When I first thought about writing poetry with my young learners, I was overwhelmed and it seemed like a huge challenge. To be honest, I kind of dreaded it my first year of teaching. However, when I started teaching poetry, my students LOVED it and it quickly became my favorite writing unit of the school year. Over the past five years, I’ve worked hard to develop a poetry unit that works for me and my students and I’m so excited to share it with you today. (if you want to skip right to checking out the unit, you can do that here)
I like to start our poetry unit by teaching the kids about similes. We begin by making a simple anchor chart with examples of similes and then students practice writing their own. You can grab this FREE simile practice page here!
After some simile practice, we write rainbow similes and complete this fun craftivity to go along with our similes (idea from Teacher by the Beach). The supplies for this writing project and craftivity are included in my Poetry Unit… there is a rough draft and a final copy version of the Rainbow Simile writing. Teacher by the Beach’s original craftivity is also much larger. I chose to scale it back a little bit because it takes the students a long time to rip and glue little pieces of paper to make the rainbow collage.
After completing our rainbow similes project, we jump writing into our poetry writing. I put out poetry books in our book rack during the poetry unit and students LOVE enjoying the books when they finish something early. I also read a lot of the poetry aloud during snack and other times of the day. Here are some of my favorite books that we read during our poetry unit!
Now, my students’ absolute favorite poetry book is always Giant Children… this is NOT high quality literature but it is definitely good for a laugh!!
There are eight different types of poetry in my poetry unit. We don’t often get to all of the types of poetry because we really like to spend a lot of time on each poem. The poems include the following: cinquain, haiku, shape poems, word poems, couplets, alliteration, acrostic poems, and color poems.
Each poem comes with an example mini poster, a planning page, and final copy paper.
Here’s a little peek at some of my students’ finished poetry.
My students really enjoy writing their shape poems so we usually display those in the classroom during poetry month. There are shape templates included in my poetry unit that students can use and there is a “create your own” page. My students have drawn some really creative shape poems over the past couple years including a tiger, a computer, a tank, a penguin, and so many more!
At the end of poetry month, we make a cover page and “about the poet” page for our poetry books. Students love having a book of poetry to take home and share with their families.
Okay, so that is our poetry writing unit in a nutshell. You can click this link to download my Poetry Unit for Lower Elementary in my TpT store. Each type of poem includes a planning (or first draft) page and a final copy page.
I’ll leave you with a mini lesson that I do with my students about reading and understanding poetry. This idea comes directly from the Primary Comprehension Toolkit. We make this simple anchor chart and infer what is happening in the poem. We do this same activity with several different poems throughout our writing unit.