Building Poetry Pros in 3 Easy Steps

Building Poetry Pros in 3 Easy Steps title

Building poetry pros starts by using poetry with your lessons often. Poetry can be used for so many skills we teach…fluency, concept of word, visualizing, rhyme, comprehension skills, vocabulary, and figurative language to name a few. In Virginia, one of our standards focuses on using sensory words to create imagery. Well, to meet this standard, students have a few subskills to grasp first.

Today, I’d like to share my plan with you using one of Shel Silverstein’s poems. One great thing with poetry lessons is that we have wonderful poems to use for modeling from greats like Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, and Brod Bagert, but also more serious poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson.


building poetry pros in 3 easy steps-anchor chart

To begin, I shared with my students the Sensory Words Anchor Chart in the image to the left. We discussed the examples on it and inserted it into our interactive notebooks. Then, we brainstormed examples of sensory words by sense. (and I apologize for not taking a photo of my whiteboard) The list they generated was fantastic.

POETRY PROS STEP 2: sort examples according to the senses

Next, we were ready to practice. For this part, we used a sensory sort. The sorting technique takes a lower level skill to the analytic level of Bloom’s. Students have to read the description provided and determine which sense is addressed through the specific sensory words used.

Sorts work well individually, in pairs, and with small groups because each setting provides the students with a different experience. Individually, teachers can quickly assess understanding whereas pairs and groups allows lots of student talk and justification of thinking. (higher level).

With my groups, I often use anchor charts for introduction. They provide the focus for deeper discussion which really helps my students understand and use what they’ve learned. I have my kids put printable anchor charts like this in their interactive notebooks for reference later, and we follow that with examples and practice. This sort worked well for my group to model which words in the descriptions helped them visualize or create that mental image.

Building Poetry Pros in 3 Easy Steps sensory words sorting

POETRY PROS STEP 3: Applying lesson to new learning

Building Poetry Pros in 3 Easy Steps graphic organizer

Once the kids had an understanding of the type of words they were looking for, they were ready to work on their own. For the independent work, we usedย “Clooney the Clown” by Shel Silverstein.ย It is located in A Light in the Attic. Since we do lots of talking about visualizing all year, my kids really seemed to grasp this quickly.

Now, creating imagery in their own writing is something we still are working on, but I’m sure you see it takes a little while longer for that to be polished. ย Here is an example using the poem,

Building Poetry Pros in 3 Easy Steps text evidence

The full Building Poetry Pros pack includes anchor charts and organizers for personification, alliteration, metaphor, simile, imagery, sensory words, onomatopoeia, and hyperbole as well as poetry discussion/analysis task cards. You can grab it on TPT here or use the listing below. For the Poetry Pros set and all six of my poem of the week sets, you can get the bundle at a great discount.

other poetry posts you might like:

I hope your students come up with dazzling ideas that show how they sparkle and shine. ?ย (Using sensory words here…get it??).


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Building Poetry Pros in 3 Easy Steps pin


Carla is a licensed reading specialist with 27 years of experience in the regular classroom (grades 1, 4, and 5), in Title 1 reading, as a tech specialists, and a literacy coach. She has a passion for literacy instruction and meeting the needs of the individual learner.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. I am definitely going to use your senses sort with some of my class when we get back and are working on descriptions. Thank you for a great resource!
    Growing Little Learners

  2. I left this feedback on your TpT store, but wanted to share it here too because I so enjoyed your freebie!
    "I love how this challenges young learners to connect words with their own senses, and to actively define what images the words evoke. Lovely activity – thank you!" I'm enjoying this blog hop – so many wonderful ideas and resources! :o) Pamela

  3. Hi Carla! I shared the link to your Building Poetry Pros pack with the teachers at my school. I think this is an excellent resource for them to use as they begin their poetry unit. Thanks for sharing your freebie. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks, Carla, for coordinating such a fantastic poetry hop! Picked up several great ideas and connections to teacher stores that offer great stuff for my grade level. Appreciate it!

  5. I hope it works well for them. The mini lesson will remain a freebie, so that will give them a taste of the rest of the unit. I plan to go through poetry books (sometime) and add a bibliography of poems that work well with each skill.

  6. Sorting phrases by the senses is a great idea, I've never actually done that with my kids. Seems simple but it's probably something they'd struggle with in reality!

    Literacy Spark

  7. Thank you for the great ideas for using sensory words in poetry and the freebie! And of course, who doesn't like Shel Silverstein?
    Conversations in Literacy

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