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Use Poetry Topics and Formats to Create Easy Poetry in the Classroom

written by: Kellie Hayden • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 9/11/2012

Poetry can be fun or it can be a drag. Teachers should make writing poetry fun and easy. Give students help by providing lists of topics, formats and poetry devices to help students write a poem for class.

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    Easy Poetry

    Just say the word "poetry" and an instant groan can be heard in many classrooms. Poetry is difficult for many students. However, the love/hate relationship usually depends on the student and his or her attitude towards poetry.

    Make poetry easy and fun by giving students choices to write a poem for class. The menu you provide for them can include a list of poetry topics, poetry formats and poetry devices.

    Write Easy Poetry Poem Topic Choices

    Students like having choices because they like to have some control. However, giving them an option to write any kind of poem usually makes them feel overwhelmed. If you tell students that they can choose anything as a topic, many will sit and look at a blank piece of paper for the whole class period.

    Start by giving them big ideas and subtopics. They can, of course, come up with something on their own, or they can choose from a list of poetry topics. Some examples for a list are as follows:

    Sports: baseball, football, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, basketball, dodgeball, archery, track, cross country, swimming, etc

    Hobbies: sewing, collecting, video games, model airplanes, crosswords, computers, scrapbooking, etc.

    Outdoor Activities: camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, rock climbing, waterskiing, snowskiing, etc.

    Food: chocolate, fast food, pizza, gourmet, desserts, steak, etc

    Seasons: fall, winter, spring, and summer

    Weather: snow, rain, sunshine, wind, storms, etc.

    Relationships: friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, etc.

    Music: rock, rap, country, pop, alternative, hard rock, easy listening, etc.

    Poetry Formats

    Students can choose from a wide variety of formats or types of poetry. The teacher will need to decide the length and complexity of the poem. Some choices are as follows:

    Shape Poetry: concrete poems, diamonte, acrostic, etc.

    Syllable Count Poetry: haiku, tanka, senru, limerick, etc.

    Stanza Size: couplets, tersest, quatrains, sestets, etc.

    Rhyme Pattern: ABABAB, ABCABC, AABBCC

    Literary Elements or Poetry Devices

    After students have chosen a topic and a format for the poem, they should select one or two poetry devices to use in the poem.

    Metaphors: a comparison of two unlikely things

    Similes: a comparison of two unlikely things using like or as

    Alliteration: repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words

    Consonance: repetition of consonants in any word in the lines of poetry

    Personification: where an object takes on human-like characteristics

    Onomatopoeia: words that make a sound, like beep, snap, chug

    Hyperbole: exaggeration

    Student Choices for Writing Easy Poetry

    Once students have chosen a topic, a format and a literary device or two, they can begin writing their poems. If students are unfamiliar with a structure or poetry device, you can do a mini-lesson on it. Most of the poetry formats and devices have links to lessons to help in creating easy poetry.

    Most students will be able to easily write a poem for class. Some might even like it. You can post your students' best poems in the comment section of this lesson.

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    Photo Reference

    • Photo by Kellie Hayden