How to Teach Poetry Using a Poetry Gallery

How to Teach Poetry Using a Poetry Gallery
Page content

The idea of putting poems in a gallery comes from the broadsides, which were posters put up around town that dispensed information

for free. Broadsides of art, poetry and literature are now found on subway cars, city streets and along highways.

On a wall that all the students can see, create a gallery of poems and literary terms that are used in poetry. Students are allowed to examine the gallery as well as add to it.

To begin:

  1. Select three types of poems such as a limerick, haiku or shape poem. They can be changed once students show proficiency in them.
  2. Consider hanging the poems in an outside courtyard or other outdoor location, adding to the overall gallery experience.
  3. Place the poems far enough apart so there is not a cluster of students at one location.
  4. Make sure to select poems highlighting the literary elements students recently studied. For instance, if the students have studied metaphor, display haiku poems.
  5. Look for poems appealing to student interests.
  6. Transfer these poems onto large pieces of poster board. These are your broadsides.
  7. Use sizes like you’d see in a museum. Increasing the size allows students to easily read the poem and gives the gallery a more realistic feel. Laminate these poems so they can be used in future years.

Provide students with instructions for completing a gallery walk. Here are a few suggestions for hosting a successful gallery walk:

  • Remind students that art galleries are quiet locations with whispering only.
  • Give students one worksheet so they can easily keep track of the materials.
  • Consider hanging the poems in an outside courtyard or other outdoor location, adding to the overall gallery experience.
  • Encourage students to walk and read all of the poems before selecting a poem for the TP-CASTT analysis. Download a TP-CASTT template from this link.

Review Poetry Analysis using TP-CASTT

Prior to creating the gallery, review with students the TP-CASTT analysis. TP-CASTT uses a rubric to breakdown the elements of a poem. This form of analysis looks at -

  • Title - what might the poem be about based on the title?
  • Paraphase - after reading the poem try to put it in your own words.
  • Connotation - what poetic devices are used and what is their effect on the poem?
  • Attitude - what is the tone of the poem?
  • Shifts - where does the poem change direction?
  • Title - look again at the title now that the poem has been read; are there new insights?
  • Theme - what is/are the themes of the poem?

Select a poem to read in class and complete the analysis together, demonstrating how to analyze a poem. Tell students they will select one poem from the gallery and complete a TP-CASTT analysis as part of the assignment. Have them share their analysis.

Review Literary Elements

Literary elements are studied throughout the year, and students should be familiar with most. Select three or four literary elements commonly found in poetry for example alliteration, rhyme and assonance. Create a worksheet with the literary elements and an example of each. Review the examples to make sure students understand the literary elements. Instruct students to find examples of the selected literary elements in the gallery poems.

Students’ Broadsides

At the end of the unit, have each student create his own broadside of his favorite original poem. Allow them to add artwork to enhance their text. Laminate the finished products and hang them for a gallery walk to which parents and friends are invited. With broadside, how you teach poetry becomes a walk in the gallery.