Teachers’ Easy Guide on How to Teach Poems

Having a guide to walk you through the start of anything in life is helpful.  New things are hard and scary.  Did you know that most adults rarely try new things?  We are too stuck in our habits.  If you’re just starting your poetry teaching journey I am glad you found me.  My goal is to help more teachers incorporate poetry into their writing blocks because I have seen fantastic writers emerge as they write poetry.

How to Write a Poetry for Beginners

When I first started teaching as an assistant in a fourth-grade classroom I thought it was crazy that the entire fourth grade was going to spend a good chunk of their school year writing poetry. The previous year I watch a librarian try to guide these same students through a basic acrostic poem. The results of their work were unimpressive. (insert Mikayla Maroney’s Unimpressed face here if we can legally and such.)

I was so wrong.  These teachers had made an art of how to teach poems to their students.  Since I spent 4 years working with these teachers I had many guides to help me learn how to teach poetry to students.  Their mentorship gave me an understanding of how to teach poetry to elementary students and allowed me to do so in several other schools and grades.

Introducing Your Students to Poetry Writing for Beginners

Your students can write incredible poetry and learn other writing skills along the way.  This guide will help you with poetry writing for beginners whether the beginners are teachers or students.

How to Teach Poetry to Your Students in 3 Easy Steps

The best part about teaching poetry is that there are very few rules to writing poetry and not really a wrong way to do it.  Poetry is where we get to break writing rules.  Poems are about feelings and thoughts that are expressed creatively.  Poetry also helps us think more deeply about small moments in our lives.

As I write poetry lessons I try to make them fun and different from the usual writing assignment.  However, I also think about writing skills students need to learn and incorporate them into my lessons so students can practice while writing poetry.

More Poetry Lesson Ideas

There are so many awesome poetry lesson ideas out there. Here are a few other places that you can do some reading for inspiration as you get ready to teach poetry.  Some of these ideas talk about ways you can read poetry or analyze poetry.

Strategies For Teaching Poetry

Fresh Ideas For Teaching Poetry


3 Easy Steps on How to Teach Poetry

I promised easy and here it is in 3 easy steps.  Keep your poetry lessons fun and funny.  Poetry can make your students laugh as they write and share their poems.  Use the writing process so that students learn how all the steps work together.  Add a little complexity to your lesson by requiring one other writing skill you want your students to learn.

  1. Fun Poetry Ideas to Keep Your Students Engaged

Writing poetry can be a lot of fun and it should be.  When you are first teaching poetry to your students make sure that you pick some forms of poetry that you think will be fun and silly.  There are so many types of poetry that you can choose from for your students.   Choosing silly poems will help get your students to buy in and stay engaged in the lesson. Some of the funniest poems are limericks and rhyming poems.

  1. Teaching Writing Process Through Poetry

Poetry doesn’t have a lot of rules, which is awesome because it gives everyone a break from the usual corrections, but it should follow the writing process.  Do you find ever find that even though you have posters on the walls that explain the writing process kids don’t understand it?  Do you ever find that even though you explain the steps to the writing process in every writing project that students never remember it?  

I believe that students have so much trouble learning the writing process because it is so drawn out in school.  I understand that it needs to be drawn out when you are writing paragraphs and essays.  You are trying to keep a whole class of students on the same step of the process and walk them through each step carefully.  You are trying to get them to finish an assignment.  

However, I also find that this stops students from grasping all the steps of the writing process.  Did you ever notice that poems are short?  They are short to brainstorm, short to write, short to revise, short to edit, short to publish, and short to grade.  The beauty of this short writing project is that students can see the whole writing process work together, from start to finish, in a day or two.  They can really start to understand it.  

Do you want to hear more about how to use the writing process in poetry?  Here are a couple of articles for you.

Teaching the Writing Process with Poetry

5 Incredible Benefits of Teaching Poetry and Writing

  1. Teaching Writing Skills Through Poetry

Do your students ever write boring sentences?  That’s a joke, I know they do.  So many boring and drab sentences that you have to read and grade in an essay or paragraph even after you begged students to add sensory and descriptive details.  Grading writing is a form of torture sometimes.  There have been days when I have put essays that I know are going to lack interesting details on the bottom of the pile because I just can’t grade them yet.

One of the benefits of having your students learn how to write poetry is you can focus on writing skills in a piece that is short.  When I ask my students to write a haiku poem they are forced to use descriptive or sensory details.  Haikus are traditionally about nature.  They are three lines and have a syllable pattern of 5-7-5.  When students write about say winter trees they tap into the colors and details of winter.  For some reason, they are willing to add details to their writing because it is short.  

I often also give my students specifics for punctuation and capitalization when they write a poem.  Now in poetry, the poet really gets to decide about punctuation and capitalization.  There isn’t a wrong way to use these writing skills in poetry, but I want my students to learn to pay attention and use them in their writing.  Again, in a short assignment, students use punctuation and capitalization better.  We talk about how to use them to create pause or excitement.

Those are just a couple of the writing skills I ask my students to use in their writing depending on the poem.  The real magic is when students start to add these writing skills into their paragraphs and essays.

How Do You Write a Poetry Lesson?

I hope that these three tips will help you get started on writing your poetry lessons.  Remember to make the lessons fun, follow the writing process, and sneak in a few other writing skills (like I sneak vegetables into my toddler’s dinner).  If you’re still feeling overwhelmed then you can opt-in here to get a free poetry lesson that will start you off.

How to Write a Poetry for Beginners

Teaching students and teachers how to write poetry is one of my favorite things to teach.  I have so many ideas and blogs about what and how you can do it.  Here are a few links to get you started.

Poetry For Upper Elementary and Middle School

​​Seven Types of Poetry to Teach

Your Free Poetry Lesson is Waiting Here

When I am trying something new I like that new thing to be free, and I bet you feel the same.  Here is your free poetry writing lesson that will get your students to write about your school.  There are four awesome ways you can use this lesson, so get started now.

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