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Lesson Plan

Theme Poems: Writing Extraordinary Poems About Ordinary Objects

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Theme Poems: Writing Extraordinary Poems About Ordinary Objects

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Janet Beyersdorfer

Arlington Heights, Illinois


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Writing poetry enables students to reflect on their everyday experiences, express their perceptions and observations, and craft powerful images. In this lesson, students write theme poems using their content knowledge and sensory awareness of a familiar object. Students first learn about the characteristics and format of a theme poem. They then engage in an online interactive activity in which they select a graphic of a familiar object (e.g., the sun, a heart, a balloon), build a word bank of content area and sensory words related to the object, and write poems within the shape of the object. Finished poems are printed and displayed in class.

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Theme Poems: In this online interactive game, students can create a theme poem based on a shape with which they have a deep, rich connection.

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The power of poetry often lies with the poet's unique observations and sensitive word choices that startle the reader into considering a new perspective. Kurkjian, Livingston, Young, and Hopkins (2004, p. 694) suggest that "Because poetry is so multisensory and evocative it often lingers with us, eliciting visual images, remembered lines, and powerful emotional responses." Pinnell and Fountas (2003, p. 1) write that through poetry children "construct the common experiences of childhood." Blachowicz and Fisher (2002, p. 80) add that through poetry "children can learn not only new ways of looking at the world, but also new words for exploring their own experiences of the world."

Further Reading
Kurkjian, C., Livingston, N., Young, T., & Hopkins, L.B. (2004). Poetry: A feast for the senses. The Reading Teacher, 57(7), 694702.

Blachowicz, C., & Fisher, P. (2002). Teaching vocabulary in all classrooms (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Pinnell, G.S., & Fountas, I.C. (2003). Sing a song of poetry: A teaching resource for phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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