COVID-19 · poetry · writing workshop

Teaching from Home: A Poetry Lesson

As many of us juggle our own needs, our families, and growing concerns for our students, we are here to offer support. When the significance of Covid-19 became more apparent, teachers everywhere began to wonder and respond with what they could in the moments they were given. As the uncertainty of potentially not seeing my class again this year mounts, I’ve tried to consider what I can do to respond. For my students, I would like to share my love of teaching poetry and invite them to try alongside their classmates. Mobilizing how to give access to all of my students is beyond my control but I’m hopeful this will evolve as people continue to step up to give families what they need in this crisis.

Because all of us are in different places within the process of teaching our students. This lesson can serve multiple purposes. Use it how you see fit. This includes:

  • as a comfort to your writing self
  • with your own family or children in your care
  • with your students
  • with your colleagues
  • as inspiration to create your own lesson

This lesson was designed with my writers in mind but is open-ended in a way that it could be used or utilized for any writer at any level. As the days continue to pass and challenges continue to unravel themselves, I hope to continue creating lessons for my students. I also hope I can be a support to teachers who seek any help I may be able to give.

For the lesson, I created a set of slides that include images and videos. I did this using Google Slides. I will be sharing with you the public link to this Google Slide presentation for you to view and use. Also, below, are the individual parts of the lesson. I hope you find this useful, even if it just helps you create a poem today for yourself.

Google Slide Presentation Link

This chart is used in Part 1 of “CRAFT a Poem.” The chart is a guide for the start of my lesson, reminding students what they likely already know about poetry.

This chart is used in Part 2 and Part 4 of “CRAFT a Poem.” It offers a guide of steps to help students isolate each part of their writing process as they get inspired to create a poem of their own.

Below is an image of the list of words I was able to gather after collecting observations and responding to my thinking. I’ve also included my three tries using my experience, digging in the dirt, as inspiration for writing.

This may feel like a lot of steps if you are considering creating your own video lesson. This is what felt right to me and I felt most genuinely matched my teaching. For me, it mirrored the parts of a minilesson and the way I naturally teach in my classroom. There are fantastic resources out there for creating your own digital lessons. I also feel we each have unique qualities as teachers. For instance, our natural way of talking to students and the way we progress across a lesson. I think it’s important to remember that as we navigate this as educators, we have to give ourselves time to get comfortable. We also have to be willing to keep the door open to possibilities that may be new or unknown.

I continue to hope our community here and beyond can find strength and comfort from each other.

12 thoughts on “Teaching from Home: A Poetry Lesson

  1. I have always been thankful for your blog to help inspire and teach me. However, now with getting thrown into the distance learning deep end without lessons, you are my life raft. From the bottom of my heart, my gratitude is great for your generosity to share your wisdom.


  2. I love to sprinkle poetry all throughout the year and around November, we do a novel study with novels in verse. I bring novels in verse from the local library, own many, and gather the rest from our school library. Students LOVE them! Thank you for sharing this resource with us all! It will be a welcome addition to my Novels in Verse study.


  3. I love teaching poetry to children! It is such a fun passion and they can really go anywhere with it – it also gets some students who are intimidated by writing paragraphs to find a voice in my own experience! Thank you so much for sharing this lesson 🙂


  4. Thanks for sharing your lesson. I will put this in our collection of resources. I’ve done a few instructional videos reading from my poetry book, and I’m enjoying all of the other wonderful poetry and writing prompt videos out there, especially Laura Shovan’s Water Poem Project and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s writing in her camper. I hope we can continue to make this stay at home teaching creative and engaging for our students.

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  5. Thank you!!!! You are wonderful, and this is wonderful!!!! I am starting poetry next month with my second graders, and you are just what I needed to see. Thank you for your effort and inspiration. So very creative! Bravo!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the sequence you created for your students to go through. It is logical and thoughtful. The videos are so explicit. Thank you for including it all in the post! It really helped me to see your thinking. I hope you share some of the poems your students create as a sequel to this post. I’m interested in reading them!

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    1. I’ve already received some TODAY! I just shared it with students this morning. They are so fabulous. Here is one I have to share right now:

      Pile of Stuffed Animals

      Soft, squishy, smooth
      Fuzy, scratchy , bumpy , furry
      Hard to squeeze and super cute
      All my friends are waiting to be loved.

      by Anna Grace


      1. Betsy, I haven’t had a chance to read the whole lesson, but I am so grateful for your share. It looks amazing. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m doing a Poetry Challenge with my grand kids and this will be so helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

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