9 Ways to Help Students Love Poetry

Poetry and spring go together like fresh flowers and rich soil. April is National Poetry Month and as the school year tends to wind down in the spring, it is an excellent time to dive into poetry. I have enjoyed teaching poetry to elementary students all the way to high school seniors during my career. I have found 9 ways to help students love poetry! 

Reading and writing poems can be an enjoyable and creative experience as well as an outlet for social and emotional learning. Poetry doesn’t have to be scary to teach, nor does it have to be overwhelming or boring for students. Poetry is beautiful to read, and because there are so many different types of poetry out there, students can let their creativity abound as they explore this form of literature. 

1. Read, read, and read all the poems!

One of the best ways to get students excited about poetry is to begin by reading some popular poems that’ll make them see how fun poetry can be! Some of the poems I have read over the years that students have loved the most are written by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky. I always start with a light-hearted poet that can elicit some great laughs. Here are some poems I have found students, both elementary to middle school, have loved the most! 

Once students see how light-hearted and fun poetry can be, then you can slowly introduce more serious poems. The best way to introduce students to poetry is just by reading it aloud to them!

2. Write Poetry Freely!

Before teaching the requirements and technical aspects of poetry such as rhyme scheme, meter, and rhythm, I like to just give students the chance to write their own poems freely. Their poems can rhyme or not rhyme. They can be short or lengthy. They can tell a story, or they do not have to make any sense. 

By giving them creative license to write how they view and perceive poetry, students are more receptive once some guidelines are put in place for more required poetry writing later on. Students can also see how fun writing can be when I excitedly praise their poem about an elephant eating cotton candy or the family who lived in the sand castle.

By giving creative license, I’ve seen students write the funniest poems and also the most serious and emotional ones. Free writing poetry without any rules can be an amazing social and emotional outlet for students, especially those who have a harder time expressing themselves verbally. 

Give no boundaries to poetry writing at first. Can you imagine putting Dr. Seuss in a box with his writing? We wouldn’t have his creative books today. 

3. Use the Great Outdoors!

Give students a poem journal or a poetry packet and take them outside into the beautiful spring weather. Have them write poems about what they see, smell, and hear when they’re outside in spring. By being outside in nature, inspiration strikes readily. If a student struggles with this, then give them one word to focus their spring poem on such as wind, tulips, grass, etc. 

Nature is stress relieving and calming. I remember vividly the times our teacher took us outside for a lesson. It’s always a good idea to get out into nature and breathe in some fresh air, especially to glean inspiration to write a poem.

4. Start Small

As you move into having students write various poems, start small and then move on with more poem requirements. For instance, after free writing poems, challenge students to tackle simple cinquains, acrostics, and haikus, poems with various rules to follow. Make sure to read lots of examples beforehand and during the process!

Move onto limericks and shape poems. I’ve even had high schoolers thrilled to write shape poems and they came up with the neatest pieces.

Black-out poetry is so fun too as students take a piece of writing from literature and blackout various words using black sharpies. This can even be accomplished digitally on Google Slides of Canva. The words that are left form a poem. Students then can even illustrate the poems on the same paper. Some of my students have created a picture out of the words left. Creativity knows no bounds with poetry. 

As students conquer the guidelines of various poems such as the 5, 7, and 5 syllable rule of haikus, let them venture onto more challenging free verse. For instance, students can write a poem about anything they’d like but it must have at least 10 lines and be rhymed. By giving guidelines, some students are challenged to write more and explore their capabilities. As students conquer 10-line poems, then move on to reading ballads and challenging students to write a 20-line poem about a story. By starting small and moving onto more rigorous guidelines, students will be surprised as their poetry skills expand. 

5. Poetry Jam

I have hosted a couple of classroom poetry jams in my day and it’s always so fun. Students work hard on a poem or two. We gather around as they read their poem aloud on a stool. We have hot cocoa, or when I taught high school, coffee. I lower the lights and put on a cozy background ambiance on the projector. I especially love the Spring in Paris Outdoor Coffee Shop ambiance on Youtube.

We snap our fingers instead of clapping, and we tell each student something we loved about their poem. 

Poetry jams are the culmination of all of their hard work and can come at the end of a poetry unit. It’s inspiring for students to hear their peer’s poems and it’s so life-giving to have fun while reading and reciting our own written work. 

6. Poem in My Pocket Day

Poem in My Pocket Day is April 27th this year. It is such a neat concept! This day officially began in April 2002 by the Office of the NYC Mayor, in conjunction with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Education. It first began as a way to highlight the love of poetry during National Poetry Month. 

More information on this day can be found here:

Poem in Your Pocket Day

On this day, individuals pick a poem that means a lot to them, carry it in their pocket, and share it with others. Perhaps you can have your Poetry Jam take place on Poem in My Pocket Day and students can share their pocket poems as well. Encourage your students to participate in this unique day. Require them to carry a poem in their pocket and read it aloud to one other peer at school or one adult that day. 

It’s a unique way to celebrate poetry and feel like a unit of bards as the whole nation celebrates it. 

7. Slam Poetry

Slam Poetry is a form of poetry that has captivated my former middle and high school students.  This type of poetry is performance poetry. Students write poems and perform them with energy, emotion, and even audience participation. It is equal parts writing and drama. Once written, these poems are memorized like an actor memorizes lines and is performed like a one-man show. Slam Poetry also involves competition with thousands of Slam Poetry contests all over the world. 

Slam Poetry is written with the idea in mind that this will be performed. Special words are chosen that will elicit audience reaction. The spoken word and art of fluency is the focus. Slam Poetry can be serious or even garner laughs. 

Showing students various slam poetry examples can inspire them to write and perform their own. Perhaps, you could host a Poetry Slam Jam. 

Even elementary students can participate in writing and performing Slam Poetry. Students simply write a poem based on their passion, memorize it, practice it, and perform it. A student can write a poem about their love of horses, their favorite sport, or even their favorite pastime. The key is to have students write about something they’re passionate about. Slam Poetry is not only a creative outlet, but it also teaches so many standards in the process. 

Viewing slam poetry is the best way to get students motivated to write their own. Just a bit of warning: A lot of slam poetry online needs to be viewed first and is more appropriate for middle and high school students.

Some of my former middle schoolers especially liked this one about the various hard aspects of being a middle schooler. Slam poetry can be an excellent social/emotional outlet for students as they perform their emotions. 

8. Free Verse Novels

Another way to truly learn and appreciate poetry is to explore free-verse novels. These are books and stories written in a poem-form. My most reluctant readers especially fall in love with free-verse books. They are a tad easier to read and not as intimidating as there’s less words on a page. Free-verse books are some of the most moving stories I’ve ever read. Here are some of our favorites for elementary to middle school students.

Grab a couple to read today.

9. Poe-Tree

When I taught elementary school, I utilized a large paper tree on my wall to display students’ poems. In the middle, I wrote “Our Poe-Tree,” and placed their published poems on the branches and leaves. It was a great way to show off students’ writing. I also used it as a way to highlight interesting and funny poems I thought students would enjoy. I often found students gathering around it and reading the various poems during snack time. 

A “Poe-tree” can be used in the middle and high school classroom as well! Add some twinkle lights for ambiance and for a more grown-up look!

Here is an affordable tree decal for walls: 

Peel and Stick DIY Art Wallpaper


These nine ways to teach poetry will surely inspire your students to love reading and writing poems of their own. By utilizing poetry in the classroom, students can fall in love with another form of literature and enhance their writing skills in the process.

Author of Blog

Best Ideas To Use Technology To Teach Writing

We are teaching in an age in which technology is a big part of our students’ lives. From gaining access to phones, tablets, and laptops at earlier and earlier ages, students surpass the technology skills of previous generations at a quicker pace. By harnessing those technology skills and interests students possess, we can promote writing and get students engaged in the stories they write. By utilizing online resources, teachers can wield the love of technology to create a love of writing. Let’s take advantage of this by utilizing our best ideas to use technology to teach writing.

Here are some online tools students can employ to work through every part of the writing process.

Story Generator

I am a big follower of Ruth Culham’s 6+1 Traits of Writing. I’ve applied this particular method to teach writing to elementary and middle school students for over ten years. The first trait of writing is ideas. Students find a topic, focus on the topic, develop it, and use details to elaborate on the topic. Utilizing technology to help students gain ideas for their writing pieces is a no-brainer. 

One of the biggest challenges from students that we hear often is, “I don’t know what to write!”

I always tell students to write about what they know. What is something they love? What interests them? What are they experts on already? If general paper and pencil brainstorming doesn’t get the ideas flowing, then have students visit this plot generator. 

This website can generate various specific writing ideas. Students answer different questions and a whole story is generated for them. I don’t allow students to use this story as their own, of course; however, the story can inspire them to write their own based on the answers to the various questions they gave. It’s a lot of fun to see the stories generated and how the website pieces the details together.

There are many options to choose from such as the scene builder in which the generator cues you to write your own story using scene-by-scene prompts and guidance. This option allows the students to use their own words. The questioning and prompts along the way help students develop and elaborate on their topic. Give it a try!

Illustrate First

If a student is struggling with what to write or even if you would like students to begin a story in a unique way, have them draw a picture or multiple pictures first. They can use technology such as Google Slides to create a digital picture by inserting various images.

A tool that I have fallen in love with over the years is Canva. With a preloaded database of tons of images and graphic designs, students can easily create a unique digital picture.

Then, they write a story based on the picture they created. The idea is to set up a scene to inspire them. By first visualizing the setting or a specific scene that will take place, students can then write their story based on their picture or pictures.

We have a resource that does just this digitally! Students visualize and create a snowman scene with their own unique snowman character. Then, they write a story based on that scene.

Click here to grab yours today!

Amazon Alexa

Not everyone has access to this in their classroom, but for those teachers that have an Amazon Echo, there is a fun new feature for your student writers. Simply say, “Alexa, make a story.” An adorable whimsical screen pops up asking you to select a theme, a character, a name, and adjectives. Then, Alexa works behind the scenes to put together a five to ten-line story with five unique scenes. Each scene has music, sound effects, and moving visuals. A child can save the story in their Echo and even if they were to choose the exact same options again, the story would be different. Students can go into their gallery to view previous stories, characters, and other options they’ve chosen.

Variety of Ways

This can be used in a variety of ways. Students can be inspired by the generated story. Students could also just be inspired by the options the “Make a Story” gives.

For instance, the theme options include “space exploration,” “underwater,” or “enchanted forest.” If you were to choose “underwater,” the hero character options would include pirate, mermaid, scuba diva, octopus, or shark. Each theme gives different characters, like an alien, among other choices for “space exploration,” or a unicorn for “enchanted forest.” Once a main character is chosen, you choose a name, adjective, and color. Students can use these options as ideas for their own story.

Lastly, students can visualize how stories can really come to life. The biggest complaint with writing I hear from kids is how it’s boring to them. In an age of technology, we have to compete with television and exciting movies. If students understood that television shows and movies started off as writing, they’d see how exciting writing can actually be. Using an Amazon Show really brings that idea to life.

Teachers can make their Amazon Show into a writing center or use it as a whole class for a modeled story. Students can even use it individually as well.

My fourth-grade son absolutely loves this feature and probably creates a new story every day. If I didn’t already own an Amazon Show, I would buy it for the classroom.

Comic Strip Brainstorming/Mapping Using Storyboard That or Canva

Storyboard That is a comic strip generator site. Users get two free storyboard creations a week. Educators can receive a free trial if they don’t want to go the personal user route.

Students choose from the database of scenes, characters, elements, speech bubbles, and other tools to create a comic strip. Students can also play around with the site to create a brainstorming comic strip that will help inspire them to create a story.

Ruth Culham’s second trait in writing is organization. Students can also map out their entire story using Storyboard That, sequence the events, and arrange it accordingly. 

Canva also has comic strip templates. Similar to creating a digital illustration, students would generate a comic strip to inspire a story or use the comic strip to illustrate their whole story. Students love to play around with digital comic strips. It makes writing come to life and also incorporates their tech skills. It also just plain makes writing fun! 


Ruth Culham’s next writing traits are word choice, voice, sentence fluency, and conventions which make up the composing, revising, and editing parts of the writing process.

Once students have successfully created their ideas and have typed their stories, editing and revising are made easy through technology. 

Google Docs will always be my favorite tool to edit and revise with students. Using the “Editing” or “Suggesting” feature, students can see my revisions and suggestions in real-time. As I delete a sentence or type a comment, students immediately see it on their end as well. Students can see what I suggest without it actually changing their story unless they “accept” the suggestion. It then automatically changes their writing when “accepted.” 

Students can also comment back if there are questions as well and I can view them and respond back. 

Color-Coded Editing

When teaching how to write a proper MLA-format essay, using the color highlighting feature on Google Docs comes in extremely handy. Students highlight what I’m looking for in specific colors. For instance,

  • Topic/Ending Sentences: Blue
  • Context: Yellow
  • Evidence/Quotes: Red
  • Analysis: Purple

Even thesis statements and TAG (Title, Author, Genre) have their own colors in the introductory paragraph, and restated thesis and mic-drop sentences have their own colors in the conclusion paragraph.

The color code systems allow students to see quickly if they’re missing something and even determine that they don’t have enough of a requirement. Students can visually see that their context is five sentences while their analysis is two and then they can edit it. 

Elementary students or younger middle school students can also employ color-coded editing. Students must highlight all of their punctuation in blue or highlight all of their topic sentences in pink. Depending on what you’re teaching, you can focus on specific standards such as having students highlight all their adjectives in a descriptive essay in yellow. 

For a generic elementary to younger middle school-age editing color code, I like to use Rainbow Editing. Check out this freebie here!

Grab yours today!


Once students have written their story, revised it, and edited it, then presentation or publishing is the last trait and step of writing!

Every published book utilizes technology, so why not have students utilize it too? Students can publish their written work in a variety of ways.

Students can make use of Canva Docs, Presentations, Comic Strips, Posters, and a variety of other templates on Canva to publish their stories. By copying and pasting their story and illustrating them using a variety of pre-loaded graphics, students can create published work similar to a book. 

Google Slides can also work in the same way. Students copy and paste their paragraphs into various Slides and illustrate them, creating a book.

Creating and preloading various writing templates and papers into Google Slides also gives students a chance to copy and paste their stories onto themed writing paper that can be printed.

We love to create Google Slides writing paper templates to do just that. 

Check out our Spring Bulletin Board complete with writing prompts and Google Slides digital writing paper that students use to publish their work. 

Grab yours today!

Take it a step further and students can publish their work for the world to see on a blog. WordPress is a free website where students can create their own website where they display their student work. This would also serve as an online portfolio for their family and friends to view their stories throughout the year. Also, learning WordPress would be a technology skill students can work to master.

Students could also use Storybook That to illustrate their own story after they’ve fully written the entirety of it.


Why beat them when you can join them? There are so many online resources to walk students through the steps and traits of the writing process. By making use of the technology skills students possess plus their love for all things technical, students can see how writing can be fun and also applicable to the tech world.

Author of Blog

No Time to Teach Writing? Let Us Help

Teaching Language Arts can be difficult simply because it contains many subjects in one! Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, literature, and writing encompass Language Arts. With so many demands on a teacher’s schedule, fitting every subject in and giving adequate time and attention to each one can be challenging. No Time to Teach Writing? Let Us Help.

Over the years, I have learned from my own experience and other teacher friends, writing seems to be a content area that falls by the wayside. Many teachers agree that writing isn’t taught consistently or even adequately.

However, writing is a crucial skill that is used in every grade level. Furthermore, writing is continuously utilized in assessments as well. Elementary and middle school students need a firm writing foundation to excel in Language Arts, but how do we squeeze in this area of study? Here are some concrete ways to fit teaching writing into your busy school schedule. 

Incorporate Writing in All Subjects

By incorporating a cross-curricular approach, finding time to teach writing no longer becomes an issue. Cross-curricular teaching purposefully combines multiple subjects into one. This makes learning authentic and even extends engagement in students. By incorporating writing into other subjects, students are learning transferable skills in less time. 

Short Informative Essays

For example, third-grade students are learning about different winter animals in science during the month of January. To extend learning, students can research a winter animal of their choice and write a teacher-guided, short, informative essay. Students are still learning science, but by incorporating writing, they are now practicing those important skills, as well.

Another example could be when students are learning about Native Americans in History. Students can write a short, informative essay about a certain Native American group, or they can write a historical fictional story incorporating a Native American main character with facts on how they lived. 

Short Paragraph Responses

When teaching literature or reading, short paragraph responses to what a student is reading is a way to practice writing skills. Teachers can ask students a higher-level thinking question and they must answer in a detailed paragraph. Diary entries from the character’s point of view, alternative endings to stories, book reports, and character analysis paragraphs are other ways to incorporate writing. Even answering comprehension questions in complete sentences helps writing skills as well. 

More Ideas:

  • Students can write a research report on a prominent person from Black History during Social Studies.
  • Students can write a fictional point of view piece on Sacajawea’s perspective after learning about her life in Social Studies. 
  • Middle schoolers can write extended fictional diary entries from Anne Frank’s perspective during History. Students can also write their own diary entries about their own lives.
  • Students can write an informative brochure on a famous inventor in Science. 
  • Students can write an explanatory piece on becoming a knight when learning about medieval times. 

How Can I Incorporate Writing Into This Activity?

When lesson planning, ask yourself: how can I incorporate writing into this activity? Even in math, students can write word problems. There are so many projects available that incorporate writing in math. While students are learning geometry, they can design a character strictly out of polygons and then write a short story about their polygon man. Students can design a zoo, calculate its area and perimeter, and then write an informative piece all about their creation. 

Integrating writing into all subject area can be accomplished. Plus, students win by having more time devoted to practicing writing.

Devote 10-15 Daily Minutes to Focused Writing

By utilizing all the steps of the writing process, one step at a time, in short, daily increments, teachers can have students write every day. 

Utilize The Writing Process

As a former Middle School English and upper elementary teacher, I would utilize the writing process to guide writing instruction in short, daily, 15-minute increments. 

Writing Prompts

I always had a writing process poster in the front of my classroom and would reference this chart constantly as we worked through a story. At the beginning of the school year, I would give students one writing prompt. I expanded to choice prompts later in the year after they were used to our writing process routine.

Typically, I assigned a fictional piece at first. I started with our Super Hero Writing Unit every September. 

Check out our Superhero Writing Unit here:

Grab yours today!

Teach Writing One Skill At a Time

In addition, I would take the first 10-15 minutes of class to devote to teaching a writing skill and allowing them time to write. 


For instance, on Day 1, we would discuss what Brainstorming means. I would guide them through my own brainstorming process, give them options on how to brainstorm, and let them have ten minutes to brainstorm.


On Day 2, we would discuss some of our ideas, and then I would teach them the skill of outlining a story, which is part of Pre-Writing, the first step of the writing process. Students would spend ten minutes outlining their stories on graphic organizers. If students needed more time, perhaps they would finish for homework or morning work the next day. 


On Day 3, students would complete further pre-writing work detailing a protagonist or antagonist, as well as their setting on graphic organizers. 


Once we were out of the pre-writing part, we would move on to the drafting step. I am a firm believer in providing templates for students as they’re first learning to write or even if they’re a writer that struggles with ideas and organization. 


A template is a way for students to see how to organize their ideas. A typical template would provide detailed information on what should be included in the introduction paragraph, in the 2nd-4th paragraphs, and then, in the conclusion. As students improve their writing skills, they could feel free to do away with the templates. Students also always have flexibility with their stories. They didn’t have to follow the template, but it was a guide when needed. 

An example of the template would include information on what to put in each paragraph. The template would show students that they needed to introduce their main character, describe them physically, and introduce the setting in the first paragraph. The template can be used as a conductor, guiding the student to learn how to properly organize and provide adequate details in a story.

Writing Skills

Once we were in the drafting step of the writing process, I would utilize about 5-8 minutes at the beginning of class to teach a skill such as wonderful first lines and how to organize an introduction paragraph and then have students spend the next 10 minutes writing their introduction paragraph.

Sometimes, depending on the class, students would need longer for me to teach a skill. If that were the case, I would use 15 minutes to teach the skill one day, and then the next day, students would spend 15 minutes writing the introduction paragraph. 

Build Writing Stamina

Students have to build stamina to write for a concentrated amount of time, just like independent reading. By utilizing mini-lessons, and a short amount of time to write every day, students can build their stamina in a non-overwhelming way. By writing daily even if for a short amount of time, students are continually building on their writing skills.

Clip Chart

As students get into the writing process and are drafting their story, allow as much time as needed. Some students will write their rough draft pretty quickly whereas others may need more time. I utilized a clip chart to detail where everyone was in the process. A simple list written on the board can also suffice. Maybe five students are still on their rough draft, but six students are in the editing process. 

Peer Editing and Revision

Once one student has finished their rough draft, I would explain to the entire class the next step, which is peer editing and revising, and then teach them how to do this with a detailed checklist. Sometimes, I was the peer editor for a student if only one was finished. Students would exchange their writing with a peer, and work through a checklist and suggestion sheet while revising the other’s story. Fifteen minutes would be devoted to this as well. 

Grammatical Editing

Once a student was through the peer revision process, they would meet with me one-on-one for grammatical editing. A question I get often is: What do the other students do if they’re waiting to meet with me one-on-one? 

What to Do in the Mean Time?

I would have them work independently on another assignment. This could include homework such as a vocabulary workshop, spelling words, or even read silently. They could even go back to revise their story based on their peer’s suggestions or wait to meet with me and then combine both their peer’s input and my suggestions at once when writing their final drafts. 

Remain Fluid

The important part of utilizing this approach is to remain fluid and realize it will take some time to get every student’s story written. I typically would spend a whole month on one story this way. At the end of the month, students had created well-written, detailed stories, that utilized each step of the writing process. 

One Week a Month Devote Everything to Writing: Easier Than You Think

Some months, I would complete this particular approach. Instead of devoting fifteen minutes a day to writing, we would take one week a month to work through the writing process. Our entire language arts lessons that week would be devoted to writing.

Each day would be a step in the writing process. Then, the other weeks in the month, I would use the cross-curricular avenue to emphasize daily writing. This worked well depending on our needs as a class. If we had just finished a novel, this was a great way to take a breather from reading before diving into another book.

One of the downfalls to this approach is some students need more time than one week. With this, their story would need to be finished independently into the next week. With the fifteen-minute daily way, the teacher can expand into the next month if needed and then set a concrete due date. Then, some students may have to finish on their own. 

Daily Journal

When teaching elementary school, students would complete a daily journal entry for morning work. This should take about 15 minutes a day. Oftentimes, this included them answering a question in a paragraph. The same daily 15-minute writing approach can work for daily journals as well.

Spend some time teaching the skill and have students spend the rest of the time on their writing piece. Students would simply work through the writing process on a story during morning work. I would walk around and meet with each student about their writing one-on-one as they finished. Students that had completed their daily journals would work on centers or independent work until I could discuss their work.  

Writing Units

Check out our other writing resources that implement the writing process here!

Grab yours today!

Grab yours today!

Grab yours today!

Grab yours today!


Squeezing in writing is totally doable on a busy daily schedule! By utilizing cross-curricular teaching, writing can be taught in a comprehensive, rigorous, and albeit, fun way! Additionally, teachers can use the writing process in short, 15-minute daily writing times. Or they can devote one week of language arts lessons a month to focused writing. Daily journal entries during morning work can also be a quick way to incorporate writing. The important concept to remember is that the more a student writes, the better they become at writing. Writing at some point every day, even if it’s not during Language Arts, creates skilled writers. Squeezing in writing is just as easy and achievable as squeezing in our morning coffee time. You may find yourself looking forward to it just as much!

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