A Study of Poetry for Grades 5 and 11

For this project, I have developed lesson plans to teach poetry units to fifth graders and high school juniors. Poetry is usually taught in some form at every level of the English/language arts curriculum, with each level building upon the last. Here, I have focused on both reading and writing poetry.

At the fifth grade level, I focused on teaching students about a variety of formal forms of poetry. I based my "poetry project" for this level on a project assigned by one of my colleagues, Liz Campbell. I created the daily lessons to go with the final project. Since I have never taught elementary school, I was not able to test the lesson myself. I created examples of student products myself. I then showed my finished lesson and product to two fifth grade teachers (Liz Campbell and Jody Smith), who offered me suggestions for making it more age-appropriate. These changes are reflected in the work posted here.

At the eleventh grade level, I focused on fostering a personal appreciation for poetry. This lesson contains no formal terms or types, although I do include two possible adaptions for adding these elements. I created the basis of this lesson back in 2002, when I first taught English 11. I refined various elements of it for the following three years, then edited it again before posting the work here. All student products shared as part of this lesson are authentic.

The fifth grade lesson was developed for a private Catholic elementary school in a small town in Illinois. It is coed and serves roughly 190 students between preschool and eighth grade. Students are charged tuition to attend, although scholarships are available. Students tend to come from upper- and middle-class households. This lesson could be adapted for virtually any fifth grade class.

The eleventh grade lesson plan was developed for a public high school in the Indianapolis suburbs. Student enrollment is roughly 1800 for grades 9 through 12 and has grown for the last several years. The graduation rate is 98%, and students tend to come from upper-to middle-class households. The lesson was created for an "average" class, meaning that the students are not on the honors track. This lesson could be adapted for virtually any eleventh grade class.

These lessons were designed to be able to be taught by one English teacher in a classroom of 15-30 students. However, they contain ample opportunities for collaboration with other professionals. The fifth grade lesson would greatly benefit from the collaboration of a school media specialist and an art teacher (areas are notated throughout the lesson plan). The fifth grade lesson also requires students to get reveiws of their work from a school professional other than their classroom teacher. Suggestions include a school media specialist, guidance counselor, or instructional aide. The eleventh grade lesson plan could be enhanced and added to through adding time in the school media center, working under the supervision of the school media specialist (suggestions are listed as possible adaptions to the lesson).