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Guidelines for Writing Poetry


Guidelines for Writing Poetry Explore many examples of quality poetry from many different sources. Have a good selection of poetry books on hand for this. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Guidelines for Writing Poetry

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Explore many examples of quality poetry from many
    different sources. Have a good selection of
    poetry books on hand for this.
  • Create Class Poetry Rules to help students
    understand what a quality poem looks, sounds, and
    feels like.

Rules About Writing Poetry
  • Mrs. Westvessels Rules
  • Our Rules

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Begin with formula poetry. Teach students
    several formulas to use when writing poems,
    making sure that they understand that it is OK to
    change the formulas to express themselves more

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Teach students about poetic devices other than
    rhyme alliteration, onomatopoeia, repetition,
    comparison. Encourage them to use these
    approaches in their writing.

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Embrace and encourage word play by having a Word
    Play Wall in the classroom.

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Discuss writing strategies with students
  • Adapting formulas to meet their needs
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Deleting unnecessary words
  • Arranging words on the page in an interesting way
  • Choosing capitalization and punctuation to fit
    the poem

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Invite a published poet in for an author visit.
  • Provide time for class poets to share their work
    with the class.

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Integrate poetry writing as a product choice for
  • Language arts
  • Science
  • Social studies

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Create a student anthology for the class, or for
    the grade level or school. Distribute copies to
    students, parents, and faculty.

Guidelines for Writing Poetry
  • Plan and teach units about specific poets.
    Encourage students to experiment with the poets
    techniques and themes. Good choices might
    include Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Robert
    Frost, Walt Whitman

Recipe for a Poem
  • Rhyme
  • Rhythm
  • Parsimonious selection
  • of words to evoke emotion
  • and provide clarity.
  • Blend carefully to create a mood,
  • a sensory experience of a view of the world
  • through a new lens.
  • In other words,
  • a poem.

Types of Poems
  • There are basically five types of poetic forms
  • Formula poems
  • Free-form poems
  • Syllable and word count poems
  • Rhymed poems
  • Model poems

  • Formula poems have guidelines for the writer to
    follow in order to complete the poem.

I Wish Poems
  • In I Wish poems, each line begins with I
    wish and is completed with a wish of the poet.
    One way to do an I Wish poem is to have the
    students collaborate and complete one line each.
    Then have them choose one line to elaborate on.

  • Example
  • Our Wishes (class collaboration grade 4)
  • I wish I were a teddy bear.
  • I wish I had a little brother.
  • I wish I had millions of dollars.
  • I wish I were a super hero.
  • I wish I didnt have to do chores.
  • I wish I could play outside.
  • I wish it were time for lunch.

  • Example
  • My Wish (one student grade 4)
  • I wish I were a super hero.
  • I would get to soar high in the sky.
  • I would have x-ray vision and huge muscles.
  • I could fight villains and always win.
  • Id never be called a wimp.
  • I would like to be a super hero!

Color Poems
  • Each line can begin with the same color in a
    color poem, or different colors can be used.
    Color poems have a metaphorical style. The
    colors are related to objects.

  • Example
  • Yellow (class collaboration grade 7)
  • Yellow is shiny galoshes
  • Splashing through mud puddles.
  • Yellow is a street lamp
  • Beaming through the dark, black night.
  • Yellow is an egg yolk bubbling in a frying pan.
  • Yellow is the lemon cake that makes you pucker
    your lips.

  • Example 2
  • Red (one student grade 5)
  • Red is a vampire drinking blood.
  • Red is the book I read yesterday.
  • Red is my hand when Aaron throws the ball.
  • Red is the magma pushing to get out of the Earth.

Five-Senses Poems
  • Students write about a topic using the five
    senses. Five-senses poems are usually five lines
  • The first example is from one student - grade 2.


If I Were Poems
  • Students write about what they would feel and do
    if they were something else. This is a good poem
    for teaching personification.

  • Example
  • If I Were a Tyrannosaurus Rex (one student
    grade 3)
  • If I were a tyrannosaurus rex
  • I would rule all of the dinosaurs
  • And be the strongest one.
  • If I were a tyrannosaurus rex
  • I would make the earth quake just by walking
  • And I would roar loudly when I hunt.

I Used to/But Now Poems
  • These poems contain alternate lines beginning
    with these two phrases.

  • Example 1
  • (one student grade 3)
  • I used to be a kernel
  • but now I am a crunchy,
  • tasty, buttery cloud
  • popped by Orville Redenbacher.

  • Example 2
  • On the American Revolution (class collaboration
    grade 5)
  • I used to think that Florida was one of the
    thirteen colonies,
  • But now I know it belonged to Spain.
  • I used to think the War for Independence was one
    big battle,
  • But now I know it was made up of many battles.

  • I used to think that Americans and British fought
    the same way,
  • But now I know they had different military
  • I used to think that the Constitution was our
    first set of rules,
  • But now I know that the Articles of the
    Confederation were.
  • I used to think that war was exciting and
  • But now I know that it was not that way at all.

is Poems
  • is poems describe what something is or what
    something means to the writer.

  • Example
  • Thunder Is (class collaboration grade 2)
  • Thunder is someone bowling.
  • Thunder is a hot cloud bumping against a cold
  • Thunder is a brachiosaurus sneezing.
  • Thunder is a giant laughing.
  • Thunder is elephants playing.
  • Thunder is an army tank.

Preposition Poems
  • Each line in a preposition poem begins with a
    prepositional phrase.

  • Example
  • Superman (one student grade 7)
  • Within the city
  • In a phone booth
  • Into his clothes
  • Like a bird
  • In the sky
  • Through the walls
  • Until the crime
  • Among us
  • Is defeated!

Free Form Poems
  • No rules apply for punctuation, capitalization,
    or arrangement on the page in free form poetry.

  • Example
  • Selena Live (one student grade 5)
  • Great P
  • O
  • W
  • E
  • R
  • F
  • U
  • Deep L MUSIC star
  • ly (ST
  • UN
  • NI
  • NG) Death TexICAN MexICAN
  • (AM
  • er ____gt SpIRitMUsIC
  • Ic GirL
  • an) (2, applause, !)

Concrete Poems
  • The writer arranges the phrases, words or
    sentences into the shape of an object in concrete

  • Example

Found Poems
  • The writer circles or cuts out powerful phrases
    or words in an article, song, or story and
    creates a poem from these words.

  • Example
  • Fast Moving (one student grade 8)
  • Moving down the track,
  • Faster than fast, is Richard Petty
  • Seven-time winner of the crowned jewel
  • Daytona 500.
  • At 210 mph dangerous pushing his engine to
    the limit.
  • Other NASCARs running fast
  • But Richard Petty takes the lead at last.
  • Running across the finish line with good time.

  • With this type of poetry, the number of
    syllables or words in a poem are prescribed.

  • Haikus are Japanese poems consisting of 17
    syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5
    syllables. They are commonly about nature.

  • Example
  • (one student grade 6)
  • Your sweet smile is like
  • a rainbow of happiness
  • coloring my world.
  • (class collaboration grade 2)
  • Wolves are meat eaters
  • that have sharp teeth and long claws
  • to attack their prey.

  • Tankas are Japanese poems consisting of 31
    syllables arranged in five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7,
    and 7 syllables.

  • Example
  • (one student grade 7)
  • The summer dancers
  • dancing in the midnight sky,
  • waltzing and dreaming.
  • Stars glisten in the night sky.
  • Wish upon a shooting star.

  • A cinquain poem is a five line poem containing 22
    syllables in a 2-4-6-8-2 pattern.
  • Line 1 is a one-word subject with 2 syllables.
  • Line 2 is 4 syllables describing the subject.
  • Line 3 is 6 syllables showing action.
  • Line 4 is 8 syllables expressing feelings.
  • Line 5 is 2 syllables renaming the subject.
  • (Note The content is more important than the
    syllable count.)

  • Example
  • (class collaboration grade 2)
  • Reading
  • exciting, wonderful
  • enjoying, imagining, learning
  • pretending you are somewhere else
  • Knowledge

  • Example
  • (one student grade 10)
  • Wrestling
  • skinny, fat
  • coaching, arguing, pinning
  • trying hard to win
  • Tournament

  • Diamante poems were invented by Tiedt in 1970.
    They are 7-line contrast poems written in the
    shape of a diamond. Diamantes help students
    understand opposites and parts of speech.

  • Line 1 is a noun (the subject).
  • Line 2 is 2 adjectives describing the subject.
  • Line 3 is 3 participles about the subject.
  • Line 4 is 4 nouns the first two relate to the
    subject and the second 2 are opposites.
  • Line 5 is 3 participles about the opposite of the
  • Line 6 is 2 adjectives describing the opposite.
  • Line 7 is a noun (the opposite).

  • Example
  • (class collaboration grade 3)
  • BABY
  • wrinkled tiny
  • crying wetting sleeping
  • rattles diapers money house
  • caring working loving

  • Rhymed verse poetic forms contain rhyming words
    either at the ends of the lines, or within the

  • Limericks contain light verse and are often
    humorous. They are made up of 5 lines that have
    an a, a, b, b, a rhyme scheme. The third and
    fourth lines are shorter than the others.

  • Example
  • (one student grade 2)
  • There once was a man named Harris.
  • He worked at a mall in Paris.
  • He fell on the floor
  • and tripped out the door,
  • and now he is very embarrassed!

  • Example
  • (one student grade 8)
  • There once was a frog named Pete
  • who did nothing but sit and eat.
  • He examined each fly
  • with so careful an eye,
  • and then said, Youre dead meat.

  • Clerihews are named after Edmund Clerihew
    Bentley (1875-1956), the British detective who
    invented them. They consist of four lines that
    describe a person.

  • Line 1 is the persons name.
  • Line 2 rhymes with the persons last name.
  • Line 3 and 4 are about the person and these 2
    lines rhyme.

  • Example
  • (one student grade 6)
  • Albert Einstein
  • His genius did shine.
  • Of relativity and energy did he dream,
  • and scientists today hold him in high esteem.

  • A sonnet is a poem of 14 lines of pentameter,
    rhymed either in the Petrarchan (Italian) pattern
    abba abba cdcdcd or in the Shakespearean
    (English) pattern abab cdcd efef gg.

  • Example The Robins Love Song
  • (one student grade 6)
  • The robin sits atop the tree and sings
  • And his sweet song reminds me of the nights
  • We used to watch the starlit skies and sights
  • of natures mysteries of unknown things.
  • His song that lingers in my heart still rings
  • And with his song my broken heart still fights
  • To gain your love once more for old delights
  • Again wed share the thoughts of joy love brings.
  • The laughter, tears, and smiles we used to share
  • Are treasured in my heart eternally.
  • I hope the days of old again are near
  • And you again will say that you do care.
  • My grateful heart will always think of he,
  • That robin in the tree that sang so dear.

Free Form Rhymed Verse
  • A poem that contains rhyme, but does not follow
    a particular poetic form.

  • Example
  • (one student grade 2)
  • I wish I lived on a rainbow
  • So shiny and bright
  • So when I looked out Id see a colorful light
  • And I could see how people look at me and say,
  • I wish thats where I could be.
  • And Id wave hi! as they went by.

  • Model poems are patterned after an existing

  • Model William Carlos Williams This is Just to
  • Students can apologize for something that they
    are secretly glad that they did, or the poem can
    be genuinely apologetic.

  • Example
  • The Truck (one student grade 7)
  • Dad,
  • Im sorry
  • that I took
  • the truck
  • out for a spin.
  • I knew it
  • was wrong.
  • But
  • the exhilarating
  • motion was

  • Example Open Up (one student grade 7)
  • I didnt
  • open my
  • immature eyes
  • to see
  • the pain
  • within you
  • a death
  • had caused.
  • Forgive me,
  • I misunderstood
  • your anguished
  • broken heart.

  • Model William Shakespeares Come Unto These
    Yellow Sands
  • Students invite someone to a magical place
    filled with sound and color where wonderful
    things happen.

  • Example
  • The Golden Shore (one student grade 7)
  • Come unto the golden shore
  • where days are filled with laughter,
  • and nights are filled with whispering winds,
  • where sunflowers and sun
  • are filled with love.
  • Come take my hand
  • as we walk into the sun.

If I Were in Charge of the World
  • Model Judith Viorsts If I Were in Charge of
    the World
  • Students describe what they would do if they
    were in charge of the world.

  • Example
  • (class collaboration grade 4)
  • If I were in charge of the world
  • school would be for one month,
  • movies and videogames would be free,
  • and foods would be McCalorieless at McDonalds.
  • Poor people would have a home,
  • bubble gum would cost a penny, and
  • kids would have cars to drive.

  • Parents wouldnt argue,
  • Christmas would be twice a year
  • And we would never have bedtimes.
  • A kid would be president,
  • Id meet a long, lost cousin and
  • Candy bars would be vegetables.
  • I would own the mall,
  • People would have as much money as they wanted,
  • There would be no drugs.

Performance Poetry
  • Joyful Noise Poems for Two Voices
  • by Paul Fleischman
  • Its Show Time Poetry from the Page to the
  • by Allan Wolf

Sample Poetry Workshop 90 Minute Lesson Plan
  • 15 minutes Whole class meeting
  • - book talk for poetry book
  • - talk about a poet
  • - choral read favorite poems
  • - discuss meaning of a poem
  • 30 minutes Independent poetry reading
  • 15 minutes Students share poem with partner
  • 15 minutes Teacher teaches poetry mini lesson
  • 30 minutes Students write poems (using writing
  • 15 minutes Students share original poetry

Assessing Poetry
  • Focus on the promising parts of a poem - the
    passion, the content.
  • Help students build on their strength.
  • Take notice of clear, strong images, word play,
    comparisons, onomatopoeia, alliteration,
    repetitions of lines or phrases, originality,
    creativity, risk.

Assessing Poetry
  • Instead of taking grades, ask questions such as
  • Has the student experimented with a particular
    poetic form?
  • Has he/she used the writing process to write,
    revise, and edit the poem?
  • Has he/she used word play or other poetic devices
    in the poem?
  • Is the students voice individual, compelling,
    memorable, engaging?
  • Is the vocabulary used rich and increasingly

  • Online Poetry Resources

Action Plan
  • Choose one of the following
  • Choose one of the types of poetry from the
    workshop and create an original piece of poetry
    to share with your students.
  • Write a sample lesson plan that you can implement

Reflective Discussion
  • What is something new that you learned today?

What is something you cant wait to try with
your class?
What do you perceive is the value of this
workshop to your students success on TAKS?
  • Tomorrow is a dream that leads me onward
    Tomorrow is a path Ive yet to choose,
  • Its a chance Ive yet to take,
  • A friend Ive yet to make,
  • Its all the talent I have yet to use.
  • Tomorrow is a dream that leads me onward,
  • Always just a step ahead of me
  • Its the joy Ive yet to know,
  • The love Ive yet to show,
  • For its the person I have yet to be.
  • -Author Unknown