Poetry: Writing Clerihews

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SWBAT write Clerihew poems using the correct elements.

Big Idea

Understanding the elements of Clerihew poetry


At the beginning of the unit, I give students a rough draft booklet, which contains a page for each type of poetry, along with its definition, and space to practice their own examples. I will ask them to have this booklet with them for each lesson.


15 minutes

I begin this lesson by showing students examples of Clerihew poems and asking them what they notice. I lead a discussion that allows them to come to the conclusion of what Clerihew poetry should be. Then, I share with them that the definition for Clerihew is a poem about an important person whose name is the title and is mentioned in the first line. This 4-line poem makes a brief, humorous statement about that person. The Clerihew poem is composed of two couplets and follows an AABB rhyming pattern. In our Clerihew poems, they can write about their mom, dad, or other caretaker and follow the AABB pattern. I model an example for them:



My mom, Betty, loves to cook

She never gets to relax or read a book

She has an accent and her spelling is rough

We tease her a little but she’s tough enough


As today’s assignment, I ask kids to write two Clerihew poems that they will be able to choose from for the final draft later in the unit. Most kids will choose to write a few. I remind them that I will choose a few students to share so that they make sure to complete their task.


Guided Practice

45 minutes

Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get 5 minutes of Prep Time to gather materials, find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for 30 minutes of uninterrupted Independent Writing.  


Guided Practice: Today, I would be calling writing groups to monitor their progress with the task, help students that are struggling, and allowing students to share their favorite parts with the group. This is also when I could find some strong examples that I will ask the authors to share during our lesson closing. 


5 minutes

The closing is the last five minutes of our Writer’s Workshop time, where we come back together to reinforce the day’s lesson and share some solid examples of the task. I call on the students that I’ve asked to share and they come to the front of the class to read their favorite Clerihew poem.