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Teaching with Poetry Tools

These learner based tools are flexible, extensible and focused on process as opposed to product. The poetry tools allow student writers to actively and mindfully work through lessons in metaphor, syntax, word choice, and parts of speech. We have provided lesson plans and downloadable files so you can manipulate and customize each tool to meet your classroom needs.

""Practice of an art is more salutary than talk about it. There is nothing more composing than composition."
- Robert Frost


Each of the poetry tools posted to this site is accompanied by a written lesson plan, explaining one application of its use. There are countless applications and uses for these tools within the elementary, middle or high school Language Arts classroom.

(Note: Working with poetry tools doesn't require a networked writing lab! They can be just as effective when used on a stand-alone classroom computer. Be creative with your resources and see what happens!)

Teaching Ideas:

Use one computer in the classroom as a writing station, allowing students to explore the poetry tools within the context of a greater full-class learning center activity or enrichment for accelerated learners.

Use the poem writing tools within small groups, allowing students to cluster around one computer. One student within the group is to serve as the "recorder," mapping out and writing the discussion that results from the poems that are created. Bring the groups together for a full class discussion, using the texts that were created as well as the notes from the group discussions. This allows not only study and discussion of how words convey meaning but the group's processes as well.

As a whole class, discuss poems generated while projecting the tool OR sharing aloud what is generated on the class computer. (supplement using an overhead projector, chalkboard, or whatever resources you have in your classroom)

Post generated poems for full-class discussion (using a projector, large sheets of paper, wall-sized post-its, etc.).

Use different poems generated from one tool to compare and contrast within a written essay.

Hold a full class poetry slam, using the poetry tools to help create text.

Create a class anthology or e-book from the poems created using the poetry tools.

Use the poems created as a springboard into exploring great texts by asking students to find printed poems which use similar structures, literary devices and even topics.

Developed at University of Virginia, Center for Technology and Teacher Education