Lesson: Characteristics of Poetry

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to notice characteristics of poetry as a genre.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  Readers, I am really excited to begin a new unit today.  We will begin a unit focused on poetry.  Many of you are familiar with poetry and are already familiar with different types of poetry.  Today, we will begin to notice characteristics of poetry to create a class chart we can reference throughout the unit.

Teach/Active Engagement (10-12 mins): Today we will look at an article and a poem about Harriet Tubman.  I want you to pay attention to the difference between the two examples in order to notice important characteristics of poems.  Teacher places a paragraph about Harriet Tubman on the overhead.  Teacher reads aloud article.  What did you notice about how I read that article?  Students should respond that teacher read the whole paragraph together, stopping to pause at each punctuation mark.  Students may also comment on the appearance of the writing; it is in paragraph form. 

Now we will look at a poem about Harriet Tubman.  As I read this poem aloud what do you notice that is different than previously?  Teacher places Harriet Tubman poem on the overhead and reads aloud.  Turn and tell your partner what you noticed about how I read aloud that poem?  Students should turn and discuss.  Students share out responses and teacher adds to a classroom chart.  Chart should include there is rhythm and rhyme as I was reading. 

You all noticed some great characteristics of how I read.  Now turn and tell your partner what you noticed about how the poem looks in comparison to the paragraph I read before.  Students should turn and talk.  Teacher records students’ answers on the class chart.  You all noticed some great things about poetry today.  When you return to your seats you should continue to write down what you notice about your own poetry packets.  (Previous to this lesson, students are given a folder with several poems to use for independent reading throughout the unit)  We will share out what we notice at the end of workshop time.

Independent Reading (15-20 mins): Students return to their seats.  They should read from their poetry packets and continue to notice characteristics of poetry.

Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): At the end of independent reading time, the teacher may have students share out other aspects of poetry they have noticed.  These will also be added to the classroom chart.  Teacher can monitor student responses to determine which students need more practice with general characteristics of poetry.

Reflection: This is the first lesson in a twenty day unit.  It serves as an introduction to poetry in general.  Students responses are used as a tool to determine what poetry vocabulary and knowledge your students already possess.  This will serve as a foundation for planning throughout the unit. 

Lesson Resources

Harriet Tubman poem
Harriet Tubman paragraph  


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