Lesson Plan: Poetry in the Clouds

Written By: Melinda Crimmins
Grade Level: Grades: 9-12

Time Allotment

One-three weeks


This Unit introduces students to a wide variety of styles and forms of poetry to read and write. Students will find, explore, and reflect on a poem that speaks to them in some way. They will present and record their favorite poem in a video project patterned after My Favorite Poem Project. Students will then write their own poems and hold a Poetry Slam, as a culminating project.

Downloadable Content
Lesson Plan
Web Sites
Wrire an Instant Life Lesson

Subject Matter

Language Arts, Technology

Learning Objectives

This lesson will introduce students to poetry by asking them to find a poem that speaks directly to them in some way. This kind of introduction should allow students time for exploration, response, and reflection. It will present the art as something worth reading and enjoying outside the classroom and as something valuable to share with others. Allowing students to explore poems independently and informally may help them appreciate more structured or formal poetry lessons. Through the process, the students may define for themselves what poetry is. The lesson will also strive to foster a respectful environment for student expression. The most important element is to encouraging students' personal connections to poetry, first through modeling favorite poem presentations and then by asking them to share ideas with each other.

Students will practice and become familiar with reciting & writing poetry in many forms, demonstrate knowledge of poetic devices by using them in their original poems, use computers and the Internet to learn about poetry, gain experience and confidence in group interactions and in their ability to write & recite poetry as well as interview and record others.

Media Components - Video/Web

Web Links attached in Lesson Plan found in Overview under Downloadable Content


  • Internet
  • Video Recording Device
  • Poetry Web site handout (attached pdf)

Introductory Activities

  1. Ask students how many kids like poetry? (There may be a few groans). Then ask how many like music (most all hands will raise). Go around and ask kids what types of music they like. Do their parents like music? What types of music do their parents like? It should be a general agreement that most people like music. However, music is a very broad term. Some may like to play, some listen to, some sing. The genre of music may be different; it may be country, classical, classic rock, modern rock, heavy metal, rap and so on. Just as “music” is a general term so is “poetry”. Explain to students that there are just as many time periods, and types and ways to enjoy poetry as there are ways to enjoy and appreciate music. They just need to find the type and way they can enjoy poetry.
  2. Hang signs in three corners of the room. The signs will read: "listening", "reading", and "doing". Then ask students to think about which one of these three words describe the way they learn and relate to the world. When they have decided, ask them to stand in the appropriate corner. Have students take note of where they are standing. Point out that this may say a lot about how they feel about poetry. Auditory learners, "Listeners", might enjoy poetry by reading it aloud, hearing the author or someone else read and interpret the poem, or listening to the lyrics of songs. Visual learners, "Readers", might enjoy poetry as a private experience or by reading it out loud to someone else. Kinesthetic learners, “Doers", might like to write and perform poems.
  3. Inform student that they will be participating in a poetry unit where they will be finding, reading and recording their favorite poem, writing their own original poetry and participating in a poetry slam.

Learning Activities

  1. First is a Wordle poem. Have students go to www.wordle.net and type in 3 adjectives that describes themselves, their name three times ,3 talents ,3 activities they love, three important people, 3 descriptive emotions. Then have students create their world “poem art” You could create a Group wordle using Poll anywhere and copy and pasting into Wordle as a demonstration. Later in the unit the teacher could use Poll anywhere and ask the class to send three positive adjectives to describe a student . Then see if the class can figure out whose worlde is describing who in class. (Teacher has access not to accept responses)
  2. Explain the concept of My Favorite Poem project. You can gather more information from the web site, My Favorite Poem Project.
  3. As a model for sharing favorite poems show some Favorite Poem videos to help inspiring the students' choice of poems.
  4. Discuss what the camera brings to the reading of a poem. (change in face, voice, gestures) The same way one can witness pleasure and intensity in the face and movement of a musician singing or playing a song, one can gain things by watching the reader of a poem.
  5. Inform the students that they will be recording themselves as well as one other community member reciting their favorite poem. Making videos of students saying poems aloud will emphasize the significance of poetry as a vocal art. The emphasis should not be on performance but on the experience of saying a poem one loves aloud. First, students will have to find a poem that means something to them. Distribute the poetry web page handout.
  6. Once students have found their favorite poem instruct student on the videos. The videos should include each student speaking briefly about a poem's personal significance and then reading the poem aloud on camera.
  7. Pair students, having one act as videographer while the other reads, then switch roles.
  8. As a homework assignment have student record one community member reading their favorite poem.
  9. When each student has two videos upload them to the school web page for a community poetry archive. Or create a Virtual Poster using glogster.edu ( or glogster.com)

Culminating Activity

  1. Cover poetry devices and forms: Direct students to http://www.poetrysoup.com/poetry_terms/ Use this page to start a discussion on the definition of a poem.
  2. Poetry writing (individual or group): have students to try their hands at a poem. Allow them to choose a theme such as love, pets, or friendship and challenge them to write at least three short poems on the same subject using three different forms. You might suggest an online rhyming dictionary as a tool such as rhymezone.com or rhyme.lycos.com. You may also direct students to the online poetry forms to create “instant” poems at http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/newpoem.htm
  3. Introduce the mechanics of a poetry slam: To learn more about poetry slam competition, students should visit the National Poetry Slam web site, http://www.poetryslam.com/
  4. The slam: A class session will be used for the poetry readings. Students will judge the poets numerically as Olympic ice skaters are judged. Students will be judged from "0" to "10". These numbers will be placed on cards for the five randomly chosen (student) judges to hold up. Another student will average these and keep an official score card. The teacher may decide on prizes for the winner.

Cross-Curricular Activity

The same way that the Favorite Poem Project videos create a portrait of the United States through the lens of poetry, videos in schools can make a lasting portrait of a particular class. If teachers choose to make the videos a yearly assignment, the school will eventually have a large, valuable archive, which could be made available to all students for viewing on the web or a cd.

History: activities could connect to poems to specific time periods.
Technology or Publishing: use flipsnack for favorite poems
Drama: A student reads a poem several times while other students silently dramatize the action of the poem.
Music: Students could find a song that represents the overall meaning of their favorite poem and create a video.
Art: Wordle poems and/or the Glogster virtual posters

Community Connections

Community film project of My Favorite

Students could hold their "poetry slam" class meeting in a local restaurant or coffee shop.

Students could attend/participate in an actual poetry slam. (Check the links above to find poetry slams in your area.)

Local Poet Laureates or other writers could be invited to speak, or even to listen and comment on the students' poetry.