How to Write a Lesson Plan on Poetry

Written by Dan

Last updated

Teaching poetry can be an exciting and engaging way to introduce students to the complexity and beauty of language. Poetry allows students to explore the nuances of language, evoke emotions, and develop a deeper appreciation for the written word.

Through a well-prepared lesson plan, teachers can help students appreciate the intricate art form that is poetry by fostering their creativity and enhancing their understanding of various linguistic elements.

How To Create The Best Lesson Plan

Related: For more, check out our article on Poems About The Moon  here.

To create an effective lesson plan on poetry, it is crucial for teachers to first have a clear understanding of what poetry is all about. This means delving into the different styles and forms of poetry and exploring the rich history that shapes the tradition of poetic expression.

Understanding these aspects can help teachers develop a comprehensive and engaging curriculum that not only introduces students to various works of poetry, but also challenges them to analyse and interpret their meanings.

Equipped with this deep understanding, teachers can then begin to construct their lesson plans.

Creating a diversity of activities that cater to different learning styles, such as incorporating creative writing exercises and discussing specific forms of poetry, ensures that students can actively participate in lessons and develop their own voices as poets.

Furthermore, enhancing the classroom experience by including multimedia and interactive discussions can spark students’ interest and encourage them to immerse themselves in the world of poetry.

Key Takeaways

  • A well-prepared lesson plan enables students to appreciate the language and emotions in poetry
  • Teachers need to understand various styles, forms and history of poetry to create an engaging curriculum
  • An effective lesson includes diverse activities, creative writing exercises, and a stimulating classroom environment

Understanding Poetry

Elements of Poetry

In order to teach poetry, it’s essential to understand its basic elements. Poetry covers a variety of topics and is expressed through several poetic forms.

It can have a structured or free-flowing structure, which comprises elements like rhythm, rhyme, and syllables.

Exploring the meaning of a poem involves examining its metaphors, similes, and personification. Different poetic techniques are used to enrich the text and evoke the reader’s imagination.

ObjectiveLearning GoalsDefine what students should know or be able to do by the end of the lesson.Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
StandardsCurriculum AlignmentAlign the lesson with national, state, or local educational standards for teaching poetry.Ensure the lesson plan addresses the required standards for your grade level and subject area.
MaterialsResources NeededList all materials and resources needed for the lesson, including texts, audio/visual aids, and handouts.Prepare materials in advance and have extras for unexpected situations.
IntroductionLesson HookDescribe how you will introduce the poetry lesson to capture students’ attention.Use an engaging question, a short video, or a powerful image related to the theme of the poetry.
InstructionTeaching MethodsOutline the instructional strategies you will use to teach the poetry concepts.Incorporate a mix of direct instruction, guided practice, and collaborative activities.
ActivitiesStudent EngagementPlan activities that allow students to explore and practice poetic techniques.Include activities like reading and analyzing poems, writing poetry, and peer review sessions.
DifferentiationAccommodating All LearnersExplain how you will modify activities to meet the diverse needs of learners.Offer varied levels of challenge, use multimodal instruction, and provide choices in activities.
AssessmentMeasuring UnderstandingDetail how you will assess students’ understanding of the poetry concepts.Use formative assessments like exit tickets, poetry writing tasks, or group discussions to gauge understanding.
ConclusionLesson Wrap-UpDescribe the closing of the lesson, summarizing key points and reflecting on learning.End with a group sharing session, a reflective writing prompt, or a discussion of the next lesson.
ReflectionTeacher EvaluationPlan for a post-lesson reflection to evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson.Consider what worked well, what didn’t, and how the lesson plan could be improved for future use.

This table provides a framework for writing a lesson plan on poetry, detailing the essential components and offering tips for effective lesson planning. It can be adapted to suit different educational contexts and student needs.

Types of Poems and Poetic Devices

There are numerous poetic forms, such as sonnets, haikus, limericks, and tanka poems. The table below provides an overview of these forms and their features:

Poetic FormStructureCharacteristics
Sonnet14 lines with a rhyme schemeFocuses on love and reflection
Haiku3 lines with 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectivelyEpitomises nature and seasons
Limerick5 lines with a specific rhyme scheme (AABBA)Humorous and light-hearted
Tanka Poem5 lines with 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables respectivelyExpresses emotions and personal views

In addition to these forms, there are also free verse poems that don’t adhere to a specific structure or rhyme scheme.

Poetry also relies on devices like alliteration, assonance, and rhyming words to create sound effects and meaning. For instance, alliteration involves the repetition of consonant sounds, while assonance focuses on vowel sounds. Utilising these devices can transform the flow and impact of a poem.

Related: For more, check out our article on The best Activities To be Taught In A Poetry Lesson here.

Developing Vocabulary

A crucial aspect of understanding poetry is the use of an extensive and varied vocabulary.

Engaging with new words and phrases not only allows readers to comprehend the poem’s intended meanings but also helps them appreciate the beauty of the language.

When teaching poetry, encourage students to explore unfamiliar words and examine their etymological origins.

Educators can effectively guide students in exploring the nuanced world of poetry by developing a firm grasp of these fundamental components and applying them throughout the lesson plan.

Developing The Lesson Plan

When crafting a lesson plan on poetry for secondary schools, teachers need to employ a variety of teaching resources and strategies. Here, we outline some necessary steps to create an engaging and comprehensive lesson plan.

Firstly, determine the learning objectives for the lesson. Be specific about what you want students to gain from studying poetry.

These objectives should align with the broader literacy goals of the curriculum. It is beneficial to consult resources such as the National Poetry Day or the Poetry Foundation websites for inspiration.

Next, consider incorporating a stimulus as a poem, a video, or an audio recording to spark students’ interest.

Activities like close readings and golden shovel exercises, wherein students create a new poem using words from an existing one, can aid in building their understanding of poetic elements.

Subsequently, integrate writing activities throughout the lesson, allowing students to practise composing poetry in various forms. This may include:

  • Writing haikus
  • Crafting sonnets
  • Experimenting with free verse

To ensure a well-rounded learning experience, include analysis and discussion elements. Encourage students to explore themes, literary devices, and poets’ language techniques.

For example, organise a Poetry Out Loud session, where students actively engage in recitations, discussions, and peer feedback.

Moreover, utilises technology and online platforms to enhance the teaching experience. Websites such as and National Poetry Day offer valuable lesson plans, activities, and resources.

Finally, establish a checklist for the lesson, outlining clear instructions and expectations. This may include:

  1. Reading and understanding the chosen poems
  2. Participating in group activities
  3. Completing writing tasks
  4. Engaging in class discussions

A well-crafted lesson plan on poetry effectively utilises resources, promotes engagement, and caters to students’ diverse learning needs.

By incorporating various writing activities, analysis and discussion tasks, and technological support, teachers can create a comprehensive and enjoyable learning experience for their students.

Enhancing Classroom Experience

When teaching poetry, creating a classroom atmosphere that encourages creativity and expression is essential. One approach to foster this environment is through communal storytelling.

Please encourage your students to share their personal experiences, emotions, and ideas with their peers. This process will establish a safe space for them to express their thoughts openly, ultimately creating a more engaging and fulfilling learning experience.

Incorporate different forms of poetry writing within your lesson plan. For instance, introduce your students to the concept of a found poem.

A found poem can be a creative and constructive way to explore new ideas in poetry as they transform existing texts, like book pages or newspaper articles, into something new and original.

Moreover, consider integrating a poetry journal activity as part of your lessons. Ask students to regularly write and reflect on their experiences with poetry during the course.

This will help them track their progress and better understand the subject matter.

Performance poetry provides another engaging and immersive approach to enhance the classroom experience.

Allow students to exhibit their work during classroom performances or even host a poetry slam event, which can be an exciting way for them to showcase their creations and talents.

By incorporating performance, students can realise the potential of their work and how it resonates with an audience.

  • Ways to enhance the classroom experience:
    • Utilise communal storytelling
    • Teach various forms of poetry writing
    • Include performance poetry activities

Venturing outside the classroom can provide new perspectives and inspiration.

Plan field trips to local poetry events, open mic nights, or workshops with guest poets to expose students to different styles of poetry and creative expression.

Introducing your class to the wider poetry community will help them appreciate the diverse world of poetry and inspire them to create and share their unique pieces.

Incorporating Creative Writing

Creative writing plays a significant role in teaching poetry and enhancing students’ creativity. Employing various techniques and exercises can stimulate their imagination and encourage them to express themselves uniquely.

One fundamental element of creative writing in poetry is the use of imagery. Teachers can introduce students to various forms of imagery, such as visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory.

To inspire students, teachers may provide a list of evocative images or encourage them to find images in their surroundings. For example, they could create a table for students to fill in with their imagery ideas:

VisualA moonlit snow-covered field
AuditoryWhispering autumn leaves
TactileA warm, soft blanket
OlfactoryThe scent of fresh rain
GustatoryThe bitter taste of black coffee

Another effective technique is to promote collaboration among students. Group activities can encourage shared ideas and experiences, resulting in a richer and more diverse artistic expression.

Teachers might organise poetry workshops where students can work in small groups to brainstorm ideas, create images, develop metaphors, and critique each other’s work.

To ensure students engage with their imagination, the teacher can prompt them with open-ended exercises or themes rooted in personal experiences.

For instance, they could ask students to write a poem about a cherished memory, explore a new perspective on a familiar object, or imagine the world from an ant’s point of view.

Finally, allowing students to express themselves through various poetic forms and styles is crucial to fostering creativity in their writing. Teachers should present poetic forms – such as sonnets, haikus, and free verse – encouraging students to experiment and find the style that resonates most with them.

Similarly, introducing students to poets from diverse backgrounds and showcasing different poetic traditions can broaden their understanding of the limitless possibilities of poetry.

Incorporating creative writing techniques into a poetry lesson plan can help foster a deeper appreciation for poetry and stimulate the students’ creativity, imagination, and self-expression.

Dealing With Specific Poetry Forms

When writing a lesson plan on poetry, it is essential to address the varying forms of poetry. Each specific poetry form presents different constraints and characteristics that can spark creativity and develop different skills in students.

This section will briefly discuss some popular poetic forms, including haiku, sonnet, limerick, tanka, free verse, found poem, and golden shovel.


A haiku is a traditional Japanese form consisting of three lines with syllable counts of 5-7-5.

It often focuses on capturing the essence of nature and seasons. Teaching haiku can encourage students to observe their surroundings closely, and concisely convey their impressions.


The sonnet is a 14-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and meter, typically iambic pentameter.

There are two main types of sonnets: the Shakespearean (or English) sonnet, with a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG, and the Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnet, with a rhyme scheme of ABBAABBACDECDE.

Sonnets traditionally explore themes of love and beauty, helping students develop their skills in expressing emotions and structuring thoughts within strict guidelines.


A limerick is a humorous five-line poem with a rhyme scheme of AABBA, where lines 1, 2, and 5 generally have 7-10 syllables and lines 3 and 4 have 5-7 syllables.

The light-hearted nature of limericks can engage students while still demonstrating the importance of rhythm and rhyme.


The tanka poem is another Japanese form, similar to the haiku, consisting of five lines with syllable counts of 5-7-5-7-7.

It often explores emotions or themes beyond those found in haiku, allowing students to dive deeper into their experiences and feelings while maintaining a tight structure.

Free Verse Poem

With no fixed rhyme scheme or meter, free verse poems offer the utmost freedom, allowing students to explore their creativity without form constraints.

When teaching this form, emphasis can be placed on the importance of line breaks, imagery, and other poetic devices.

Found Poem

A found poem is created by rearranging and re-contextualising existing text from various sources, such as newspapers, books, or advertisements.

This form encourages students to develop their skills in interpreting and appreciating language and explore new ways of combining and presenting ideas.

Golden Shovel

The golden shovel is a newer form that pays tribute to an existing poem by incorporating its words into a new composition.

Each word from the original poem is used as the last word of each line in the new poem. This form can teach students the importance of intertextuality and creative reinterpretation of literary works.

Incorporating these different poetic forms into a lesson plan ensures a diverse and engaging exploration of the vast world of poetry, helping students develop various skills and a deeper appreciation for the power of language.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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