The Main Idea of a Poem

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SWBAT examine how each stanza builds on earlier stanzas in order to identify the main idea of a poem.

Big Idea

Students select poems to read and complete a graphic organizer as they identify the main idea.

Modeling and Guided Practice

20 minutes

I told students we can determine the main idea, or what the poem is about, by reading the title and examining the words in each stanza.  I displayed the poem, Spaghetti! Spaghetti! by Jack Prelutsky, on the document camera and read it aloud.  Then I modeled looking at the ideas in each stanza and completing a graphic organizer. The organizer also provided a review of poetry elements. I read the title of the poem aloud and told students that it gave me an idea of what the poem was going to be about.  I proceeded to read, thinking aloud that the first stanza discussed the ingredients on spaghetti and the narrator asks for more. The second stanza was about how it moves and the narrator thinks it’s great! I did the same with the last stanza. I included the fact that the narrator also states how she feels about spaghetti by using the words love and like and exclamation points. I summed up the main idea by stating that each stanza of the poem was about the narrator’s description and love of spaghetti.

Next, I guided students and doing the same with a different poem.  We discussed each stanza to identify the main idea. I continued completing my graphic organizer on the document camera as a model for students. They did the same on their own graphic organizer.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Students worked with a partner during independent practice.  They selected their own poems to work with from the books I’d checked out from the library.  I walked around as students worked providing assistance as needed.


5 minutes

For the close of the lesson, students shared the main idea of the poems they had read with a different partner.  This gave students exposure to poems they had not read that may be interesting to read in the future.