Picking Poems from Poetry Out Loud; Responding to Poetry Using the Cube Creator

17 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use the Poetry Out Loud website to find a poem to analyze using the Cube Creator at Read, Write, Think.

Big Idea

Creative close reading using the cube creator and poems from Poetry Out Loud

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Overview and Context

The lessons in this unit showcase my pedagogic philosophy that students learn best when they are actively engaged. Often teachers teach poetry much as we teach novels and short stories: Students read the text, analyze and discuss it, take quizzes and tests, and write a paper. What happens when we approach the language of poetry through performance pedagogy and emphasize the oral interpretation and artistic components of poetry? Additionally, how can we discover the rhythm and art in informational texts? 

This lesson emphasizes fresh approaches to textual analysis, giving special attention to the common ground poetry and informational texts share.


Choosing Poetry from Poetry Out Loud

25 minutes

I distributed a handout to students as they enter the lab. Poetry Out Loud Project.

I review the assignment as the computers load.


1. Choose a poem at the Poetry Out Loud website. I tell kids they may also use Poetry 180, Poets.org, or another site but that I need to approve the poem if it comes from a site other than Poetry Out Loud. I tell the students: 

a. The site has acquired necessary permissions for using the poems.

b. The poems have literary merit, and students often choose classic texts from the cannon.

c. POL is a national recitation competition, and I will encourage students to participate in the school contest.

d. POL has many teaching and student resources, including many video and audio presentations that can help students discover a poem's meaning.

e. Poetry Out Loud has aligned its process to the CCSS. 

2. After choosing a poem, I have students write their names, the poem titles and authors on a paper I keep in my class folder. 

Once complete, the students have produced some fun Poetry Out Loud Poetry to Art Projects: Student Poetry to Art Project Example and Student Example Copy Change and Poem to Art Project


Using the Read, Write, Think Cube Creator

30 minutes

Students use the Cube Creator at Read, Write, Think to begin analyzing their poems. I ask students to print their cubes, which I collect so that I can check their work. I'll type up my initial responses to the students' analysis later. The Resources show examples of the cubes. 

While students work, I walk around and look at their work and answer questions. As I visited students I...

  • Found the Cube Creator via Google for a students who was unable to login to the LMS. I Googled: Cube Creator at Read, Write, Think. That worked.   
  • Helped students search by theme on the POL site. 
  • Helped a student whose computer wasn't accessing a printer by having her email the cube to herself and to me. 
  • Showed kids how to save the cube.
  • Redirected a student who wanted to wander around and visit with other students, which they'll do when they lack confidence or the ability to self-direct.
  • Helped another student who said he couldn't find a poem. I asked him what topics he likes, to which he responded "wolves." He said he was just going to use Poe's "The Raven." I said, "no." To his question "why?" I responded that I want him to learn a new poem and that students often default to Poe's poem because they know it and that it's a poem taught in middle school. I asked if he had searched on POL, and he said, "yes." Then I offered to look for poems about "wolves" during lunch and asked if he could stop by my room and pick them up. He agreed to do that.

During lunch, I searched on POL and found three poems and found another on Poetry 180. This took me about 15 minutes because in addition to finding the poems, I needed to read them, too. The student stopped by my room and took three of the four poems. 

By this time, we were at the end of the period. Not all students handed in their cubes, so I assigned them the task of completing them at home and bringing them the next period. 

During the next class, the lesson is not contingent on students having the cubes. This is important because both students and I would be frustrated if they didn't finish the work at home. And since it's Friday, I know this is a distinct possibility. 

A completed student cube creator looks like this prior to assembly: Poetry Cube Using the Cube Creator