Poetry: Limerick

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT describe how words and phrases have rhythm and interpret their meaning.

Big Idea

What structure and poetic devices are unique to limericks ? Students create humorous poetry with a five line rhyme scheme and peculiar rhythm.

Introduction to Limerick Poetry

20 minutes

     I created a Limerick Flip Chart with background information of limerick poetry.  I discovered a great Limerick Plannng Sheet that take students step by step in writing their own limerick.  Prior knowledge is important for any lesson.  Students who have background knowledge of poetry may not need as much direction in creating their own limerick.  However, a review or background information will place all students on the same page for this activity.  My flip chart was created for the purpose of guiding instruction. 

     Once students gain sufficient information about limericks, we analyze a few samples.  Understanding the structure and form of limericks is key.  Samples are great models for students because it provides concrete examples of the abstract concepts. 

     Background knowledge is important for students to make sense of their learning.  Students enter with different life experiences and knowledge into this lesson.  Part of the flip chart is to assess what students already know.  We share information from peers and the teacher to fill in the gaps so students understand the basic foundational knowledge of what characterizes a Limerick poem.  Common Core encourages this type of discussion and communication of knowledge through collaborative efforts.  Depth in knowledge can only be attained once students dig deeper below the surface. 

     Through the process of analyzing the characteristics of a Limerick Poem, students pay close attention to the structure (five line anapestic meter) and its strict rhyme scheme.  The standard criteria of a Limerick is that it contains five lines (the second and fifth lines rhyme), prosody is determined by stressed and unstressed syllables, and the topic is focused on a person or place.  Word play through alliteration, assonance, and internal rhyme predominate this type of poetry, leading to the knowledge of how nuances of words and phrases affect the structure and meaning of poems.

Create Your Own

20 minutes

      Using the Limerick Plannng Sheet and Limerick Template, students are paired to create limericks together.  Pairing students instigate dialogue about planning and communication of concepts.  It allows students to think out loud and get feedback from one another.  Collaboration is a major part of Common Core lessons.  I encourage students to collaborate and communicate knowledge to one another. Students need to practice articulating convincingly and inclusively in productive ways. I also like to encourage students to mingle with diverse partners as they practice to effectively listen, speak, read, and write together through collaborative efforts.

     Creating something requires higher order thinking processes.  Common Core is about the challenge to think deeper and out of the box.  I ask students to perform the more rigorous task of "creating" their own poem.  As noted on the hierarchy of Bloom's Taxonomy, creating uses higher order thinking processes.  There is much more rigor to creating a poem than merely remembering, understanding, or applying what they learn from this type of poetry.  Creating requires students to synthesize information, generate hypotheses, and develop new ideas that is relevant to them. Rigor and relevance are important elements in Common Core.

Poetry Reading

20 minutes

     Students share and discuss their poetry creations.  I document their presentations as formative assessments:  Limerick Student Poetry Reading  and Limerick Student Sample. Knowing where students are in the learning progression allows me to differentiate my instruction.  Thus, students can be scaffolded from where they are to a more complex level of learning. Common Core is about continuously challenging your students to progress.  We review the structure and form of limericks.  Students give each other feedback and suggestions.  The most meaningful part of learning is getting feedback.  Everyone has room to improve.

     Effective feedback depends on the specificity of the critique.  I use a Limerick Rubric as a guideline for students to give feedback to their peers.  Students address particular elements listed on the rubric to stay on topic.  Also, a supportive classroom climate must be established so students can feels safe to learn from their mistakes.