Focus Question: What is a Poem?

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Focus Question: What is a Poem?

Teaching Point: In this lesson students will be introduced to a variety of poems. Students will also read poems and categorize them according to likeness and difference.

Why/Purpose/Connection: Having students engage with a large variety of poems is important to demonstrate the many forms, types and structures of poetry that exist. (The poems introduced in this lesson will be used again throughout the unit as students immerse themselves fully in the genre.)


Prepare (in advance) a large selection of poems (printed from web or typed onto individual sheets of papers). Make sure that there are at least 2-3 poems for each student in the class.

Classic poems are included with this lesson. The poems of Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Karla Kuskin, Arnold Adoff, Valerie Worth, Douglas Florian, Eloise Greenfield, John Ciardi and Nikki Grimes should also be used for the poetry pass. The text of these poems is not included due to copy write issues, please see the websites below to download copies or consult your library.

“Why Nobody Pets the Lion at the Zooby John Ciardi

“I Wish My Father Wouldn’t Fix Things” by Jack Prelutsky (Other poems available also in pdf.)

“The Creature in the Classroom” by Jack Prelutsky

“Harriet Tubman” by Eloise Greenfield

“If I Were in Charge of the World” by Judith Viorst


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