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Lesson Three


Essential Element: Writing



Write poems using a variety of techniques/devices, with emphasis on Free Verse

  • W.5.8.4



Poetry is a thoughtful way for students to explore their environments by using their senses and feelings. It provides a way for students to express their emotions. It is a language of the heart and encourages students to explore their existence in relationship to any subject they choose. With a good introduction of structured lessons in simile, imagery, and vocabulary, the students will have the basics to develop their poetry.

Because of its condensed form, any student can be a poet. Basically, to learn to write poetry is no different from the way we learn language. (Calkins, 1994)



  • Paper

  • Pencil



Direct Explanation:

Remember the discussion we’ve had about the ways in which poetry is a special form of writing. It looks different, speaks to the heart as well as the mind, says a lot in few words, says things in special ways, and pleases the ear. Today, we’re going to begin to develop a free verse poem. Free verse does not follow a specific form and does not rhyme. We will begin to develop this poem by selecting a subject about a person, place, event, or idea that you find interesting. You may choose a pet, a special friend, a favorite place, a hobby, or your favorite music. Spend some time selecting the subject and collecting some thoughts about that subject. Then begin writing your thoughts on paper. These thoughts can be complete sentences or parts of sentences. That is your assignment for today. Tomorrow we will begin creating the poem from your written thoughts.”




I have a special pet that I wrote some thoughts about, just to give you an example. My thoughts are on the board. Let’s review them to give you ideas for your assignment: Ebony, my black lab. A friendly, loyal companion. Trusting, sly, playful, always hungry. Dependent on my love to keep her safe and well. Always there when she was needed.”




Guided Practice:

Now, spend some time thinking about a subject that interest you. Begin writing your thoughts using single words, phrases, or complete sentences. We will start tomorrow expanding our thoughts and creating a first draft.”




Students will create their ideas and write their thoughts in preparation for creating a first draft of their free verse the next day. After the first draft is written, they will revise and write the final draft.




Students are graded on a 1-4 rubric. A top score of 4 indicates that students have included a variety of descriptive words and phrases that focus on a central theme or idea.



Tier II Additions/Accommodations:

  • Provide a list of descriptive words

  • Provide a list of topics


Assessment: Same as Tier I



Tier III Modifications:

  • Work with peer tutor to formulate ideas

  • Use a word web graphic organizer

  • Provide a list of question prompts


Assessment: Accept alternative completed products, such as word webs, rough drafts, bulleted lists, outlines, etc.



Tier IV Modifications:

  • Same as Tier III but allow extra time

  • Use scribe to write the poem


Assessment: Accept alternative completed products, such as word webs, rough drafts, bulleted lists, outlines, etc.






Tier V Modifications:

  • Provide student with a range of pictures/icons

  • Have student arrange pictures to formulate a poem

  • Allow student to use movement and/or colors to create mood for the poem


Assessment: Use modified rubric determine if student has attempted the creative process






Calkins, L. M. (1994) The Art of Teaching Writing, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann


Kemper/Nathan/Sebranek, (1995) Writer’s Express, Write Source


Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for Commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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