Summer means many different things to different students. Inform the class they may write about any aspect of summer as long as it is appropriate for school. Poem or song topics may include ideas as varied as summer love, jobs, friendships, outdoor activities, sports, travel, relocation to new area, family issues, teen issues, summer school, and a variety of other topics.
Bring in some sample poems about summer for the class to read and discuss. Talk about samples of imagery, hyperbole, rhythm, alliteration, and other literary techniques. Some summer song lyrics you may wish to use for analysis include: “Umbrella" by Rihanna,“Summer Time" by Fantasia, “School’s Out" by Alice Cooper, “Summer Time" by Beyonce, and “Summer in the City" by Lovin’ Spoonful.
Have the students sit in groups so they may discuss the poems and songs together. Working in groups will also make it easier for them to brainstorm ideas and peer edit the poems and songs.
Some poems about summer that are interesting for class analysis include "Sonnet 18" (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day) by Shakespeare,“Moonlight, Summer Moonlight" by Emily Bronte, “To See the Summer Sky" by Emily Dickinson,“Summer in the South" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, “The Summer Rain" by Henry David Thoreau, and “I Know I am but Summer to Your Heart" by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Ask students to look over copies of the poems and make a list of ten words they like in the poems. They may then later wish to use some of these words in the poem they create. Also tell the students to write down the theme for at least three of the poems or songs the class discussed.