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English Lesson Plan for Special Needs Students: 6 Holiday Poetry Activities

written by: Barbara • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 10/31/2012

Creating holiday poetry activities can give students with special needs a sense of real power and beauty with words that can be shaped into poems that are as unique as your student poets. Poetry is inspirational and can be used to enhance reading, writing, and observation skills for learners.

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    What's In a Poetry Lesson?

    Depending on the grade and academic skill level in your classroom or the modification needed for the lesson, a poetry lesson plan can become a ten-minute "write a short poem using the following ten words" or a "series of lessons on the construction of a poem using technical terminology." As the teacher, you can decide what is needed in the classroom and at what level you will take students to understand and unlock the mystery of using words to construct meaning in their lives and in their global world in a poem.

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    Holiday Poetry Ideas

    Poetry Themes:

    • Give students a whiteboard with a marker or a piece of paper or even have them use their journals to come up with a classroom holiday theme for the poetry lesson. Ask your students to make a list of the holidays that they celebrate. Examples could include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or I don't celebrate the season.
    • If students don't celebrate a special holiday, then have them brainstorm, individually first and then in small groups, what kinds of special family activities they engage in during the school break. Families share a lot of rituals and many examples could include going to the mall holiday shopping; sharing a special meal; going to a special place year after year; or even taking a holiday trip.

    Poetry Words and Format:

    • Students may need inspiration in the form of words to get started on writing the first poetry line. Teachers can have students brainstorm a list of holiday words that could be included in a poem and write them on the board or overhead. Students can also choose their own words for their poem.
    • Teachers can provide a format that includes the title of the poem and challenge students to create stanzas in the poem from two stanzas or chunks of themes, to four. Poetry can take the form of rhyming using the ABAB or AABB with words rhyming according to stanza lines.
    • Providing students with an actual holiday poem could be very inspirational in getting them started quickly on the task at hand. Having a time limit and quiet learning environment for inspired creative thinking will enable students to connect with their senses and tap into their world of observation and interests. Students can discover the power and beauty of words in poetical form.

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    Holiday Poem Sample

    Getting Ready for the Holidays

    It's the holiday season so bold and bright,

    A season to celebrate so full of light,

    A time to gather with those you love,

    Family, friends and Auntie Dove.

    Holiday means no more school,

    Sleeping in and being cool,

    Getting presents and having fun,

    The holiday has just begun.

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    Analysis and Reflection

    It is important to discuss the poems and share.

    • Using the above poem as an example, you can have students take out their journals and answer the questions: "What is the stanza rhyming format of your poem?" In the example above, the rhyming pattern is AABB.
    • Ask students "What is the tone of your poem?" In the above poem, the tone is anticipation and joyful.
    • Provide a series of questions that will allow students to probe deeper into their poems and create reflection in their journals.
    • Have students read and share their poems with the class or in small groupings of 2-3 students.

    Poems can be powerful tools to unlock student emotions and creativity. When students are allowed a venue to write down their thoughts and feelings about the holiday, it can be a catharsis. Be careful that the catharsis of thinking about the holidays doesn't bring up sad feelings. Encourage students to create a holiday wish poem if they start to feel sad or depressed about the holidays. Keep the lesson upbeat and positive and encourage your students to just have fun.