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Inspire Poetry Writing with Nature Photos

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 2/14/2012

Teaching students poetry is easy. Motivating them to write poetry is another story. Start with digital photos from nature and focus on syllable count and rhythm to introduce a poetry unit.

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    Nature & Rhythm Poetry Lesson

    Poetry is important. Take time to study the great writers and give students time to pen their own. A wonderful muse to motivate students is nature.

    Share Classic Poetry with Students

    To introduce this lesson, share great published nature poems. There are, of course, the classic writers: Walt Whitman, Earth, My Likeness: Nature Poetry of Walt Whitman [Heron Dance Art Studio, 2006] or Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Walking [Beacon Press, 1994]. In addition, the Japanese Haiku poetry is a type of poem that focuses on nature and beauty.

    Whatever you choose find model poetry that you would like your students to emulate. The poems do not even need to be classics. There is quite a bit of contemporary poetry available on the Internet as well. And, there are many poems in Public Domain that can be accessed on the Internet as well.

    Teach the Basics of Rhythm

    Rhythm comes from syllables in words and the accents on those syllables. It is all about stressed and stressed syllables. For a more detailed description, check out this resource on meter in poetry and verse.

    For the beginner, the Haiku is a lovely little poem that relies on syllable count:

    • Line one: five syllables
    • Line two: seven syllables
    • Line three: five syllables

    Focus on Digital Photos of Nature

    Once students have a basic understanding of syllable count and rhythm, ask them to take or to find photos of nature.Students may use the photos included with this lesson. Or, better yet, they can take their own.It is important to give credit to the photographer if students choose to use images that are not their own.

    Digital Nature Photo Inspired Poetry

    Once students have selected a digital photo, they need to place the image on the top of a Microsoft Word document.Students can write their rough draft on the printed page. The printed page will have the image at the top, and it will be blank on the bottom.

    Assign students to write a Haiku.Or, they can try to emulate the style of a classic poem that was selected at the beginning of the unit.

    Final Copies of Poetry with Poem

    Once students have written a rough draft of a poem, they can type the poem on the Microsoft Word file that was saved with the image.Students can print off their poems and post them in the classroom.

    Note: The photos included in this lesson were taken by Kellie Hayden.

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    Nature Photos

    Flower and BugDeer in YardWasp and nestMushroom and GrassFlowers

References

  • Teacher experience.

Poetry Projects

Try these poetry projects to help students learn basic poetry techniques and to write poetry.
  1. Holiday Poetry Lesson: Make a Poem Booklet of Family Memories
  2. Inspire Poetry Writing with Nature Photos
  3. Identifying & Writing Similes for Middle School Students