Lesson Plan: Poetry @ Ludicrous Speed or Poetry In Motion G9

Written By: Brian Geffre
Grade Level: Grade 9 - 12

Time Allotment

Seven Days


Most students need a jump‐start into poetry. This lesson is designed to get them excited about poetry, which is all around them. Here is the PDF Poetry_Out_Loud_Lesson Plan.

Subject Matter

  • Students listen to poetry every day when coming to school or going home, but most students do not consider the music they listen to as poetry. The class will listen to poetry, watch poetry performed, and create a multimedia performance of their own.
  • Students will also learn how to use the Critical Response Protocol (attached) to read and create meaning from the poem.
    1. The three guiding questions of the protocol are:
    2. What did you notice?
    3. What questions does it raise for you?
    4. What is the intention of the author?

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:
  • Scrutinize poetry performed for important phrases.
  • Notice sounds used in poems for effect.
  • Explain the use of sounds and concrete images in an original work.
  • Manipulate and combine sound and sight media to create an original interpretation of a poem.
  • Memorize a poem from a published poet.
  • Media Components - Video/Web

    1. Poetry Out Loud: Recitation and Performance - are exciting current trends in poetry. There has been a resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip‐hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class. http://www.poetryoutloud.org
    2. Bill Holm—Poetry of Life - Holm reads some of his poetry with beautiful Iceland landscapes as a backdrop, and also tells the story of the Arctic tern. Meet poet, essayist, musician, teacher, mentor and iconoclast Bill Holm – a Minnesota native who escaped to his small cottage in Iceland every year to create and contemplate. http://www.ndstudies.org/media/bill_holm_through_the_window_of_brimnes_the_poetry_of_life_in_iceland
    3. Keith Bear—Morning Star Whispered - In this segment, renowned Mandan and Hidatsa storyteller and flute player Keith Bear from Drags Wolf Village on the Fort Berthold Reservation in northwestern North Dakota sings the song Morning Star Whispered. The song accompanies the traditional story Turtle and Pretty Crane, which Keith describes as an American Indian Romeo and Juliet. The song and story are included in greater detail on the North Dakota Council on the Arts‐produced CD Morning Star Whispered. http://www.ndstudies.org/media/prairie_artists_keith_bear_morning_star_whispered
    4. Debra Marquart ‐ It’s All Earth and Sky - Frugality and Ties to the Old World Debra Marquart illustrates frugality by reading a poem from her book, Everything's a Verb, about the burning of an oil lamp. Also discussed are marriages of the second generation and correspondence with relatives in Russia. http://www.ndstudies.org/media/its_all_earth_and_sky_frugality_and_ties_to_the_old_world


  • Digital cameras (old cell phones with cameras will work). Many students these days have cameras that will work.
  • Computer with a movie maker software program. Mac computers with iMovie software will work.
  • A poem that the student has a connection with. This is very important that they pick the poem. Poetry Out Loud is a national competition sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The web page, which has many hundreds of poems that range from the classical to the more contemporary, is searchable by topic, time period, or title. Avoid songs for this project. That way the students see how even 200‐year‐old words can still touch and move them.
  • STUDENT MATERIALS: Camera, Poem, Imagination

    Teacher Preparation

    1. Watch the videos. Look at how the words, pictures, and music background all work together. Watch for how transitions make the video better (or not).
    2. Select which video(s)s to show.
    3. Ask parents to donate old camera phones for the project.
    4. Have students bring cameras (get permission from administration for students to use phones in school for the week).
    5. Review poems on Poetry Out Loud website. Most are perfectly acceptable for any situation.
    6. Review the Critical Response Protocol.

    Introductory Activities

      Day One Materials ‐ Poem of choice, Web and TV or projector
    1. Teacher performs a favorite poem.
    2. Lead the students through the Critical Response Protocol (attached) to discuss the poem.
    3. Teacher performs poem again.
    4. Show video clip Keith Bear—Morning Star Whispered http://www.ndstudies.org/media/prairie_artists_keith_bear_morning_star_whispered
    5. Lead the students through the Critical Response Protocol to discuss Keith Bear’s performance on the clip.
    6. Compare the two performances. Help the students come to the conclusion that a video can help a poem come alive.
    7. Introduce that the students will be making a video of their poem of choice. Students may memorize their poem and perform it for the class as an optional activity.
    8. Direct the students to choose a poem from the Poetry Out Loud website. This may be a homework assignment.

    Learning Activities

    Day Two Materials ‐ Storyboard paper
    1. Show the selected video(s) again. Storyboard one of the videos with the students. This will demonstrate how easy, yet detailed, a storyboard should be. Make sure to put every scene including the script on the storyboard. Demonstrate how the storyboard will look.
    2. Instruct the students to create a storyboard of a three minute poetic interpretation on the poem they selected from the Poetry Out Loud website. This poetry video may be called a ‘PV’ to make it more ‘cool sounding’.
    3. Students will complete the storyboard as a homework assignment.
    4. Filming may begin after the storyboard has been approved by the teacher.

    Day Three Materials ‐ Cameras
    1. Students will use the digital cameras to record the shots as shown by the storyboard they developed. They can take the pictures out of sequence because the storyboard will tell them what shot goes where. This will require some level of comfort with student freedom to roam. This will not be the next James Bond movie or a Beyoncé video. Tell the students to do their best and make it work.
    2. The students will need to record the poem for sound.

    Days Four and Five Materials ‐ Computer Lab
    1. Load the pictures into a folder on the computer.
    2. Use the storyboard and the movie making software to create the film. This may take two days.
    3. Students submit the final product for teacher’s approval.

    Culminating Activity

    Days Six and Seven Materials – Projector, Popcorn and drink, List of videos for ‘best of class’ voting.
    1. Show the videos
    2. Have students rank videos of the day
    3. Use the Critical Response Protocol (attached) to review the best video(s)

    Community Connections

  • Videos can be entered into video competitions.
  • Memorized poems can be performed for families, fine arts days or school boards.
  • The video could be shown in libraries and media centers for the whole school to review.
  • Poems can also be used for entry in the Poetry Out Loud competition if memorized (other rules apply, see www.poetryoutloud.org for more information or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))