideas for your classroom? These poems are a great place to start!
POEMS OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP
- My Best Friend, Abby Jenkins
- Since Hanna Moved Away, Judith Viorst
- Lunchbox Love Note
- Hug O War, Shel Silverstein
- How Do I Love Thee, Elizabeth Barret Browing
- She Walks in Beauty, Lord Byron
- The Sun and the Moon, Nakita Gill
- To My Dear and Loving Husband, Anne Bradstreet
- Winter Morning Poem, Ogden Nash
- The Secret Song, Margaret Wise Brown
- The Swing, Robert Louis Stevenson
- The Caterpillar, Christina Rosetti
- Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins
- Fall, Mary Oliver
- Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
- The Tyger, William Blake
- Our Teachers a Football Fanatic, Ken Nesbit
- If School Were More Like Baseball, Ken Nesbit
- Superstar, Shel Silverstein
- Pirate Ballerina, Ken Nesbit
- Casey at the Bat, Ernest Lawrence Thayer
- To an Athlete Dying Young, A.E. Housman
- Fast Break, Edward Hirsh
- Victory, Alexi Sherman
FUNNY AND SILLY POEMS
- Eletelephony, Laura Elizabeth Richards
- Dirty Face, Shel Silverstein
- Mother Doesn’t Want a Dog, Judith Viorst
- The Pig, Ronald Dahl
- The Jabberwocky, Lewis Carol
- Eating Habits, Alan Baiter
- Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town, e.e. Cummings
- Daddy Fell Into the Pond, Alfred Noyse
Because kids sometimes struggle to relate to poetry, many teachers are reluctant to teach it. But the key to bringing poetry into your classroom is to start out by keeping it light and fun and to give kids plenty of ways to explore the wonder, beauty, and fun of poetry. These poetry activities are great for helping both students and teachers develop a love for reading poems in class.
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Out of this World Literacy
Literacy Resources from Jen Bengel
March 8, 2023
How to Teach Poetry Using Guided Reading
Teaching the elements of poetry using guided reading can be an effective approach to help students develop their understanding of the different aspects of poetry. Here are some steps to follow:
Finding the Right Poem
Choose a poem that exemplifies the elements of poetry that you want to teach. For example, if you want to teach about imagery and sensory language, choose a poem that has vivid descriptions and appeals to the senses. All of the poetry guided reading lessons include an original poem that matches the content being taught. Below are examples of 2 of the poems included in the inferring guided reading lesson.
Introduce the Elements of Poetry
Introduce the elements of poetry that you want to focus on, such as rhyme, meter, imagery, figurative language, and symbolism. Explain the definition and purpose of each element.
Activate Prior Knowledge
Conduct pre-reading activities that will help your students activate their prior knowledge and prepare them for reading the poem. For example, you could ask them to brainstorm examples of figurative language or to identify different types of rhyme. In this inferring lesson, a script is provided for you in the introduction of the poem.
Read the Poem
Have your students read the poem independently or in small groups. Encourage them to read the poem multiple times to help them understand its meaning and to notice its poetic devices. After your students have read the poem, guide them through a close reading of the poem with a focus on the elements of poetry. Use prompts and questions to help them identify and analyze the poem's poetic devices. For example, you could ask them to identify the poem's rhyme scheme, to explain the meaning of specific metaphors or similes, or to describe the poem's use of imagery.
Discuss the Poem
Facilitate a group discussion about the poem's use of the elements of poetry. Encourage your students to share their thoughts and observations about the poem, and to ask questions of each other. You can also guide the discussion by asking open-ended questions that promote critical thinking and analysis.
Poetry Response with Writing
After your students have read and discussed the poem, have them write a response that demonstrates their understanding of the elements of poetry. For example, you could ask them to write a poem that uses a specific poetic device or to analyze how the poet used imagery to convey a particular mood or theme. Student pages are provided for each poem. They can be assigned digitally or printed for your convenience.
By following these steps, you can help your students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the elements of poetry.
Poetry Guided Reading Bundle
Reading comprehension topics included in the poetry bundle:
- Author & Audience
- Central Message
- Descriptive Language
- Mood and Tone
INCLUDED IN EACH SET:
- 6 complete guided reading lessons for teaching 10 different poetry skills. See detailed small group lesson summary pages for more information. 60 total small-group lessons!
- IMPORTANT: There are 6 poems in each set. There is one poem for each of the 6 types of poetry: cinquain, haiku, limerick, free verse, acrostic, and concrete.
- Custom color and B/W Illustrations from Three Birds Art Studio. IG: threebirds_art
- 20 additional poetry questions related to each of the 10 skills to use with any poem. 200 total questions!
- Small group summary lesson page.
- Detailed description with time suggestions for each of the 6 small group steps.
- Teacher strategy guide for differentiating within each lesson.
- A complete teacher page for each lesson.
- 2 student pages for each lesson.
- Digital and printable (black and white) formats are included.
- ANSWER KEYS!
*** there are 6 different poems with custom illustrations in each set. One poem for each lesson!
Lessons include Cinquain Poems, Acrostic Poems, Limerick Poems, Concrete Poems, Haiku Poems, and Free Verse Poems.
Click here to see a blog post using poetry in a reading and writing workshop.
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