Teaching poetry in middle school can be a truly enjoyable experience. Whether your students love poetry or want nothing to do with it – this blog post is for you! In this post, you’ll see how you can inspire your students to love poetry. I’ll also share some activities and resources to make it exciting to teach poetry for middle school students.
What is the importance of teaching poetry?
Reading poetry is a great way to promote creative thinking in your classroom. Since poetry is so subjective, students have the opportunity to think outside the box. Poetry can also be highly beneficial to reluctant readers and writers because the shorter form of writing can be more accessible to them. It also allows students to see language in a new way.
Teaching poetry is also an enriching activity for English Language Learners. The meter of poetry helps language learners to become familiarized with the rhythm and sound of language. Reciting poetry out loud can also help with fluency.
How do you teach poetry in middle school?
You can start your middle school poetry unit by introducing the structural elements of poetry. These include key concepts like meter, rhythm, and verse. I like to use a vocabulary anchor chart to familiarize students with this essential terminology. Exploring the elements of poetry will help them to have the vocabulary to further analyze a poem.
You can also introduce poetry in middle school by asking students how a poem is different from other styles of writing, like a persuasive paragraph or an assembly manual. This inquiry-based approach will prompt students to consider the form and purpose of poetry. You can record their answers on the board or use this poetry slideshow lesson to differentiate between a poem and other forms of writing.
What are the easiest poems to teach poetry?
If your students have little experience with reading poetry, then you might be looking to start with the basics. Choosing accessible poems is a great way to introduce poetry without overwhelming your students. You can use easy poems as a formative assessment of your students’ level of comfort with poetry.
This collection of easy poems for middle school includes classics from Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, and Langston Hughes. If you are looking for poems based on a theme, this list includes 72 poems for middle school. You might also wish to explore some poems that might be familiar or relevant to students’ lives; “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupac Shakur or “Recitative” by A.E. Stallings are two great options.
How do you teach poetry analysis in middle school?
Before diving into poetry analysis, you might find it helpful to explicitly teach paraphrasing to your students. This is because poetry is very subjective. Before students explore figurative language or poetic devices, they will need to be able to translate poems into language that makes sense to them.
Since poetry is subjective, students need to feel confident in their ability to analyze it and make inferences. A great way to foster confidence is to start within their comfort zone. Music lyrics are a great opportunity for this. Students already have a lot to say about their favorite artists and songs; because of the cultural relevance of the music they enjoy, they often feel confident analyzing lyrics and searching for poetic devices in songs. Song lyrics are therefore a great way to hook your students with analyzing poetry and scaffold this skill.
Making poetry fun in middle school
Your students will probably have the most fun writing their own poetry. If they are reluctant, you could start off with a few icebreakers or creative writing prompts to help them feel more expressive in your classroom.
Haiku poems are fantastic for middle schoolers. This is because the structure of a haiku is easy to replicate. In order to write a haiku, students will need to understand meter. Learning about meter is a great way to incorporate teachings on the sound and rhythm of the English language. This haiku writing workshop guides students through the history of haiku along with several examples to demonstrate this form. Students will then write their own series of haiku using the haiku templates provided.
Your students might enjoy replicating the styles of free verse poetry popularized on Instagram. If so, you can lead a free verse poetry workshop with them. This workshop includes a slideshow lesson on free verse poetry with examples from popular culture. It also prompts students to write their own free verse poems with the guidance of assignment instructions and a rubric. Students can choose between different styles of free verse poetry, including blackout poems, illustrative poems, and collage poems.
Poetry for middle school students: tying it all together
There are so many ways to make poetry fun and engaging for middle school students. I hope this blog post has helped you with a few lesson plans and activities to teach poetry in middle school. Your middle schoolers will benefit from the creative thinking and expressive writing that poetry has to offer!