Writing Free Verse Poetry

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SWBAT write their own free verse poem by using line breaks and white space.

Big Idea

We've seen and talked about enough free verse poems. Now it's our turn to write poems of our own.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

Today's lesson is much shorter than the previous lesson.  The previous lesson gave students some background knowledge into what line breaks and white space were and had students looking at actual poetry to discover how these add meaning to the text.  They also gained a good understanding that free verse poetry doesn't have to rhyme and it definitely conveys feelings to the reader.  My feeling is that since we worked so hard on our poetry yesterday that their knew found knowledge will make their poems much richer today. Today students will be trying to convey strong feelings to their reader because they are the author today.

RL1.4 at its heart is about reading poetry - not writing it.  However, reading and writing are so closely related that I knew if I had students write their own free verse poetry, it will not only improve their reading comprehension, but also deepen their understanding of the author's craft and purpose because they will have to apply the literary devices we've been learning about to their own writing. Students at this age are such concrete learners.  As a teacher, I know that if I have them write their own poems, they will begin to internalize what these literary devices are and what the author's purpose is for using these devices when crafting a piece of work. This is why I am spending time in my reading unit on teaching students how to write using these literary devices.

Today you will want to use your Smartboard lesson Poetry Unit.notebook or your Activboard lesson Poetry Unit.flipchart so you can quickly review the poems from yesterday. You'll also want to give your students blank paper so they can be free to create their own line breaks and white space.

Reviewing What We've Learned (Guided Practice)

10 minutes

I opened up our Smartboard lesson and we reviewed the free verse poems from yesterday.  We talked about the literary techniques that the poets used to show strong feelings in the poem.  In the "Bridge" and "Spinach" poems we talked about how line breaks were used to show the bridge made of stones and how the spinach slid down to my stomach.  We talked about how alliteration, similes, and metaphors also can help to convey a strong feeling and engage the viewer.  After looking at these poems one more time, my students wanted to get to work and create poems of their own.

Writing Our Poems (Independent Practice)

15 minutes

I told my students, "I am going to give you some blank paper.  You are the author today, so you get to make all the decisions.  Think about those techniques we just talked about and write about something you feel strongly about.  It can be about anything. If you finish with one poem you can turn the paper to the other side and create another one."

You can see this portion of the lesson by watching this video Writing Our Free Verse Poetry.mp4.

Our Closure - Sharing Our Poetry

10 minutes

My students were so excited and engaged with this lesson.  I wanted students to be able to share their work with their classmates if they wanted to.  I said, "If you'd like to share your poem with the class please bring your poem up here to the carpet and I will call on you one at a time to share."  You can see my students sharing their work here Sharing Our Poetry.mp4.  It was a great way to end the lesson, and my students felt very accomplished at the end.