Lesson Plans, Poetry Prompts & Assignment Sheets for Teachers

  • Slam Poem Mad Lib

    Using the always-entertaining format of the Mad Lib, in which you fill in blanks that will later be used in ways you weren’t expecting, students create an Identity poem. For example, an object from your childhood like a “cracked snow globe” becomes—after the reveal—the year in which you were born (“I was born in the year of the cracked snow globe.”) A big hit with students not used to thinking figuratively, you must be able to make double-sided copies for this assignment sheet to work properly.

  • Write a Poem Like Ted Kooser’s “Abandoned Farmhouse”

    This assignment asks students to investigate their own bedrooms as though looking for clues to who lives there. It’s great for focusing on objects and what those objects might “say.”

  • Rhyme Time

    A two-page assignment sheet with a simple trick for writing better rhyming poems, which is what students often want to do when they hear that the topic for the day is poetry. Instead of fighting it, use this to make the results dramatically better!

  • Once Upon a Time I Turned Out to Have Been a Flower All Along

    A short assignment sheet that asks students to read two short poems and then write one like it.

  • Thing, Direction, and Discovery

    Based on a poem by Jeffrey Yang that was posted in the New York City subway system, this assignment asks students to follow a very simple but evocative formula.

  • Listening to Poems While Reading Along

    How to prepare students for listening to a poem while they read along by themselves (questions to keep, things to notice, etc.).

  • The “I Remember” Poem

    Based on the book-length poem by Joe Brainard, this is a good assignment for homework. Every line begins with the words “I remember . . .”