(Feature image mushrooms thanks to NinjaWoman Clip Art Studio and Broadway Flair font from Lisa Goodell.)

“Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.” from the American Academy of Poets

Looking for ways to engage your group of budding poets? Here’s a sampling of exciting resources and teaching ideas just waiting to be discovered:

For Middle and Upper Grade Poets

  • Poetry Writing Unit“Initially my students are resistant to writing and analyzing poetry,” says Brain Waves Instruction. “However, it doesn’t take long for each of them to find a poem-type niche and begin to shine. I encourage them to submit their poems in a creative manner. This means that I’ve graded an extended cinquain poem written on a soccer ball, a haiku poem carved in a rock, and a ‘remember when’ poem incorporated into an original painting. Teaching poetry writing in middle school is a true gift. It’s the experience of watching students take risks, share parts of their lives, and grow into better writers. My Poetry Writing Unit (grades 5-8) is my all-time favorite unit to teach.”
  • Paired Passages Paul Revere: The Poem and the True StoryDarlene Anne says, “I have several poetry products, and they’re all designed to break through that wall students often put up at the mere mention of the word ‘poetry.’ But my heart just might belong to my Paired Passages Paul Revere: The Poem and the True Story (grades 6-9) resource. Every time I read ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’ aloud, students whoop and cheer the way they might react while watching a blockbuster film!”
  • DIGITAL Poetry Slam! (CCSS ELA Speaking & Writing)“Digital Poetry Slam!” says Secondary Sara. “We do a variety of poetry activities, and students pick one of their poems to record reading aloud and that will later be played to the class. This takes the fear out of public speaking so that students embrace the fact that poetry was meant to be spoken! Here’s the complete resource: DIGITAL Poetry Slam! (CCSS ELA Speaking & Writing) (grades 6-12).”
  • Pocketful of Poetry Flip Book“This year, I’m dedicating a week to poetry,” says Danielle Knight. “I have a group of students who are overwhelmed from state testing and finishing up a long novel study. So a fun poetry unit is a treat. My Pocketful of Poetry Flip Book (grades 6-12) is tailored for students who need some extra motivation. With all the snow days this year, we’ve lost a lot of really good instructional time. This flip book is a good way to incorporate a poetry unit when you’re working with limited time.”
  • Robert Frost Rearranged: A Fun Poetry Writing Activity For 'The Road Not Taken'“One poetry lesson my students always enjoy is Robert Frost Rearranged: A Fun Poetry Writing Activity For ‘The Road Not Taken’ (grades 8-12),” says Presto Plans. “After analyzing one of his most famous poems ‘The Road Not Taken’, students take all of the individual words from Frost’s poem and rearrange them (or some of them) to create a whole new poem! I am always amazed with the variety of poems that my students create.”

For More Petite Poets

  • My A to Z Poetry NotebookKaren Jones says, “I think the key to getting students motivated about poetry is interaction — kids love working with the poem to complete different activities in their poetry notebooks. They search for letters, sight words, and word patterns… and they love using fun pointers or finger lights to read their poems like little teachers during buddy reading time. My A to Z Poetry Notebook (grades PreK-1) contains 26 poems and tasks that each focus on a letter of the alphabet. I’ve blogged about it here.
  • Playful Poetry {a poetry mini-unit}Amanda Richardson says, “Since rhyming is a big part of what we do early on, it’s fun to see the kids use that as we write poetry! We touch on alliteration, sensory details, and rhyming couplets when we cover poetry. We love to use Playful Poetry {a poetry mini-unit} (grades K-1)!”
  • Poetry is Magic: Posters, Organizers, and Mentor PoemsCatherine Reed – The Brown Bag Teacher says, “Last year, I introduced poetry as magic with my Poetry is Magic: Posters, Organizers, and Mentor Poems (grades K-2) pack. Poetry in 1st grade is all about exploring the senses and crafting words in a meaningful way. We started with describing tangible objects (the smell of a candle, the touch of a blanket) and moved to the more abstract. Here’s a blog post about ideas for hands-on poetry lessons and mentor poems!”
  • Vowels: Short Vowels and Long Vowels Phonics PoetryLorrie L Birchall says, “As a reading intervention teacher, I’98ve always felt that short poetry is the very best way to engage kids and have fun teaching targeted skills. Poetry has it all: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.” Check out this fabulous freebie: Vowels: Short Vowels and Long Vowels Phonics Poetry (grades 1-3).
  • Poetry Party! A Poetry Unit for Kids!“We have a Poetry Party in my classroom!” says Miss DeCarbo. “We use my Poetry Party! A Poetry Unit for Kids! (grades 1-4) resource to learn about different types of poems and write original poems in our poetry books. At the end of the unit, we share our poems with one another and with our families as a celebration!”
  • Poetry Possibilities for Spring“I’m passionate about poetry!” says Barbara Evans. “It pervades my practice every month of the year as I use poetry to teach, well, everything.  It’s predominant in my blog posts (more than 40) including an eight-part series about using poetry in the classroom that starts here.” Also, be sure to give her Poetry Possibilities for Spring resource (grades 1-5) a look.
  • Poetry Unit: Writer's Workshop Bundle!“Poetry month is my favorite ‘writing month’ of the year!” says Erin Lane. “I created a five-week poetry unit in which students are introduced and guided through 14 different styles of poetry. Each child gets to develop a poetry portfolio, and I’m always so amazed at the creativity that comes out of all of my students. It’s one of my top-selling products! Here it is: Poetry Unit: Writer’s Workshop Bundle! (grades 2-4).”
  • Structural Elements of Poetry "iPoet" Anchor Chart Set-Common Core Aligned“Our class puts on a poetry cafe!” says The Pinspired Teacher. “Each student chooses a favorite poem they’ve read or written  and recites it in front of an audience of peers and parents. We don berets, and we turn the lights down low so that our presenters are under a spotlight. We also learn about the structural elements of poetry using the my free iPod resource: Structural Elements of Poetry “iPoet” Anchor Chart Set-Common Core Aligned (grades 3-5).”
  • Poetry Unit for 4th - 6th Grade“Poetry is my absolute favorite thing to teach!” says Jennifer Maschari. “My number one best seller is my Poetry Unit for 4th – 6th Grade (grades 4-6), which I took years to develop. I find that poetry really appeals to our non-traditional writers, or students who struggle with writing. There is something so wonderful about that economy of language that allows them to blossom.”


Thank you, Elementary Lesson Plans, for crafting this positively terrific poem! We just had to share:

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