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.
- Student notebooks to record important "Elements of Poetry" vocabulary
- Overhead projector and pens or interactive whiteboard or Smartboard and projector
Set Up and Prepare
- Make overhead transparencies or prepare the following PDFs for use on an interactive whiteboard or Smartboard:
- Gary Soto's "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes"
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Exploration
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Reproducible
- "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Response Sheet
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 2: Distribute the copies of "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" and "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Reproducible to all students. Have students read the poem silently and then in pairs or small groups. Pick at least two volunteers to read the poem to the entire class.
Step 3: Display the "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Response Sheet on the overhead or projector and ask to students to answer the questions in their notebook.
Step 4: Review the poetic terms from the same Response Sheet. Have students write the terms and definitions in their notebooks.
- ode: a poem that celebrates a subject
- mood: the atmosphere in a piece of writing
- figurative language: non-literal expressions to get across certain ideas or things more vividly
- metaphor: a comparison of dissimilar things that implies some sort of equality between the things
- simile: a comparison that uses "like" or "as"
Step 5: Explore the poem with the class by focusing on the ode form, the mood of the poem and how it makes you feel, and the figurative language (similies and metaphors) used in the poem.
Step 6: Have students reread the poem, this time with the "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Reproducible in mind.
Step 7: Have students 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.
The completeness of students' notebook answers to the "Ode to Pablo's Tennis Shoes" Response Sheet questions and listed poetic terms and definitions will be reviewed. Observation of student participation should also be noted.
- 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 you change anything in the way you present this lesson?