2019 Poetry Out Loud is now in full swing in language arts classrooms across the country. Poetry Out Loud doesn’t replace classroom activities like creative writing, rather the program is designed to complement a teacher’s curriculum. For that reason, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have created a number of optional writing activities and lesson plans for teachers.

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.


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