Teaching Poetry: 5 Fun Poetry Activities to Try with Your Students

Fun Poetry Activities Teaching Poetry

If you’ve ever heard your students groan when you mention your upcoming poetry unit, congratulations, you are an ELA teacher! It’s no secret that many students don’t enjoy poetry. However, so many students don’t understand that learning about poetry and reading and writing poetry can be fun and engaging.

I’m here to share with you not only how to teach poetry, but fun poetry activities to include in your classroom as well! If you are looking for fun poetry activities and engaging poetry lessons to include in your classroom, read on!

Teaching Poetry: What is Poetry?

At its core, poetry is a form of literary expression characterized by heightened language, rhythm, and imagery. It is a medium through which poets explore the complexities of human experience into purposefully crafted verse, offering insights, emotions, and perspectives that resonate deeply with readers. Poetry encompasses a wide range of forms, including sonnets, haikus, ballads, free verse, and spoken word, each with its own unique structure, style, and purpose.

And because poetry is so emotional and so personal, there are a ton of ways to incorporate fun poetry activities into your instruction!

Teaching Poetry: Strategies for Success

  1. Start with Exploration: Introduce students to a diverse selection of poems from different time periods, cultures, and perspectives. Encourage exploration and discussion, allowing students to discover poems that resonate with them personally. Provide opportunities for students to engage with poetry through reading, listening, and analysis.
  2. Focus on Close Reading: Teach students how to conduct close readings of poems, guiding them in analyzing elements such as imagery, symbolism, figurative language, and tone. Encourage students to annotate poems, noting their observations and interpretations as they read. Use guiding questions to prompt deeper analysis and discussion.
  3. Emphasize Personal Response: Encourage students to connect with poems on a personal level by exploring their emotional reactions, interpretations, and reflections. Create a supportive environment where students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and responses to poetry. Validate diverse perspectives and encourage respectful dialogue.
  4. Explore Poetic Devices: Introduce students to common poetic devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Teach students how these devices enhance meaning, create imagery, and contribute to the overall impact of a poem. Provide examples and opportunities for students to identify and analyze poetic devices in poems they read.
  5. Encourage Creative Expression: Foster students’ creativity and self-expression through writing their own poetry. Offer a variety of writing prompts, forms, and styles to inspire students to experiment with language, imagery, and structure. Provide opportunities for peer feedback, revision, and sharing of original poems.
  6. Incorporate Multimedia Resources: Supplement poetry lessons with multimedia resources such as audio recordings, videos, and visual art inspired by poems. Explore how different mediums can enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of poetry. Use technology to connect students with contemporary poets, performances, and online poetry communities.
  7. Celebrate Poetry: Create opportunities to celebrate poetry in your classroom and school community. Host poetry readings, open mic nights, or poetry slams where students can share their own poems or favorite works by established poets. Showcase student poetry through displays, publications, or online platforms to honor their creative achievements.
  8. Make Cross-Curricular Connections: Integrate poetry into other subject areas such as history, science, or social studies to explore interdisciplinary themes and connections. Use poetry to deepen students’ understanding of historical events, scientific concepts, or cultural traditions. Encourage students to create ekphrastic poems inspired by works of art or historical artifacts.

Fun Poetry Activities:

Whether you include all of them or just some, you and your students will love these fun poetry activities.

  1. Blackout Poetry: Introduce students to the art of blackout poetry, where they select words or phrases from a text to create a poem by “blacking out” the remaining text with markers or paint. This hands-on activity encourages creativity, critical thinking, and visual literacy as students explore the intersection of language and art. If you are ready to start with blackout poetry, check out this resource: Blackout Poetry Teaching Unit.
  2. Epistolary Poetry: Explore the genre of epistolary poetry, where poems are written in the form of letters or diary entries. Invite students to imagine themselves as characters in historical or fictional contexts, writing poems that capture their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. This activity encourages empathy, perspective-taking, and narrative storytelling through poetry. For more on epistolary poetry, check out this blog post: Teaching Poetry: The Epistolary Poem.
  3. Poetry Mini Flip Book: Create a poetry mini flip book with your students as you analyze the complexities of a chosen poem. This poetry analysis mini flip book offers seven different tabbed pages for students to complete as they explore the beauties of the written word. You and your students will love this flip book as a whole-class instructional or fun review activity!
  4. Poetry Slam: Organize a poetry slam event where students can perform their own original poems or recite favorite poems by established poets. Encourage a supportive and enthusiastic audience atmosphere, celebrating each student’s unique voice and expression.
  5. Poetry Podcasts: Launch a classroom poetry podcast where students can share and discuss their favorite poems, analyze poetic techniques, and explore thematic connections. Encourage students to research poets, interview guest speakers, and produce their own audio segments. This multimedia project fosters collaboration, creativity, and digital literacy skills.

When teaching poetry, it is helpful to include these fun poetry activities into your classroom to engage students and help them develop a love of poetry.



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