Writers: Poets

Lesson plans and activites on poetry from all genres for students of all ages.

Lesson Plans

Epic Poems

Lesson plans and other teaching resources for the Aeneid, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, Paradise Lost

Grades: Various



General Poetry Resources

This page features lesson plans and activities for teaching specific types of poetry or poetry in general. Sites and Activities for Specific Poetsand Collections of Poetryare also available.

Grades: Various



Poetry Slam

Links to resources and ideas for poetry slams in the classroom.

Grades: Various



Reading and writing poetry

Ten lesson plans on various aspects of poetry.

Grades: K-12



Teaching Poetry in the Primary and Secondary Schools

Nine lessons plans on various aspects of poetry.

Grades: 1-12



Transcending Poetry: Jazz, Rap and Hip-Hop

Explore poetry, jazz, rap and hip hop music, and discover the common threads that run through the poetry and music. Examine how the themes and subject matter of the poetry and music reflect the lifestyle of the period.    

Grades: K-12



Poems That Work!

This unit is designed to give teachers the confidence in themselves to try poetry in the middle school classroom.

Grades: 5-8



Animating Poetry: Reading Poems about the Natural World

Centered on poems about the natural world, this lesson encourages students, first, to make the reading of poetry a creative act; and, second, to appreciate particular literary devices in their functions as semaphores or interpretive signals.

Grades: 6-8



Letters from Emily Dickinson: 'Will you be my preceptor?'

Long perceived as a recluse who wrote purely in isolation, Emily Dickinson in reality maintained many dynamic correspondences throughout her lifetime and specifically sought out dialogues on her poetry. These correspondences—both professional and private—reveal a poet keenly aware of the interdependent relationship between poet and reader.

Grades: 6-8



Poems that Tell a Story: Narrative and Persona in the Poetry of Robert Frost

Behind many of the apparently simple stories of Robert Frost's poems are unexpected questions and mysteries. In this lesson, students analyze what speakers include or omit from their narrative accounts, make inferences about speakers' motivations, and find evidence for their inferences in the words of the poem.

Grades 6-8



The Poet's Voice: Langston Hughes and You

Poets achieve popular acclaim only when they express clear and widely shared emotions with a forceful, distinctive, and memorable voice. But what is meant by voice in poetry, and what qualities have made the voice of Langston Hughes a favorite for so many people?

Grades: 6-8



Bells, Bells, and More Bells
There's a great deal more to a poem than just its words-as you can help your students discover through this activity. They will use Knowing Poe's The Bells to discover how the melodic sounds and insistent rhythms of a poem's words add immensely to understanding and appreciating this art form.

Grades: 6-9



Poetry: Blues Style

Consider the poetic devices and recurring themes in blues lyrics and the significance of the poetry of the blues as part of the African American oral tradition.

Grades: 6-12



Walt Whitman: Patriot Poet

Evaluate Walt Whitman's role as poet, historian and American visionary by analyzing his effectiveness in recording historic events and concepts through his poetry and by examining his reactions to the conditions of Civil War hospitals.

Grades: 6-12



Writing Italian Sonnets?
Glori Chaika's students at Slidell (Louisiana) Junior High School are among the most-often published poets in the country. Let's take a look at a program that has kids writing all kinds of poems---from quatrains to limericks to (yes!) Italian sonnets.

Grade: 7



American Academy of Poets

Various lesson plans, all classroom tested.

Grades: 9-12



Analyzing Poetic Devices

Students examine the relationship of poetic form and content, shaped by alliteration, consonance, repetition, and rhythm, in two poems about fatherhood: Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays" and Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz."

Grades: 9-12



The Impact of a Poem's Line Breaks: Enjambment and Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool”

Students will learn about the impact of enjambment in Gwendolyn Brooks' short but far-reaching poem "We Real Cool."

Grades: 9-12



Introducing Metaphors Through Poetry
Students read excerpts from the work of Langston Hughes, Margaret Atwood, and Naomi Shihab Nye in order to gain a deeper understanding of metaphors.

Grades: 9-12



The Noble Art of Poetry

Examine and discuss each characteristic of Edgar Allan Poe's definition of "poetry." Create your own definition of poetry by identifying characteristics you feel define the genre.

Grades: 9-12



Using a Poetry Slam to Teach the Mechanics of Poetry

This lesson plan will involve students in defining, composing, practicing, performing and judging poetry. It will help them realize that poetry is a living art form-- not just words on a page. Once students are introduced to various poetry devices, techniques, and forms, they are exposed to the origin, rules, judging, performance skills, and scoring involved in a poetry slam competition. Grades: 9-12



Poetry Out Loud
Official site of the national poetry recitation contest.

Grades: 9-12



Poet Naomi Shihab Nye

Examine and analyze the life and poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye, and discuss stereotyping. Write a persuasive letter in response to her open letter "To Any Would-Be Terrorists."

Grades: 9-12



Ode to a View

Study the form of the ode using both written and visual examples. Choose a favorite landscape or place, and write and illustrate an ode to represent the feelings and significance inspired by that chosen place.

Grades: 9-12



Preparing for Poetry: A Reader's First Steps

This EDSITEment lesson teaches students how to read a poem so that they are prepared, rather than simply present, for class discussion.

Grades: 9-12



Writing Haiku
This lesson on haiku includes samples by Basho and Richard Wright.
Grades: 9-12



Great African American poets of the 20th Century.         

An excellent, five-day series of lessons using a variety of media. The lessons are very well structured and based upon standards.

Grades 10-12



Women in Poetry

This technology-integrated unit introduces students to a broad range of contemporary women's voices in poetry.

Grades: 10-12



Teacher Resources

Craft of Poetry

Definitions and examples of a variety of terms related to poetry: blank verse, line and meter, tercet, imagery, sestina, style, and more.



Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers
A Web companion to the PBS series, complete with lesson plans.



Glossary of Literary and Rhetorical Terms
Poetry types, meters, and figurative language defined with examples.



How to Read a Poem Out Loud


National Writing Project: Resource Topics: Poetry

Acollection of articles exploring how to teach students to write poetry.



Online Poetry Classroom
Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, this site offers teacher forums, links to lesson plans, and transcripts from summer institutes, in addition to all the resources of Poets.org.



The Poetry Archives

Online collection of recordings of poets reading their works.



United States Poets Laureate: A Guide to Online Resources

Library of Congress Web pages that include information on the poet laureate's life and work, as well as to external links to Web sites that feature biographical information, interviews, poems, audio, video, and other materials that highlight the activities of each poet.