Bring Poetry Alive with these Digital Lessons

The recent work of Amanda Gorman has re-inspired the education community to focus on poetry instruction. April is National Poetry Month, but there is a place in the curriculum all year long for this important genre. In Dead Poet’s Society, we ponder, “what will your verse be?” 

TEN BENEFITS OF TEACHING POETRY (list created by Sarah Landis)

  1. Poetry often illuminates the author’s voice, and so shines a light on inner expression! (Think Langston Hughes to Jason Reynolds)
  2. Poetry promotes deep/close reading of texts, and can help develop thinking skills such as inference and interpretation.
  3. Poetry can teach elements of storytelling through a different genre.
  4. Poetry can invite students who struggle with longer texts to enter into learning because there are less words and more ‘white space’ around the poem. Less overwhelming and more visually appealing! 
  5. Poetry is awesome for teaching concise language. Students practice when to write long vs. when to write small. 
  6. Poetry often connects to other disciplines such as music and history.
  7. Poetry can be a performance-based genre. (Think poetry readings and poetry slams.)
  8. Poetry provides a great opportunity to get kids talking about meaning. (Think of activities like ‘lift a line,' debate a theme, etc) 
  9. Poetry can introduce rhyme -- one of the entry points for emergent readers. 
  10. Poetry is timeless! (Teach deceased poets like William Shakespeare and Maya Angelou, as well as living poets like Amanda Gorman)


Elementary HyperDoc created by April Buege
This HyperDoc is structured in our most core pedagogy beliefs -- that we should give students a chance to openly explore before direct instruction, then provide concrete information, and then allow time to create! 

Middle School HyperDoc created by Lisa Guardino 
This HyperDoc unit was designed for middle school students, and can be taught over time with some work being done synchronously or asynchronously. Unique elements include “How to Read and Interpret Poetry,” “How to Talk About Poetry” and “Poetry Brackets!” This can By the end of the unit, students have published using a method of their choice!

High School HyperDoc created by Kevin Feramisco
This HyperDoc unit was originally designed for 10th graders, but can easily be adapted for other grade levels. The emphasis is on terminology, studying a diverse range of poets and their work, and learning the types of poetry. Ultimately, students are invited to participate in a poetry slam. 

This Coming of Age HyperDoc is great for this time of year! Originally created for fifth graders, this can easily be adapted up to 8th/9th grade. Universal Design for Learning invites the lesson designer to add in layers such as: recruitment of personal interest, different representations of the theme, ‘coming of age,’ opportunities to debate the themes, and apply learning in different modalities. Options abound! 


If you have not yet experienced a lesson from the Book Chat Guys (Joel Garza and Scott Bayer) then you are missing out! These two educators curate and create super engaging lessons on Google Docs that are both aesthetically and cognitively engaging. Their book and author selections are diverse and relevant. Check out this one, Citizen Illegal, by Jose Olivarez. Students are encouraged to record their reactions to the author’s candor and vulnerability, while also analyzing the texts. You will feel like you know the poet on a personal level after working through this HyperDoc. My favorite part is the “compare” portion of the lesson. Check it out yourself! 

Need something for tomorrow? Try this -- definition poetry! *Not a HyperDoc, just a cool, easy idea!

Author: Sarah Landis 25-04-2021

Comments (1)

  • Generic placeholder image
    These look great!

    These look great!

    Author: David Hotler 27-04-2021