Poetry Forms Lesson Plan Ideas 

As the creator of the ETTC of Burlington Instant Poetry Forms pages, let me share some of the ways teachers report back they are actually using them in their classrooms.  (Which, by the way, is a cordial invitation to all of YOU to do the same.  Email your feedback on the poetry forms or send me an idea for another poetry form to acumming@bcc.edu.  We’d love to hear from you).


Alysa Cummings J 

à         Teacher Driven Mini-Lesson on Style & Craft

Teach the power of multi-sensory detail or practice developing poetic metaphor with your students. For example, multi-sensory detail is a focus of the following forms:  Holiday, Color My World, If Hope Could Be….  But if metaphor is on your instructional agenda, consider the following forms; Me & My Shadow, Lament, Some of My Best Friends are Metaphors.

 à         High tech alternative to journal writing

If regular writing to build fluency is a goal for you and your students, consider a day off from pen and paper journal writing and replace it with a fill in the blanks instant poem.  Encourage your students to either print out their work or export it into a word processing program for additional revising and editing.  Or even to add clip art or a digital image to enhance their words.

à         Exporting Practice: from Internet to Word Processor

Elementary computer teachers tell us that Instant Poetry Forms provide a fun and easy way to teach students the export path from the Internet to a word processor (Edit-Select All-Edit-Copy-Edit-Paste).  Students certainly enjoy changing their font style and color as well as adding borders and backgrounds to put the finishing touches on their literacy creations.

à         Prep for high stakes testing

With so many high stakes tests now using poetry as a prompt for expressive writing, give your students “test prep” experiences where they read and write poetry to add it to their literacy experience in a low stress way.

à         Enrichment or guided practice during a poetry unit

April is often the time of year when teachers celebrate poetry.  Schedule some time in the computer lab or assign the students homework to visit our webpages to create and print out a poem based on one of our forms.  We guarantee they will all be successful with a minimum of writer’s anxiety.  Consider organizing an end of unit “poetry slam” event to help students connect with an appreciative audience for their efforts.

à         Cross curricular writing connections

Elementary teachers have asked us to create a few forms that support their life science animal units.  The result is: Animals Go to School, I Like Animals Because and Switcheroo.  Elementary teachers report that an animal poetry form can be an interesting alternative way for the students to share research from their animal reports.

à         Containers for Notetaking

By request we have designed and built some different “containers” for student notetaking:  Biography, Explorer Profile, Ode to the Phases of the Moon.  Upper elementary teachers like to invite their students to gather facts from content rich websites and paste them right into one of these forms.  The completed “poem” is actually a summary of key facts and ideas, all on one page.

à         Scaffold for special education (or writing resistant) students

By request, we created the I Once Knew form which uses drop down menus with assorted word choices to help special needs students successfully create a poem.

à         Stimulus for sharing feelings during counseling sessions

Counselors and school psychologists have praised our Name and I Am poetry forms because the pieces the students create very naturally open up into discussions about self-esteem.

à          Creative expression & fun

But above all, if your students are pointing, clicking and filling in the blanks and having an “aha” experience writing instant poetry, we think that the fun factor is the very best part of this type of literacy experience.  It just might make you wonder if the form somehow helped to set a poem “free.”