What Are the Elements of Poetry?
Students identify the elements and vocabulary of poetry, and learn to recognize and apply poetry-writing strategies.
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Students will develop an overall appreciation for the genre of poetry, as well as develop active reading, listening and critical thinking skills through the understanding that all literature can be explained, interpreted, and delivered differently.
- Demonstrate an understanding of standard-specific poetry elements and vocabulary.
- Demonstrate an understanding of standard-specific writing strategies and apply them to poetry writing.
- Demonstrate an understanding of standard-specific speaking strategies and apply to oral poetry presentations.
- Demonstrate an ability to respond, analyze and think critically about poetry.
You will need the following printables from Paul B. Janeczko's book Opening a Door: Reading Poetry in the Middle School Classroom.
- Gary Soto's "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" (PDF) - Make overhead transparency
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Exploration (PDF)
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Reproducible (PDF) - Make an overhead transparency
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Response Sheet (PDF) - Make an overhead transparency
- Students: Notebook to keep important "Elements of Poetry" vocabulary
Set Up and Prepare
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes," duplicated for all students
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Reproducible, duplicated for all students.
- A transparency of each for the teacher.
- Require notebook for each student or create one.
Step 1: Before reading the poem, ask students to list a few common things for which they are grateful. Have them pick one of their "common things" and explain why it's important to them. (Example: tooth paste, pencils)
Step 3: Display the Response Sheet 1 transparency on the overhead and ask to students to answer the questions in their notebook.
Step 4: Now, review the poetic terms from the same transparency and have students write the terms and definitions in their notebooks.
Step 5: Explore the poem with the class by focusing on:
- Form: an "Ode" celebrates a subject
- Mood: how the poem makes you feel
- Figurative Language: similes and metaphors
Step 6: Now, using Reproducible 1, have students reread the poem. They will now write what they learned about Pablo in the left column and write down evidence from the poem that supports their statements in the right column.
What part of this lesson was most interesting to the students? Are most of them engaged in the lesson? Are students looking at their tennis shoes in a new way? Should I change anything in the way I do this lesson?
The completeness of the notebook answers to Response Sheet 1 and listed poetic terms and definitions will be reviewed. Teacher observation of student participation will also be noted.