Poetry Out Loud is not intended to replace classroom activities like creative writing. In fact, the two naturally complement each other. For that reason, we have created a number of optional writing activities and lesson plans for teachers.
Do you have some great Poetry Out Loud lesson plans? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your ideas!
For further ideas on poetry instruction, visit the Poetry Foundation’s Learning section.
Ella Weinmann, 2023 New Hampshire Champion
“My English class would practice with each other every week, getting tips and tricks from our teacher before the class competition. My main focus was always ensuring that I had a deep understanding of the author’s intended tone and purpose.”
Downloadable PDF Lesson Plans
Poems Put to Use (PDF)
Students write about poems being put to use and, in the process, imagine the practical advantages of poem memorization and recitation.
The Tabloid Ballad (PDF)
This lesson teaches students about the typical metrical forms and narrative structure of the ballad by having them write ballads based on comic, even outrageous source material.
The Tone Map (PDF)
As students learn to name the tones of voice that the poem moves through, they learn to describe mixed emotions and to distinguish subtle shifts in tone and mood.
Poetry, Celebrity, and the Power of Connotation (PDF)
Students learn to recognize some of the most common strategies that poets use when writing about historical figures. With these in mind, students then hunt up and present other poems about historical figures.
Golden Shovel (PDF)
Students learn to read and write poems through a new form.
In Another’s Voice (PDF)
This lesson focuses on poems that enter into a voice other than the poet’s, perhaps not even a human voice, so that students can explore the dramatic possibilities within a poem.
Keeping Score (PDF)
In this lesson, students practice close readings of poems by analyzing the style—what musicians call the “dynamics” —of the poem: its volume, speed, language, syntax, lineation, and punctuation.
Poetry As Ceremony (PDF)
This lesson focuses on poems that have the sound of ritual, often with an incantatory rhythm that can guide students in memorization and performance.
Visualizing Voice (PDF)
In this lesson, students will practice close reading by deciding points of emphasis within a poem.
Line Dancing (PDF)
This exercise will help students become more comfortable with line breaks, to think about the ways in which they can inform not only the meaning of a poem on the page, but also how understanding line breaks may aid in the performance of poetry out loud as well.
Lesson Plans by Eileen Murphy that complement Poetry Out Loud
Sonic Patterns: Exploring Poetic Techniques Through Close Reading
Students use the idea of a composed memory and their knowledge of sonic patterns to draft, revise, and share their own original text.
Speaking Poetry: Exploring Sonic Patterns Through Performance
Students engage in a variety of vocal activities and performance techniques based on word sounds and then prepare a recitation for small group performances and compare their interpretative choices as part of the reflection process.