Seven Types of Poetry to Teach


Concrete poetry is a lot of fun.  There are two rules: pick a topic and pick a related shape.  Students then write in that shape.  They could write “apple” repeatedly in an apple shape. 

Concrete poems help students see the importance of how a page is used.  Think about the spacing in a book.  Short sentences or long sentences.  Dialogue versus detailed paragraphs.  It’s poetry through shape and words.  It’s also fun.

This is one of the few forms of poetry that I love, but I haven’t created a lesson yet.  Keep an eye out in the coming months, depending on when you’re reading this it could already be out.

Free Verse 

Free verse poetry doesn’t have rules.  It’s writing what you want to write. It’s a great opportunity for students to use varied sentence length, see how rhythm changes their writing, or how to express themselves without a five paragraph essay. 

For the school setting, I create boundaries.  I will often give the topic and the format.  Maybe I want them to have stanzas or write about a particular subject.  These poems can be silly or serious, but mine tend to be serious.  Students enjoy the freedom these poems offer.

Here are a few of my favorites: I AM poem, Valentine’s Day Poetic Devices, and Bio Poem.


Rhyming poems are usually either short or have stanzas.  They have various rhyming patterns, depending on the subject and the challenge you want to give your students.  

Personally, I love rhyming.  I think helps our students think about words more.  It’s a challenge to say what they want while using a rhyme.  Students can practice making lists of rhyming words or looking them up.

One of the conversations we often have with rhyming poems is that words can sound the same, but have different spellings.  There are also rhymes that are close, but not perfect.  Poetic license lets us use these imperfect rhymes.  

By having my students work on rhyming poetry I am also having them work on spelling.  Seeing the patterns in words by working on rhyming helps with spelling.  So it’s a fun and different way to practice.

Here is one of my favorite rhyming poems to have my students write, Too Many Chores.


Here is a little history. It’s debated where these poems came from, but credit is usually given to the Irish. Edward Lear popularized this poetic form, but he called them Nonsenses. He was an English-born writer who did spend time in Dublin.

Limericks are a five-line poem. They follow the rhyming pattern AABBA.  Limericks have a recognizable meter.  The first two lines are longer, the third and fourth lines are shorter, and the fifth line is longer.  You may recognize the format; “There once was a boy from…”

My students love these poems because they get to be so silly while writing them.  When we share them, they are all cracking up.  If you need a fun and silly writing block these poems are where it’s at.  Check out this limerick lesson to get started.

Two-Word Poems

Two-word poems are when the poet creates a poem with two words on each line, usually describing someone.  It’s a simple poem, but also a challenge.

hese poems are great to get students thinking about who they are or someone else.  It helps students learn how to describe themselves, family or characters.  It teaches about using a variety of words. Alliteration is a great lesson to add in here because alliteration is just so good in these poems.

If you want to get started with this great poem check out this Who Am I? lesson.  I will also have lessons coming out for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

5 Sense Poem

Have you ever struggled to get your students to use sensory details in their writing?  I know I have.  One way I love teaching students how to use sensory detail is by having them write a poem that is completely focused on they notice with their senses.

This poem has five lines featuring, you guessed it, their five senses.  It’s awesome if you have it revolve around something like a field trip.  We always wrote it after our annual field trip to the tidepools, but really you can just make your students spend five minutes outside and write down details for each sense.

My 5 Sense Poem is a brand new lesson out this week.

Theme Poetry

Themed poems are so much fun because they take a lot of creativity and imagination.  Often my theme lessons also kind of fall under rhyming or free verse.  By theme, I really mean that you pick a fun topic for them to write about.  Maybe you have some format requirements but the theme is key here because it makes it fun. 

Some themes I have used:  Tidepools, Friendship, Chores, Talent Show, The School, Multiplications Rap, and Seasons.  It’s awesome to see how different every poem is even when it’s the same theme or idea behind it.  

My lessons for themed poetry is varied, so I don’t have a specific poem for you to try here.  Take a look at the poetry section of my TpT store and see what you see.

I really hope this helps you teach your students poetry.  It’s such a valuable form of writing that is often forgotten.

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