From traditional poems to pop star lyrics, poetry is an important topic that teaches students how to write emotively, descriptively, and with creativity. It’s also a great way of developing a young person’s understanding of art, history, and literature, too — all vital subjects for a student’s overall education.
But what is the best and most engaging way of teaching poetry to middle schoolers? From fun poetry activities to expert top tips, read on to find out.
Teaching poetry to middle schoolers
Before we get to the poetry activities, here are four key points to consider when teaching the topic to your class:
#1 – Make it relevant
Struggling to get your class to connect with poetry? You probably need to bring poems into their frame of reference.
Links to chart-topping song lyrics, for example, or poetry tweets (yes, really!) are sure to make your lessons more fun for your students, who, let’s be honest, might not be all that taken with Shakespeare or Lord Byron.
#2 – Make it fun
Poetry can be difficult for some students to get their heads around. But if they’re having fun and actually enjoying your lesson, they’ll be far more likely to understand what you’re teaching them.
Try to teach poetry with as much interactivity and enjoyment as you can. Use videos, songs, and energizing activities (scroll down for some examples) — but whatever you do, make it fun!
#3 – Make it creative
When teaching poetry, creativity is everything.
After all, students learn best by doing, and poetry is no exception.
So get creative and ask your class to write their own poems. It’ll boost their understanding of the genre, as well as their creative writing skills in general. Need to take it up a level? Get them to write and perform a rap — that’s modern-day poetry at its most engaging!
#4 – Make it clear
There’s a lot of nuance and specificity that goes into poetry, much of which could easily confuse even the most involved of students.
And that’s why it’s so important to be clear on the details.
Help your students understand their rhymes from their rhythm, and they’ll be one step ahead!
5 poetry activities, games, and worksheets to teach 11-13-year-olds
Now you know the core principles that should underpin your poetry lesson plans, let’s go ahead and explore some of the best poetry activities, games, and worksheets to help you teach the topic the best you can.
#1 – The ultimate poetry breakdown
Here at KidsKonnect, we’re experts in helping you craft the best lesson plan possible. And we’ve got just the thing to get your poetry class off to a flying start.
Our comprehensive, ready-to-use poetry bundle includes five worksheets that are ideal for both teaching and testing your students’ understanding of all things poetry.
From stanzas to syllabic structures, these worksheets expertly simplify the anatomy of a poem, while simultaneously teaching students how poems can be used to express both ideas and emotions.
Start your lesson with this worksheet, and your class will be ready for all that’s ahead. You can download it for free, too, by joining our site and clicking here.
#2 – Teach the greats
After introducing your class to the fundamentals of poetry, it’s time to show them all they’ve learned in action. To do this, why not move onto some extra worksheets that break down the poetry of the greats?
We’ve got worksheets on historical figures like Homer (the man known for writing Europe’s first literature), Lord Byron (great for using poetry to write descriptively) and Maya Angelou, the world’s most prolific civil rights poet.
Each of these worksheets provide fun poetry activities that’ll help your students to both understand the history of the genre as well as all that makes a poem great.
#3 – Rhyming couplets quiz
Now, with the hard work out of the way… who’s for a quiz?
Simply put a word on the screen, and wait for your class to match it with a rhyme.
Listen to every student’s idea and reward the one you think is best.
This is a great way of slowly encouraging your class to come up with instant rhymes, before asking them to write their own rhyming couplets independently… which we’ll move onto next.
#4 – Pass the rhyme!
To make your poetry lessons extra fun, ask your students to write their own rhymes onto a little piece of paper, scrunch it up and pass it around the room.
Whenever someone stumbles across a rhyme they think is great, ask them to raise their hand and share it with the class.
This is a great way to both boost the creativity of your students and remove the pressure of writing a ‘good’ rhyme, since all notes will be anonymous.
Sometimes kids can get too in their heads about what their peers might think, especially when it comes to getting creative. But help them through this and you might be surprised by the results.
#5 – Pop star-inspired poetry
When it comes to a group of middle schoolers, you can’t get more relevant than pop stars. So use that to your advantage, and make poetry cool again!
Using our worksheets on artists like Beyonce, Ariana Grande and One Direction, ask your students to think about who their favorite artists are and talk to them about how their lyrics are great examples of poetry.
Then get your class to write their own pop star-inspired poems.
Whether it’s by writing a poem using lyrics from a song, or writing a poem in the same tone as their favorite artist — pop-star inspired poems are a great way of engaging your middle schoolers with all things poetry.
Your students are poets… help them to know it!
As is often the case with the English Language, teaching poetry to middle schoolers requires a little lateral thinking and forward planning.
Consider how you can make poetry feel relevant to this age group, engage them in fun activities to flex their poetry writing skills and reward them for getting out of their comfort zone.
Sounds like a fun class to us!
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Link will appear as Poetry Activities for Middle Schoolers – 5 games and worksheets to bring out their inner poet (+ 4 top tips): https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 24, 2020