Poetry: Clerihew

Print Lesson


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

Big Idea

What patterns and structure are unique to Clerihew poetry ?

Introduction to Clerihew Poetry

20 minutes

Named after it devleoper, Edmund Clerihew Bentley, the Clerihew poem has a unique structure and rhyming pattern.  My Clerihew Poetry Flipchart introduces students to this unique type of poetry.  We veiw samples of Clerihew poetry and analyze its characteristics. My Promethean flip chart guides my instruction.  All information needed to learn about the structure, form, poetic devices in Clerihews, as well as self assessments are presented in the flipchart. Videos are embedded in the flipchart for easy access and flow of this lesson.

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 Clerihew poem.  To teach to the level of rigor that Common Core demands, I encourage 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. 

Create Your Own

20 minutes

Using a Clerihew Poetry Template, I pair students to work together to create their own Clerihew.  Students work cooperatively as they share ideas and give feedback to one another. I circulate to make sure students are on track and to assist as needed.  Students prefere to work together in this type of activity because they get immediate feedback from their peer.  Thus, students are learning to collaborate in order to create their own unique Clerihew poem.

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.  Thus, students are deeply immersed in understanding how words and structure of poetry can add meaning and rhythm.

Poetry Reading

20 minutes

     Students read their Clerihew poems to their classmates, as shown in this Clerihew student presentation.  Afterwards, i take their written poems and place them under the document camera for all to analyze.  Students point out mistakes and make suggestions for changes.  The most common error students made was in the rhyming patterns.  Clerihews have an aabb rhyming pattern.  Our class needed to review that part of the information that was introduced on the flipchart earlier.