poetry activities middle school

11 Fun Poetry Activities Middle School Students Will Love

Did you know April is National Poetry Month? I’m so excited for it. I love, love, love poetry, and I want your middle schoolers to love it too! Writing poetry got me through some tough times as an angsty middle schooler and teen, so I always look forward to exploring poetry with my students. I hope some of these poetry activities for middle school will help you get excited about teaching poetry to your students too!

Outdoor Poetry Activities for Middle School

Learning is always more fun in the sun! Here’s a  super simple outdoor writing activity  you can use with your class on the next sunny day. Take students outside and challenge them to pick one thing that they think is beautiful (and yes, it should be a  thing,  not a person…). Get them to describe that item with the most vivid language possible. You could also challenge them to use only figurative language. Later, have them to pick their favourite phrases and build a poem around them.

If you’re teaching students how to write haikus, there’s no better place to be than in the great outdoors! Traditionally, haikus are written about nature, which makes this lesson the perfect opportunity for outdoor learning. I have this vision of finding a cherry blossom tree near my school and getting my students to sit around it as they write some haikus…

poetry activities middle school

Half the fun of writing poetry is getting to share it. Have your students make a  poetry walk  on the school grounds with sidewalk chalk. Give them all a section of the sidewalk and let them write one of their favourite poems! For this activity, shorter poems like couplets and haikus are generally better. They’re easier for people passing by to read, and they’re easy to write with fat pieces of chalk.

poetry activities middle school

Teaching Rhyme or Structure

Games for teaching rhyme.

Rhyme Challenges  are one of the easiest poetry activities middle school teachers can use to help students practice rhyme. Put a one-syllable word up on the board, break students into groups, and challenge them to come up with as many rhyming words as possible. Then, as a class, take some time to share all the words students brainstormed. To make this into a competition, coordinate with another teacher so your classes can compete

One thing to note: many students will find that coming up with multisyllabic rhymes are difficult. If you want to incentivise them to think out of the box, tell them each syllable is worth one point! These challenges are a great opportunity to model how you come up with rhymes. Personally, I do a mental run-through of the alphabet. For example, if I’m rhyming with “cat”, I’d think  bat, chat, drat, fat,  etc. 

Around the World  is another one of those fun poetry activities middle school students will love. Begin by having all but one of the students sit in their seats. That one student stands behind a classmate. This is the starting point. On the count of three, the teacher calls out a word. The student who is standing and the student sitting in front of them both try to think of a word that rhymes. Whoever comes up with one first gets to move on and stand behind the next student. The person who loses this round sits in the seat, whether that means they stay where they were seated or trade places with the person they were standing behind. The challenge is to see if any students can make it ‘around the world’ (around the classroom and back to the seat they started in).

Buzz In: A Game for Poetic Structure

If you’re teaching a poetic structure with rules, like limericks or haikus, here’s a fun way to practice them. I call it Buzz In,  but it’s really just gamified collective writing. Start off by picking a particular poetic form. For this example, let’s go with limericks. Choose three or four students to come up to the front and give each one buzzers or some way to signal when they’re ready. 

Tell students the first line of the poem they’ll be “playing”. For this example, let’s start with – “There once was a girl whose name was Ann.”

The first student to buzz in and share a second line gets to stay in the game. Perhaps they say something like, “who played in an angry rock band.” The students who did not buzz in first return to their desks.

  • Call three more students up. Recite the two lines of the poem as it currently stands. 
  • Whoever buzzes in first with the next line gets to stay. The others return to their desks.
  • Continue until the poem is complete.
  • See if students can break the class record for staying in the game for the most rounds! 

poetry activities middle school

Analyzing Poetry Activities

Poetry puzzles.

  • The first student to buzz in and share a second line gets to stay in the game. Perhaps they say something like, “who played in an angry rock band”. The other three return to their desks.
  • Call three more students up. Recite the two lines that you have now (yours and the one from the student who won the last round).
  • Whoever buzzes in first with the next line gets to stay, and the others return to their desks.

Cross-Curricular Poetry Analysis

If you teach multiple subjects,  consider tying poetry into a math unit on patterns . Patterning and rhyme schemes go hand in hand! You can even tie in math, poetry, and art, by having students represent the rhyme scheme of a poem in a visual arts piece.

Another way you can make your poetry unit cross-curricular is by having students  represent a poem through dance, drama, visual arts, or music . Students could come up with a short skit that showcases an event they think may have inspired their chosen poem. They could also create an illustrated poetry anthology. I have criteria and rubrics available for a poetry anthology project  here .

If you’re looking for guaranteed buy-in for your middle school poetry unit, bring in some music by sending students on a  Music Hunt ! Get them to look for songs that have examples of specific literary devices or follow a particular rhyme scheme. Let them play the song for their classmates (as long as it’s school-appropriate, of course), and demonstrate how it fits the criteria.

poetry activities middle school

Poetry Books for Middle School

I ntroduce your students to the world of free verse poetry! It’ll blow the minds of kids who were raised to think   Cat in the Hat   was the height of poetic sophistication. Here are some free verse poetry books middle school students will love:

  • Inside Out and Back Again  by Thanhha Lai
  •  Forget Me Not  by Ellie Terry
  • Other Words for Home  by Jasmine Warga
  • Anything by  Kwame Alexander
  • Here Was Paradise  by Humberto A’kabal

Looking for something shorter? Try out  Can I Touch You r  Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship . It’s a picture book written from the perspectives of a white girl and Black boy who are paired together for a poetry project… what a great anchor text for a poetry unit!

Just because you’re teaching big kids, it doesn’t mean that you have to ditch your rhyming picture books! Older kids enjoy a just-for-fun read aloud too. You can totally use simple poetry books for middle school lessons. Make your students work a little by pausing as you read and getting them to shout out their rhyme predictions. Some of my favourite go-to books for rhyme predicting are  Thelma the Unicorn ,  The Girl Who Thought in Pictures , and  The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes .  If you want to be extra tricky, you can cover the rhyming words with sticky notes.

poetry activities middle school

Poetry Activities as Morning Work

If you’re into morning work, try some of these poetry warm up activities!

  • Free verse  can be daunting for young writers who are used to thinking of poetry as words that rhyme. It’s almost like they’re intimidated by the lack of structure! Attempting it in small, manageable chunks with familiar topics makes it much less scary. For example, you might have students write a free verse poem about their happy place as a morning work activity.
  • Finish This:  Begin by putting part of a poem on the board; it can be one you made up or something you found online or in a book. Challenge students to come up with the rest of the poem, then take some time to let volunteers share their completed poems with the class. It’s so neat to see all the different ways students run with the same text!

poetry activities middle school

Poetry Teaching Activities: Gallery Walk or Pass-Along

 Middle school students are old enough to stretch themselves when it comes to poetry. We can start expecting them to move away from basic rhymes. And, for the love of all things literary, we can ditch those horrid “I Am” poems. Any poem that works as a fill-in-the-blank is not going to stretch your students as writers.

If we want students to write quality poetry that doesn’t sound like they used a template, we need to actually expose them to high-quality poetry. We need them to know that poetry can take many different forms. Here’s the thing, even the best poets in the world are not going to excel in every poetic form… and that’s OK. When teaching poetry, I think it’s important to let students experiment with a bunch of different poetic forms so they can find what makes their hearts sing.

If we want students to write poetry that doesn't sound like they used a template, we need to actually expose them to high-quality poetry.

This is where one of my favourite poetry teaching activities comes in:   poetry gallery walks !   This set of poetry gallery walk posters features example poems for nine different poetic forms. Before I  introduce a new poetic form, students can go on a poetry gallery walk to explore some examples. I always like to see if they can figure out the ‘rules’ of the poetic form as they go.

Students move at their own pace and don’t have to read all the examples, but they should read at least a few. Afterward, we debrief by talking about what the poems had in common and what made them different. We share favourite lines and see if anyone has questions or comments they’d like to share about the meanings of or words in the poems. I like this structure because it makes the students do the work of figuring things out on their own rather than just listening to me tell them the  ‘rules’.

If space is limited in your room, see if you can use space in the hallways or outside for your gallery walks! I often do mine outdoors; our portable is magnetic, so I just stick the posters in whiteboard pockets and hang them up with magnetic whiteboard clips. However, if space isn’t available, you can also do a poetry pass-along with these little poetry cards (see below)!

Text reads: Poetry gallery walk or pass-around. Pictures of a poetry poster and a little poetry card are on either side.

Looking for more poetry teaching ideas for middle school or upper-elementary?

If so, check out  this blog post  that outlines how to structure a middle school poetry unit!

Teaching poetry in upper elementary and middle school. Features pictures of poetry sample cards, a slideshow with a poem to analyse, and a page from a middle-schooler's poetry book.

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11 poetry activities middle school students will love

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40 Inspiring Poetry Games and Activities for Kids and Teens

They are poets, and they know it!

poetry activities feature image

Tired of hearing groans when you announce it’s time for some poetry? Poems can be hard for kids to connect with, so it helps to have some clever poetry games and poetry activities up your sleeve. Try these with our favorite poems for sharing with elementary students and middle and high school students !

(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)

Our Favorite Poetry Games and Activities

1. watch poetry videos.

Screenshot from a poetry video about personification

Let YouTube do some of the work for you with this roundup of poetry videos for elementary students . See authors read their own poems, learn about poetry terms, and more.

2. Climb a hill with Amanda Gorman

Picture of Amanda Gorman and a book about her poem The Hill We Climb

Young poet Amanda Gorman took the world by storm when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration. Kids can really relate to her and her words, so try this roundup of poetry activities to introduce her in your classroom.

3. Take inspiration from nature

Poem called Bumblebee: Planning for Spring, with a picture of a bee (Poetry Activities)

Nature has always provided inspiration for poets, and it can help your students find their own way to a love of poetry. Find out how poet David Harrison uses nature to help kids tap into their poetic sides here.

4. Read a novel in verse

Collage of novels in verse

Help kids find more meaning in poetry by reading novels told in verse. When they have a story to follow, they’re more likely to be engaged and open to learning about the poetic elements. Here are some of our favorite novels in verse for students of all ages.

5. Stack up book spine poetry

Books lined up so the titles on their spines form a poem (Poetry Games and Activities)

Pull some books off the shelves and stack them so their titles create a poem. Kids can take a pic, write the titles down as they are, or use their stack as inspiration for a more fleshed-out masterpiece.

Learn more: Living the Learning Life

6. Build a Humpty Dumpty wall

Cardboard bricks labeled with the words of Humpty Dumpty (Poetry Games and Activities)

For most of us, nursery rhymes were the first poems we read, and they’re the perfect place to start with poetry games. Write words on building blocks ( try this set of Giant Cardboard Blocks from Amazon ), then stack them up to build a wall. Kids will get a kick out of these poetry activities by knocking the wall down and then building it up again!

Learn more: Toddler Approved

7. Plant a poe-tree

Paper tree hung with paper leaves with poems written on them

“ I think that I shall never see / a poem as lovely as a poe-tree!” Hang a paper tree, then fill it with leaves covered with poetry from your students.

Learn more: HarperCollins

8. Try paper bag poetry

Student wearing a cloth blindfold and reaching into a paper bag

Introduce poetry to little ones with a paper bag filled with several items of different sizes, shapes, textures, etc. Kids reach into the bag without looking and describe what they feel in a few words. These words make their first poem. This is one of the great poetry activities for younger students.

Learn more: Bulldog Readers and Bobcats Blog

9. Explore a Poem of the Week

Student using a pointer to point out the words of a poem made using sentence strips in a pocket chart

We love the idea of using a pocket chart with sentence strips to post a poem broken down by lines or phrases. Do a different activity each day throughout the week to help students make a connection.

Learn more: Proud To Be Primary

10. Go on a poetry speed date

Whiteboard ledge lined with poetry books; text reads Teaching Poetry

This is a cool way to introduce older readers to a poetry unit. Gather up all the poetry books you can find, and invite students to bring their favorites too. Students spend the class period “speed dating” the books—they simply browse and skim, looking for poems and authors that catch their eye. Encourage them to make notes of their favorites for further reading.

Learn more: Nouvelle ELA

11. Have a poetry book tasting

Table set to look like a restaurant, with poetry books at each place setting

Here’s a cool spin on the speed-dating idea—a book tasting! Set up your room to look like a restaurant, play classical music in the background, and then invite students to sit down and try a variety of poetry books. Get more ideas on how to hold a book tasting here.

12. Pair up songs and poems

Text against a brick background reading

One of the easiest ways for many students to connect with poetry is by linking it with song lyrics. Visit the link below to find 15 fantastic song and poem pairings. Then, challenge your students to make their own pairings and explain the reasoning.

Learn more: The Literary Maven

13. Read poetry in different ways

Poetry book with cards suggesting different voices like

Poetry is all about the reader’s (or listener’s) experience. Experiment with that idea by having kids read poems out loud in a variety of ways. How does it change the experience when you read a sad poem in a silly voice or a funny poem in a scared voice?

Learn more: The Classroom Nook/Poetry Voices

14. Spin to generate discussion

Printable spinner with discussion questions about poetry

A poetry discussion can be hard going for kids at first. Use this free printable spinner to give them conversation starters or to help them choose a topic for further exploration.

Learn more: Poetry Spinner/The Classroom Game Nook

15. Create colorful paint chip poetry

Paint sample chip in shades of orange with descriptive sentences about the color orange

This is easily one of the most popular poetry games, and for good reason. Colors are so easy to relate to and evoke lots of feelings and memories. Paint chip poetry works for every age group, too, and makes for a neat classroom display.

Learn more: Fabulous in Fifth

16. Expand on paint chip poetry

Printed paint chip poetry worksheets in shades of blue

Feeling a little guilty about furtively stuffing paint chips in your pocket at the store? These printable paint chip poetry games are here to help. They include multiple ways to use paint chips for poetic inspiration too!

Learn more: Building Book Love

17. Have a “Hey Diddle, Diddle” puppet show

Paper cow and banana with craft supplies and the poem Hey Diddle Diddle

Nursery rhyme poems were just made to be acted out! Create stick puppets for “Hey Diddle, Diddle” using the instructions at the link, then expand to your other favorite rhymes to assemble a whole puppet show.

Learn more: All Kids Network

18. Compose acrostics

Acrostic poem for the word Spring with illustrations around the edge (Poetry Games and Activities)

Acrostics are simple enough for beginning poets, but even Edgar Allan Poe used this style to create beautiful works. Writing one is almost like putting together a puzzle!

Learn more: My Poetic Side

19. Match DIY rhyming dominoes

Paper dominos with words on each end, matched by rhymes (Poetry Games and Activities)

Rhyming poetry games are a lot of fun, and this one starts with some DIY dominoes made from sentence strips . This is a clever way to help kids find rhymes for writing their own poems.

Learn more: No Time for Flash Cards

20. Scoop up some ice cream poetry

Colorful illustration of an ice cream cone with six scoops with creative flavor names like Cabbage Cricket Crunch

Jack Prelutsky’s “ Bleezer’s Ice Cream ” is a kids’ poetry classic, and it’s sure to spark your students’ imaginations. Have them write and illustrate their own ice cream poems, with a focus on alliteration and other literary devices.

Learn more:  Creative Curriculum

21. Give haiku a hand

Outline of a hand with the letters H A I K U written on each finger and 5-7-5 on the palm (Poetry Games and Activities)

Haiku poems with their standard 5-7-5 syllable structure are fun to write. And let’s face it, most of us count the syllables on our fingers when we do! So this haiku helping hand is a perfect tool for kids. Have kids trace their own hand and write a haiku on it too.

Learn more: The Techie Teacher and Our Favorite Haiku Poems for Kids

22. Fetch a doggie haiku

Dogku book with illustrated haiku poems about dogs from Teaching Fourth

Once you start with haiku, there’s just so much you can do! Elementary kids will love hearing the story of Doug, a dog looking for his forever home, in Dogku by Andrew Clements . As you might guess, the tale is told entirely in haiku. After you read the book, have kids create and illustrate their own “Dogku” poems.

Learn more: Teaching Fourth

23. Roll the haiku dice

Cubes with words on each side, arranged to form a haiku (Poetry Games and Activities)

These are so cool! Haikubes are perfect for all sorts of poetry games. Roll the cubes and create a haiku, or draw a handful from a bag and use them to make your poem. You can use these for other poetry activities too.

Buy it: Haikubes on Amazon

24. Craft 3D tunnel haiku books

Paper haiku book with illustrations and cutouts

Haiku are fun to write, but a 3D tunnel haiku book is next-level awesome. This project looks harder than it is; all you really need are index cards, basic school supplies, and a lot of creativity.

Learn more: Teach Kids Art

25. Be a copycat

Raindrop Rhymes worksheet showing two large raindrops with pictures drawn in them and rhyming lines (Poetry Games and Activities)

We’re normally opposed to copying in the classroom, but for this activity, it’s A-OK! Kids write poems that mimic one they’ve been reading in class. This helps open their minds to the creativity they need to write their own unique verses later on down the line.

Learn more: One Sharp Bunch

26. Draw a concrete poem

Concrete poem written around the shape of an open book

Concrete poems are art and poetry rolled into one. Kids write a poem on any subject they like, then craft it into a shape reflecting their topic. Tip: Use a light board to allow kids to trace shapes if they find drawing a bit too challenging.

Learn more: The Room Mom

27. Play Poetry Bingo

Printable Poetry Bingo worksheet with pen and paper markers

Is there anything bingo can’t do? Turns out it even works for poetry games! Get free printable sheets to use for this Poetry Bingo game that reviews literary devices and vocabulary terms.

Learn more: Teaching With Jennifer Findley

28. Keep a poem in your pocket

Keep a Poem in Your Pocket bulletin board with denim pockets full of paper slips (Poetry Games and Activities)

There are lots of poem-in-your-pocket activities out there, but we love this one for its sheer creativity! During independent reading time, kids explore and find their favorite poem to share with classmates. After they share, they tuck them in a pocket on this spectacular hallway bulletin board for others to find and read. (Turn this into an online activity by using an online bulletin board program like Padlet .)

Learn more: Pleasures From the Page

29. Design your own poetry dice

Large cubes with dry-erase surfaces, with clauses written on each side

Learn about clauses when you make a set of dice to use for poetry games. Grab this set of Dry-Erase Blocks from Amazon and write dependent clauses on one and independent clauses on the other. Roll the dice and enjoy the verses you create!

Learn more: Education.com

30. Learn limericks with a rhyming word bank

Printable worksheet from School a Monkey to help kids write rhyming poetry

Kids love limericks —and really, who doesn’t? Their biggest challenge is usually coming up with the rhymes they need. This cool poetry activity creates a bank of rhyming words students can pull from as they craft their own lovable limericks to share.

Learn more: STEAMsational

31. Color in blackout poetry

Blackout poetry with colored pens

Blackout poems are a unique way of looking at the written word. This activity is easily differentiated for students from elementary through high school, and the results are often stunning.

Learn more: What Is Blackout Poetry (Plus Inspiring Examples and Ideas)

32. Post some pushpin poetry

poetry activities middle school

Remember when poetry magnets were all the rage? You can still buy them ( find them here on Amazon ), but you can also just create your own from paper scraps and pushpins. This is a low-cost way to open the door to so many poetry games and activities.

Learn more: Residence Life Crafts

33. Make magnetic poetry online

Speaking of poetry magnets, did you know you can play with them online? Really! This clever site gives you new words every time, so there are always fresh new ideas to explore.

Learn more: Magnetic Poetry Online

34. Say it with sticky notes

Words written on sticky notes arranged into a poem (Poetry Games and Activities)

We love using sticky notes in the classroom , and they’re fantastic for poetry games. Have kids write a selection of words of their choice and stick them to the wall or whiteboard. Then let each student select words to use for their own verses.

Learn more: Secondary English Coffee Shop 

35. Prove that opposites attract

Paper divided in half with ocean on one side and desert on the other, with a poem in the middle

Even polar opposites can share similarities. For this poetry activity, students choose two opposite subjects, like the ocean and desert shown here. The middle line of the poem highlights the one similarity between the pair and acts as a transition (in this case: sand). Illustrations help tell the story.

Learn more: Joy in the Journey

36. Find poetry everywhere

Found poem made up of words cut from magazines (Poetry Games and Activities)

Found poetry is likely to become one of your students’ favorite poetry games. Give them a stack of magazines, newspapers, or books to look through, along with a pair of scissors. Have them cut out words and phrases they like, and then arrange them into a brand-new poetic masterpiece!

Learn more: There’s Just One Mommy

37. Start with simple cinquains

Cinquain poem worksheet with an illustration of a spider in the grass

Cinquains are five-line poems with a specific structure. There are a variety of styles, but this poetry activity walks kids through the creation of a simple cinquain on any topic they like. This is a neat way to work on “-ing” words (known as gerunds ). Bonus: This free printable Character Cinquains worksheet can be used with any book or story.

Learn more: Teaching With Terhune

38. Learn metaphors and similes

Poetry game with printable game board, cards, and worksheets

Similes and metaphors are two of the most common literary devices found in poems. Help kids learn to tell the difference with this free printable game.

Learn more: The Classroom Nook

39. Take inspiration from metaphor dice

Metaphor dice with words written on each side

The right metaphor is the gateway to a unique and meaningful poem. Roll these dice to find a metaphor that will inspire and challenge your young poets.

Buy it: Metaphor Dice on Amazon

40. Host a poetry slam

poetry activities middle school

Round off your poetry unit with a poetry slam ! These events are a combination of recitations and poetry games, like freestyle rhyme battles. This is the ultimate event for poetry lovers of any age. Hold it in person, or stream it on Zoom so anyone can easily attend!

Learn more: How To Host a Poetry Slam and Slam Poetry Examples

Don’t miss our FREE printable poetry worksheet bundle !

What are your favorite poetry activities come share your ideas on the weareteachers helpline group on facebook ., looking for more poetry to use in the classroom check out our list of the best poetry books for kids in grades k-12 ..

Having trouble getting your students to embrace poetry? Try these poetry games and activities, with terrific options for every grade K-12.

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30 Captivating Poetry Activities for Middle School Students

poetry activities for middle school

September 30, 2022 //  by  Christina Swiontek

Are you tired of using the same poetry lessons year after year? If so, it may be time to update your teaching toolbox. It is important for teachers to create captivating content that motivates students to learn about poetry. Incorporating online resources for teaching poetry is an effective way to make learning poetry fun. Students will always learn best when they are interested and actively engaged.

I hope these 30 resources will help turn your middle school students into poets!

1. Poetry in Motion Baseball


This is the perfect activity if you have learners that are interested in baseball or sports in general. You will need a stack of poems printed out and enough students to create two teams. What an awesome way to connect poetry to playing sports!

Learn more: Bored Teachers

2. Friendship Poetry


Students will be tasked with writing their own poems to commemorate an experience with a friend. They will also have the option of sharing the poem with their special friend. I love this because it encourages students to be in the moment.

Learn more: Joanne the Poet

3. Studying Song Lyrics


Analyzing song lyrics can be very appealing to the music lovers in your classroom. You can easily connect song lyrics to the elements of poetry. I recommend using popular songs that are school-appropriate for this activity. Students will also be eager to select their own songs.

Learn more: Gem Tracks

4. Poetry Prompts


Sometimes the most challenging part of writing a poem is getting started. One way to support students in getting started is by providing writing prompts for them to choose from. This is an awesome way to guide beginning writers.

Learn more: Doodle Learning

5. Acting Out Poetry


Bring poetry to life by acting out poems in your classroom. This will be especially captivating for students involved with drama clubs or community acting groups. This hands-on activity will allow your students to not only read poetry but interact with poetry in a unique way.

Learn more: Homeschool Resource Room

6. Word Mover


Word Mover is an online poetry game that allows students to interact with the text to form poems. This is a fun poetry activity that will engage students with technology and encourage them to think creatively. A graphic organizer can be used to supplement this activity.

Learn more: Read Write Think

7. Digital Poetry Escape Room


Poetry escape rooms are a great way to immerse middle schoolers in the learning experience. They will be prompted to solve a variety of problems to solve on their own or in teams. This promotes exposure to poetry and engages students in critical thinking .

Learn more: Amped Up Learning

8. Poetry Slam Class Competition


Creating slam poetry allows students to focus more on the enjoyment of poetry rather than the technical aspect of writing. This activity is a great way for students to build self-confidence and support one another. Check out this resource to learn more and see examples of slam poetry.

Learn more: Study Smarter

9. Blackout Poems


Blackout poetry is a type of found poetry in which students will scan through pages of existing text and highlight words that create a poem. Blackout poetry can also double as an art project!

Learn more: Chomping at the Lit

10. Moving to Poetry


Body movements can be added to motivate students to read. This can be applied to teaching the basics of poetry.  Movements can be choreographed with poetry for elementary students through high school. What a great way to get the blood flowing and the brain ready for learning!

Learn more: Edutopia

11. Collage Poems 


If you are looking for a cool poetry activity, you may be interested in having your students make collage poetry. You can gather all kinds of materials for this project. Students will cut out words from magazines to craft poems and create a one-of-a-kind collage.

Learn more: Tate

12. Poetry Wall


A poetry wall is a useful space for students to post their favorite poems.  The poems can be modern-day song lyrics they enjoy or poems they encounter in their everyday lives. You can use colorful paper to decorate the poetry wall and students can be creative with their designs.

Learn more: Just Add Students

13. Haikubes Game


Are you interested in having your students play a clever poetry game? If so, you might want to check out Haikubes.  This is a fun game for students with basic instructions that are easy to follow. Students will be engaged with creative thinking while learning about Haiku poetry .

Learn more: Amazon

14. Mad Libs Inspired Poetry


Mad libs are even more entertaining when you use them to learn poetry. You can put this activity into action by selecting any poem and removing several adjectives, nouns, verbs, and adverbs. Students will replace them with their own words. Then students will read their new poems and laugh together.

Learn more: Advancement Courses

15. Poetry Workshop


Poetry writing workshops are a great way for students to practice writing poetry. You can focus on a specific form of poetry or allow students to choose their own types of poems. Students can work with a partner for a more collaborative poem activity.

Learn more: Chick Time

16. Brain Pop Poetry


Brain Pop is an online resource with a ton of fun games for students of all grade levels. The poetry games are interactive and will challenge students as they practice their skills. This is definitely a top favorite poetry activity for students and teachers.

Learn more: Brain Pop Jr.

17. Catch the Beat 


Catch the Beat is a game that teaches students about using meters in poetry. Students will sit in a circle and pass a small drum to one another. The player with the drum will be expected to drum along with the beat of the poem as it is read aloud.

Learn more: Imagination Soup

18. Silly Poems


There are many techniques that are useful exercises for poetry writing. Having students write silly poems is one of those techniques. They will select a consonant sound they will use consistently throughout the poem using a prompt. This activity is fun and entertaining for middle school students.

Learn more: Write Shop

19. Revolting Rhymes Activities


"Revolting Rhymes" is a poetry book by Roald Dahl. These companion activities are suitable for elementary grades and middle school students. Students will be entertained by the humorous writing style of Roald Dahl.

Learn more: Pen & the Pad

20. Printable Poetry Worksheets


There are several free printable worksheets to help your students understand poetry. These worksheets are enjoyable because they include engaging topics such as "I Think My Dad is Dracula" and "I Eat Spaghetti with a Spoon" just to name a couple.

Learn more: Poetry 4 Kids

21. Acrostic Name Poetry


Students will use their names to create their own poetry!  I love this activity because they can think creatively and use words that positively represent them. This is a great way to include social-emotional learning in your poetry lesson.

Learn more: Scholastic

22. Magnetic Poetry Tiles


Magnetic poetry tiles allow children to interact with words. This kit includes everything you need to assemble various poems, stories, and phrases. I would recommend allowing students to work together to create their own poems.

23. Poetry Puzzle Set


If your students love puzzles, they will enjoy working on this poetry puzzle set. This set includes many different types of poetry puzzles including word finds, crossword puzzles , and more. These puzzles can be used as a center activity.

Learn more: Etsy

 24. Poem-a-Day


Poem-a-Day is a fantastic resource for teaching poetry. It is a digital daily poetry series that includes over 250 new poems every year. This would be a great idea to incorporate into a morning meeting or daily class routine.

Learn more: Poem-a-Day

25. Poetry in America


Poetry in America is a useful website that allows children to explore poetry on their own. My favorite is the inspiring video based on "I Cannot Dance Upon My Toes" by Emily Dickinson.

Learn more: PBS Learning Media

26. Poems in Motion


Another video-based resource worth exploring is motion poems for teens by the Poetry Foundation. This resource is helpful for middle schoolers because it helps with understanding the content.

Learn more: Poetry Foundation

27. Poetry Contests


If you have students that are gifted writers of poetry, you may be interested in researching poetry contests for them to join. Poetry contests are a fun way for students to compete and show off their poetry writing skills.

Learn more: Poetry Teatime

28. Poetry Archive Challenges


There are many resources available through the Children's Poetry Archive. One of my favorite activities for middle school is called "The River" by Valerie Bloom. This activity appeals to the senses to immerse students into the poetry experience.

Learn more: Children's Poetry Archive

29. Poetry Machine


Poetry machine is a fun online game for students. First, they will click on the type of poem they wish to create. Then, they will be prompted to answer some guiding questions. This is an excellent resource to help students with creating an original poem.

Learn more: Poetry Games

30. Picture-Inspired Poetry


Picture-inspired poetry is a great way to motivate students to write poetry. For this activity, you will need to collect pictures or picture books. The text will be covered so students can create their own interpretation of the pictures using poetry.

Learn more: Kids Konnect

superhero preschool activities

3 Poetry Activities for Middle School Students

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poetry activities middle school

  • B.A., American Studies, Yale University

Middle school is the perfect time to introduce students to  poetry . By providing students with opportunities to explore a variety of forms, you'll give them the freedom to discover which types of poetry most resonate with them. Engaging, short lessons are an excellent way to hook your students on poetry right away. 

Ekphrastic Poetry

Ekphrastic poetry allows students to use poetry to describe a work of art or landscape in vivid detail. They may be less intimidated by this type of poetry, which encourages them to write about something rather than compose poetry from their imaginations.

  • Introduce the concept of ekphrasis.
  • Write a 10- to 15-line poem based on a work of art. 
  • Paper and pencils
  • Printouts or projector to display artwork reproductions 
  • Ekphrasis: Definitions and Examples 
  • Art Words List and Critique Term Bank 
  • Introduce students to the term "ekphrasis." Explain that an ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by a work of art. 
  • " Edward Hopper and the House by the Railroad " by Edward Hirsch
  • " American Gothic " by John Stone 
  • What do you see? What is happening in the artwork? 
  • What is the setting and time period?
  • Is there a story being told? What are the subjects in the artwork thinking or saying? What is their relationship? 
  • What emotions does the artwork make you feel? What are your sensory reactions?
  • How would you summarize the theme or main idea of the artwork?
  • As a group, begin the process of turning the observations into an ekphrastic poem by circling words/phrases and using them to compose the first few lines of a poem. Encourage the students to use poetic techniques such as alliteration, metaphor , and personification .
  • Describing the experience of looking at the artwork
  • Telling the story of what's happening in the artwork
  • Writing from the perspective of the artist or subjects 
  • Share a second artwork with the class and invite the students to spend five to 10 minutes writing down their thoughts about the painting. 
  • Instruct the students to select words or phrases from their free associations and use them as the starting point for a poem. The poem need not follow any formal structure but should be between 10 and 15 lines. 
  • Invite the students to share and discuss their poems in small groups. Afterward, reflect on the process and experience as a class. 

Lyrics as Poetry

Make connections between poetry and songs with which your students are familiar. You may find that your students enjoy examining poetry more readily when it is presented in the form of lyrics.

  • Identify similarities and differences between song lyrics and poetry.
  • Discuss how language can create a tone or mood .
  • Speakers to play music 
  • Printouts or projector to display song lyrics
  • Contemporary Songs With Metaphors  
  • Popular Songs With Similes  
  • Choose a song that is likely to appeal to your students. Familiar songs (e.g., current hits, famous movie-musical songs) with broad, relatable themes (belonging, change, friendship) will work best.
  • Introduce the lesson by explaining that you're going to explore the question of whether song lyrics can be considered poetry.
  • Invite the students to listen closely to the song as you play it for the class.
  • Next, share the song lyrics, either by passing out a printout or projecting them on the board. Ask the students to read the lyrics aloud.
  • Invite the students to brainstorm similarities and differences between the song lyrics and poetry.
  • As key terms emerge (repetition, rhyme, mood, emotions), write them on the board. 
  • When the conversation turns to theme, discuss how the songwriter conveys that theme. Ask the students to point out particular lines that support their ideas and what emotions those lines evoke. 
  • Discuss how the emotions evoked by the lyrics connect to the rhythm or tempo of the song. 
  • At the end of the lesson, ask the students if they believe all songwriters are poets. Encourage them to use background knowledge as well as specific evidence from the class discussion to support their points. 

Slam Poetry Detectives

Slam poetry blends poetry with performance art. The audience of a slam poet participates in readings by scoring the performance. Encourage your students to explore this form of poetry by allowing them to identify poetic devices by watching videos of slam poetry performances.

  • Introduce slam poetry. 
  • Reinforce knowledge of poetic devices and techniques.
  • Videos of slam poetry performances (e.g., Taylor Mali , Harry Baker , Marshall Davis Jones )
  • Projector and speakers to play videos
  • Handout with list of common poetic devices  
  • 25 Slam Poems Appropriate for Middle School and High School
  • Introduce the lesson by explaining that the activity will focus on slam poetry. Ask the students what they know about slam poetry and if they have ever participated themselves. 
  • Provide a definition of slam poetry: short, contemporary, spoken-word poems that often describe a personal challenge or discuss an issue. 
  • Play the first slam poetry video for the students. 
  • Ask the students to compare the slam poem to written poetry they've read in previous lessons. What is similar? What is different? The conversation may naturally transition into the poetic devices present in the slam poem. 
  • Pass out a handout with a list of common poetic devices (the class should already be familiar with them).
  • Tell the students that their job is to be poetic device detectives and listen carefully for any poetic devices employed by the slam poet.
  • Play the first slam poem video again. Each time the students hear a poetic device, they should write it down on the handout.
  • Ask the students to share the poetic devices they detected. Discuss the role each device plays in the poem (e.g., repetition emphasizes an important point; imagery creates a certain mood).  
  • Use Song Lyrics (with Caution) to Teach Figures of Speech
  • Use Popular Songs to Teach Similes
  • Engage Kids With Songs That Can Teach Them About Metaphors
  • What Is a Rondeau in Poetry?
  • Best Poetry Books for Children
  • Creative Writing Prompts for High School Students
  • Super Quick Easter Activities and Ideas
  • Writing About Literature: Ten Sample Topics for Comparison & Contrast Essays
  • Miss Nelson Is Missing Lesson Plan
  • Overview of Imagism in Poetry
  • Classic Poems Set to Music
  • Patriotic Poems for Independence Day
  • Varying Assignments to Enhance Student Learning Styles
  • Valentines Day Acrostic Poem Lesson
  • Fun and Simple Mother's Day Activities for the Classroom
  • An Introduction to the Song-Like Villanelle Form of Poetry

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How to Make Poetry Writing Fun

Enjoyment opens the door to learning, and teachers can use this engaging eight-step process to encourage students’ interest in poetry.

Middle school students writing in classroom

The ode is one of the oldest poetic forms, dating back to ancient Greece, where they were used to celebrate athletic achievements, gods, emotions, or worthy people. The 19th-century British Romantic poets widened the focus, celebrating subjects as diverse as songbirds and autumn. In the 20th century, Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda famously wrote odes about everyday objects and concepts: socks, tomatoes, sadness, french fries, etc.

Students Can Write About Almost Anything, and So Can You

For my grade 6 performing arts class, I wanted to make interdisciplinary connections to the literature and language studies of Homer’s The Odyssey.  As my other middle school grades were all doing poetry recitals and writing, the ode seemed to be the obvious choice. I abandoned any idea of using classical or 19th-century odes; their strict forms and archaic language would be too intimidating. Neruda was our role model.

I started the unit by having the students select a Neruda ode to learn how to recite . The absurd, emotional, entertaining, and imaginative odes captivated the students.  You can write a poem about a lemon? You can celebrate “broken things”?

For the second part of the unit, the students had to write their own ode. This was the first year I’ve ever had students worry that they didn’t know how to write poems. It’s worth noting that the pandemic may have limited middle school students’ exposure to poetry, as schools have had to make choices about what to teach online.

So it’s now doubly important to model the process yourself. Teacher participation in the process will inspire your students and help you appreciate the challenges of what you are requiring. I wrote “Ode to My Water Bottle” as an example and then used the poetry-writing sequence below (which can be applied to any poetic form).

8 Steps for Writing and Sharing Poems

1. Pick a subject for your poem based on something you love. My students chose to celebrate the following subjects: high heels, bonsai trees, pork buns, pencils, books, chipmunks, cars, their bed, toasters, and the Marvel antihero Deadpool. The students loved the random, eclectic variety of each other’s choices.

2. Use an ideas-planning frame to brainstorm language and phrases.  Having time to accumulate ideas is essential. As I work in an international baccalaureate school, I used the conceptual language of form (what is it?), function (how does it work?), change (how does it change you?), and perspective (think from the object’s point of view). The goal is to collect as many ideas as possible. I use the analogy of panning for gold: You have to sift through a lot of mud.

3. Build poetic sentences in a notebook.  I don’t jump right into the poem. Instead, I have the students take ideas and craft rich sentences about their subject, focusing on figurative language. Students often come to the poetic writing process without an appreciation of the craft that goes into it. I teach them that the thesaurus is their new best friend . Breaking down the poetic process into manageable chunks reinforces transferable literacy skills. Once well practiced, these steps can be sped up.

It’s important to make time for your students to share their sentences, celebrate great imagery, and give each other feedback. Making this a regular event also slowly acclimates the students to the idea of sharing their own writing in a safe space for literary feedback.

4. Shape sentences into an ode form.  I select my favorite poetic sentences, and I show the students how to assemble them into verses. This is where I teach the students what a line break is and why they exist. With Neruda as our ongoing model, there is no requirement for a strict form, rhyme, or particular rhythm or meter—elements that are part of the wider literature curriculum. Instead, the only requirement is that the ode truly celebrates the subject with enthusiastic statements.

5. Edit for additional inclusion of figurative language and phrases.  The final writing stage is editing, which is when a poem’s potential can be truly realized. After all, poets spend a long time deliberating over word choices. So this is when I give specific feedback to every student, using the comment feature on Google Docs.

6. Practice reciting to friends, groups, or the class. Sharing the odes in pairs and small groups and finally the whole class was a great way to utilize those newly gained recital skills. Reading a poem aloud always catches little errors or changes, so it’s worth some last-minute time to make final edits.

7. Address students’ nervousness about sharing their work.  While the students were confident reciting Neruda’s odes, there was a noticeable decline in recital skill when it came to their own work. The students said they were nervous because this was their work, their words, their ideas. With this in mind, we had a lesson to practice in our performance space and learn how to use the microphone properly while still wearing masks.

8. Celebrate success!  We shared our work with the school community, and the parents were delighted by the range of odes, the creative use of language, and the students’ enthusiasm. Writing odes is certainly an approach I will use again and also with different grades, as odes can easily be used with much younger or older students. If you still need convincing, read “ Ode to Teachers ,” by Pat Mora.

11 Poetry Lesson Plans For Middle School

middle school poetry unit

Teach your students what a poem is as well as all the important information necessary while  teaching poetry, like: vocabulary, sound devices, types of poetry, figurative language, how to analyze a poem, and how to find rhyme scheme.

In this resource, you will receive a packet of graphic organizers/guided notes along with a Powerpoint lesson that teaches the following terminology:

poem, speaker, line, stanza, quatrain, couplet, cinquain, tercet, refrain, symbol, theme, mood

tone, imagery, juxtaposition, oxymoron, pun, paradox, allusion, proverb, foot, iamb, iambic pentameter, enjambment, anaphora, metonymy


simile, metaphor, personification, idiom, hyperbole, irony


rhyme, rhyme scheme, slant rhyme, rhythm, meter, alliteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, repetition


narrative, lyrical, haiku, ballad, sonnet, limerick, free verse, acrostic, concrete, blank verse, blues poem, elegy, ode, prose, villanelle



poetry activities middle school

Students LOVE reading and analyzing  Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” Poem.  In this activity, they will complete a  Poem Analysis & Compare/Contrast Paired Text Activity.  The paired text students will look at is Michael Jordan’s 2003 Retirement Letter, also titled  “Dear Basketball.”

In 2015, Bryant announced his retirement through “Player’s Tribune” in a poem titled “Dear Basketball.” In the poem, Bryant shares his love for the sport with the world. Bryant later earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for “Dear Basketball” in 2018.

Included in this lesson:

  • Anticipation Guide
  • “Dear Basketball” poem by Kobe Bryant, analysis and answer key
  • Paired Text Excerpt of Michael Jordan’s letter: questions and answer key
  • After Reading Poem — Creative Writing Activity

This lesson is a  poem analysis of “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost . This is a perfect side activity for the novel  The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton!

This activity also works  on its own  if you are looking just to teach about the poem itself. Your students don’t have to be reading  The Outsiders.

In Chapter 5 of The Outsiders, Ponyboy recites the poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” This poem plays a major role in the novel as it represents the universal message to stay gold and stay pure. Have your students analyze the poem and build their comprehension; it will make analyzing the theme of the book much easier later on! The poem analysis will touch on important literary elements such as: rhyme scheme, tone, theme, metaphor, alliteration, allusion, imagery, and personification.

To enhance their learning and make the lesson more engaging, students will also study a poem with a similar theme. Students will listen to the Bob Dylan song, answer the questions, analyze the lyrics, and then compare and contrast the themes present in both texts.

In this Poem Analysis and TDA Essay (Text Dependent Analysis),  students will first read and answer questions for  the poem “Out Out—” by Robert Frost.  Students will then write a TDA based on themes and figurative language in the poem.

In this lesson plan:

  • Full Poem “Out Out—” by Robert Frost (1916)
  • Poem Analysis Questions that concentrate on poetic devices (alliteration, allusion, theme, mood, tone, dialogue, connotation, rhyme scheme, juxtaposition) with ANSWER KEY
  • TDA Text Dependent Analysis Prompt and worksheets for writing
  • TDA Prewriting, planning, brainstorm Graphic Organizer for Students
  • TDA Rubric and Grading guidelines based on: content, focus, organization, style, and conventions

Writing Poetry — Haiku, Concrete, Acrostic, Limerick, Free Verse (Middle School)

Students will  write their own original poems  with this lesson and activity created for middle school students (6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th grade).

Make  writing poetry  fun for students by giving them choice! Students will first learn about five different types of poems. Then, they will choose 3 of the 5 poems they’d like to write. Students will write their rough drafts in a packet, and then finalize their work on blank pieces of paper which result in beautiful wall art for your room.

In this ELA resource, you will receive:

  • Powerpoint presentation that includes examples and definitions of the following 5 types of poems:  Haiku, Acrostic, Concrete, Limerick, and Free Verse
  • Student packet that includes: directions, requirements, and examples of all 5 poems
  • An example final draft of a limerick with colored illustration

poetry activities middle school

Teach your students all about  Blackout Poetry with this fun lesson and activity!

In this resource, you will receive:

  • Teacher Guide
  • Powerpoint lesson on Blackout Poetry with step by step directions for students to create their own blackout poems in a variety of ways
  • 10 Examples of blackout poems
  • 40 Pages of printable texts your students can use to make their own poetry
  • Editable word document Rubric and Prompt for students

This  Poetry Packet  includes 5 Poems your students will read and analyze. The poems included are suggested for a  Middle School Poetry Unit : 7th, 8th or 9th Grade ELA.

This packet is a wonderful tool because you can have students complete the analyses of the poems in a variety of ways: whole-class, independently and/or collaboratively.

The poems included in this packet are:

  • “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
  • “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
  • “We Wear The Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • “We Never Know How High We Are” by Emily Dickinson
  • “The Gardener” by Robert Louis Stevenson

In this packet, students will work on poetry skills such as: rhyme scheme, rhyme, allusion, imagery, assonance, consonance, alliteration, hyperbole, theme, tone, mood, author’s purpose, personification, and connotation.

Your students are going to love this  Poetry Digital Escape Room!  Students will read and analyze the poem  “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.

They will solve puzzles in this peaceful scene of snowy woods, glistening mountaintops, and a beautiful, serene frozen lake. In this  360°  digital escape room, students will try to escape the woods before the sun goes down! This activity is designed to work for a laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

This game requires reading comprehension strategies, knowledge of poetic devices, and critical thinking skills. Watch the preview video and see exactly what’s inside the digital escape room!

Included in this download are teacher instructions, student instructions (digital), the master lock graphic organizer, answer keys, the full text of the poem, and a reflection sheet (optional).

PLEASE READ: While using this resource, you must have a wi-fi connection and the ability to access the following sites: Google Forms and Kuula.co. Please check that these websites are not blocked by your district’s filter before purchasing. Your students do not need to have a Google account.

poetry activities middle school

Assign your students  a one pager poetry analysis project  and have your students share their understanding of ANY POEM by imaginatively blending their written ideas with colorful images from the text. You can pick one poem for your whole class to use or have all your students pick their own individual poems! Students’ artwork make for unique and creative analyses of the literature and also make great bulletin boards!

Included in this purchase is:

  • Student directions for the one pager project
  • Rubric for the one pager project
  • Example one pager (based on the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas)
  • 10 BLANK TEMPLATES (printable — optional)
  • EDITABLE word document so teachers can modify instructions or rubric

Students are encouraged to include several of these literary devices, poetic devices (sound devices), and figurative language elements into their final projects: metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, imagery, pun, oxymoron, paradox, idiom, allusion, symbolism , assonance, consonance, alliteration, anaphora, rhyme, rhyme scheme, repetition, onomatopoeia, cacophony, mood, tone, and theme.

poetry activities middle school

This resource includes a  Poetry Assessment for upper middle school  students (7th, 8th, or 9th grade ELA). You will receive a printable PDF copy as well as an  EDITABLE  word document in case you would like to make modifications. A detailed answer key is also included!

The format of this test includes:

  • 8 fill-in-the-blank questions with a word bank
  • 6 matching questions with poem types
  • 5 matching questions with sound devices
  • 5 matching questions with figurative language
  • A poetry analysis of two poems: “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Sara Teasdale and “Nature” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Students will answer 5 multiple choice questions regarding each poem
  • 1 constructed response where students will compare the themes of each poem in a fully developed paragraph

(35 questions in total)

The Poetry Test covers the following terms:

narrative poem

lyrical poem

acrostic poem




Have your students create a collaborative poster and learn about  Robert Frost  in a fun and engaging way!

Your students will create an author biography by researching Robert Frost and establishing his profile on a poster.

Students will learn about Frost and his body of work as an influential author.

Additionally, they will learn the importance of collaboration and effective communication. This project is perfect for  National Poetry Month.

Project Steps:

1) To construct the author study poster, your students will work in groups to conduct research on Robert Frost.

2) Students will then transfer their findings to boxes on the poster.

3) Next, they will work together to color or paint the pieces of the poster.

4) Lastly, students will tape together the final product.

The poster is made up of six pieces of paper, which can be printed on regular copy paper or card stock.

Once taped together, the final product will be  28″ x 15″  and can last a lifetime if you laminate it!

This resource includes the following:

  • Step by Step Student Directions (PDF & editable word document)
  • Author Study Project Rubric (PDF & editable word document)
  • Author Study Graphic Organizer for Students (PDF & editable word document)
  • 6 Blank Coloring Pages that come together as one beautiful poster (PDFs)
  • Robert Frost Author Study Answer Key
  • Example of Final Project: Completed Text & Fully Colored Body

Check out more from my LITERARY LEGENDS Collection:

  • Emily Dickinson
  • Langston Hughes
  • George Orwell
  • William Shakespeare
  • Walt Whitman

This resource is a  FULL POETRY UNIT for ELA grades: 7th, 8th, or 9th!  You will get a collection of different lessons, activities, and projects, plus a TDA essay, digital escape room, and final test! I’ve also included an example schedule for teachers to follow day-by-day!

Included in this  middle school poetry unit bundle:

  • Introduction to Poetry Lesson & Guided Notes
  • Kobe Bryant “Dear Basketball” Poem & Paired Text Michael Jordan Letter
  • “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost Poem Analysis and Paired Song
  • “Out Out” by Robert Frost Poem Analysis and TDA Essay
  • Writing Poetry/Writing Workshop: Haiku, Concrete, Acrostic, Limerick, Free Verse
  • Blackout Poetry Lesson and Project
  • Poetry Packet — 5 Poems to Analyze
  • Poetry Digital Escape Room — Robert Frost Poem Analysis & Comprehension Game “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
  • Poetry One-Pager Project and Poem Analysis for ANY POEM
  • Editable Poetry Test/Assessment for 7th, 8th, or 9th Grade Poetry
  • Robert Frost Author Study: Collaborative Poster Project
  • Teacher guide with day by day schedule for 3 weeks of Poetry

This bundle is so diverse and your students will get to analyze at least 12 different poems!

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poetry activities middle school

Bell Ringers

4 poetry activities for middle school students.

Each year when I begin to talk about poetry activities with my middle school students, I am met with a lot of groans. To be honest, I get it! Poetry is probably the hardest genre to teach and to learn. It involves critical thinking and inferencing, skills that many students struggle with.

After several years of trial and error, I have found my favorite poetry activities for middle school. These activities will challenge your students and expose them to a wide variety of poetic forms! Here are my go-to poetry activities.


If you haven’t done blackout poetry before, you are missing out on one of the most fun poetry activities there is! Blackout poetry gives students the opportunity to create their own poem without it feeling so intimidating.

Give each student a page torn out from a book (I always choose a book that’s falling apart or is collecting dust in a corner). Have students find a few powerful words that stand out and underline them. Then, they should find other words that can be added on to create a sentence or phrase. Lastly, they will blackout or color everything on the page except for their chosen words.

I highly recommend showing students an example before they begin. If you search for blackout poetry online, you can find tons of examples. Take a look at these with students, so they understand what to do.


Poetry comes with lots of new vocabulary, which is why I always recommend this booklet as a great poetry activity for middle school. By having all of the poetry terms and concepts in one place, students have an organized reference guide to help throughout their poetry unit.

This booklet is a great companion to your poetry lessons. This booklet contains a mood and tone word list, figurative language guide, literary device guide, poetry types, and poetry terms. If you are teaching mood and tone, for instance, use the mood and tone word list in the booklet as you practice. By the way, using popular songs is a great way to practice mood and tone! And your students will love it.

poetry activities middle school


I love doing literature circles with verse novels. My students’ favorite is probably The Crossover! I found these verse novel literature circles to be so effective that I created a middle school poetry and verse resource around them! This unit will challenge your students’ understanding and have them making deep connections with various texts.

This unit can be used with any verse novel or poems, but I provide plenty of recommendations for sixth through eighth grade. The unit contains four weeks of lessons that cover concepts from the author’s purpose, point of view, structure, figurative language, poetry writing, and more. 

Best part? I give you all the resources you need to easily implement this poetry unit. There are examples for all reading responses, ready-made slides, graphic organizers, literature circle forms, mentor sentences, and the poetry booklet is included!

poetry activities middle school


This poetry activity is a spin on a classic book tasting. If you haven’t heard of a book tasting before, think of it like speed dating – but with books! Students get a chance to preview and read parts of a book. The goal is to introduce students to a diverse range of books and get them excited about reading them.

By doing a book tasting with verse novels, you can introduce your students to a new genre type that many students may not have read independently before. You can get students excited about reading a new genre independently (because we know independent reading is excellent for growth in reading skills).

A book tasting can be as elaborate or as simple as you want! Essentially, you want to put students into groups. Give each group a few books to preview and look at. Have them write down what interests them about the book and if they would be interested in reading it. You can conduct this in your classroom or the school library. Personally, I love to create a “Starbooks” experience with my students! This adds a little bit of extra fun.

poetry activities middle school

Not sure what books to pull for the verse novel book tasting? Here are my free poetry and verse book recommendation lists.

  • Read more about: Middle School Reading

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Get your free middle school ela pacing guides with completed scopes and sequences for the school year..

poetry activities middle school

My ELA scope and sequence guides break down every single middle school ELA standard and concept for reading, writing, and language in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Use the guides and resources exactly as is or as inspiration for you own!

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The Integrated Teacher

7 Must Teach Middle School Poetry Activities

Jun 29, 2021

7 Must Teach Middle School Poetry Activities- I am not sure about you, but I have a tough time teaching poetry! First, you have to decide what poems inspire you and will inspire your students. Then, you have to figure out what standards or skills you want to teach. Finally, you need to choose the assignments that your students will need to produce to show you what they have learned!

If you are teaching middle school students, it can be even more difficult. So many poems can be too simple and cute like “At the Zoo” by William Makepeace Thackeray , or they can be super high level like John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud.”  But we know that middle schoolers are a different breed altogether when it comes to age, ability, and attitude!

Middle school students are out of the elementary stage. They are willing to take risks, experience new things, make their own decisions, and just go for it…whatever it is 🙂 So, as teachers, we can take advantage of their willingness to try new things, and that includes reading new texts like poetry. We don’t, however, want to frustrate our students. We want them to become engaged and stay engaged.

Read on for 7 Must Teach Middle School Poetry Activities!

Need help with Test Prep? Check out this  FREE Pack of 3 Test Prep Activities  to help students achieve success on standardized tests!

Table of Contents

1. Poetry BOOM™ Cards

If you haven’t tried out BOOM ™ Learning , check out this online platform that makes teaching poetry just a LOT more fun! You can set up a classroom for a yearly fee (it’s around $15 for up to 50 students), assign various activities in quiz-like formats, and get data for your classroom and for individual students! Check out my store Integrated ELA Test Prep for poetry quizzes that connect to the standards!

Boom Cards Poetry Quiz

2. Poetry Writing Templates

I am a huge fan of helping students through the use of templates! Using an already created format can assist our students who want to write but don’t know how to get started. This Poetry Writing Pack encourages students to write about where they live with specific, detailed language. Make writing poetry fun and accessible with this NO PREP lesson!

middle school poetry activities

3. Poetry Device Analysis

Poetry is so much fun, because it challenges us with the rhythm, rhymes, sounds, and images we can see and hear!  Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells”  includes a ton of onomatopoeia and  “My Fears” by Kristin Menke  incorporates lots of alliteration. You could have students choose a literary device, find a poem that contains that device, and explain this device to the class, after they read the poem of course!

Here are some devices you can focus on:

  • Sounds: alliteration, consonance, assonance
  • Figurative Language: metaphor, simile, hyperbole, personification, anthropomorphism, oxymoron, etc. See HERE for more!
  • Syntax:  rhythm, internal rhyme, end rhyme, beats, etc.

Want to include some Edgar Allan Poe Poems this year? Read about Edgar Allan Poe Love Poems!

4. Celebrate National Poetry Month in April

National Poetry Month in the month of April is a time to read, enjoy, and celebrate poetry and poets that really connect with who we are! In 1996, the Academy of American Poets decided that we needed a month dedicated to making the everyday person aware of the people and poems that inspire us in so many ways. Whether you like reading poems by celebrated authors Maya Angelou and  Paul Laurence Dunbar , acting out the  dramatic poems of Edgar Allan Poe , or basking in the Romantics like  Percy Bysshe Shelley  or  William Wordsworth , there is a poem for every student during National Poetry Month!

poetry activities middle school

5. Integrate Poetry With Social Studies, Physical Education, Science, & Electives

Integration is my jam! I love weaving everything together in a beautiful tapestry of learning through middle school poetry activities. Nothing needs to be taught in isolation. Instead, we can help students make connections with every topic they encounter!

  • Civil Rights & “Harlem” by Langston Hughes
  • Civics &  “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman
  • Plants &  “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
  • Amphibians &  “A Frog Who Would Not Move” by Kristin Menke
  • Phases of the Moon &  “I Saw the Moon One Time” by Kristin Menke
  • Ancient Civilizations &  “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • American Revolution &  “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
  • Physical Science &  “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost
  • British History &  “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Music &  “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman
  • Film & “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Mental Health &  “My Fears” by Kristin Menke
  • Math/Measurements &  “My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Zoology &  “At the Zoo” by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Geography &  “Where I Live” Poetry Template by Kristin Menke

6. Poetry Writing Responses

When it comes to teaching middle school poetry activities, you don’t really want to read it and move on. You want students to respond in some way. You could have students answer questions about characterization, theme, structure, etc. in quick responses, paragraph-long responses, or in full essays. My personal preference is the short response. When students don’t have to write a ton, I see more of a willingness to do the work!

Here is an example based on the poem “The Passerby” by Kristin Menke !

middle school poetry activities

Short Response:  How does the author of “The Passerby” use imagery to set the mood of the poem? Use evidence to support your ideas.

Short Response Paragraph: Sentence-By-Sentence

  • Answer the question by referring to the mood
  • Incorporate a piece of evidence; be sure to embed the quote
  • Explain how the evidence links to the mood
  • Incorporate another piece of evidence; be sure to embed the quote
  • Reiterate how imagery impacts mood

Want to integrate teaching songs with middle school poetry activities? Check out Poem Song of Myself: 3 Engaging Activities !

poem song of myself

7. Middle School Poetry Activities That Incorporate Test Prep

So often, our kids enter the test prep season with trepidation. We totally get it, right? If you incorporate some test prep involving poetry throughout the year within your middle school poetry activities, it will help students prepare for what they might encounter on the state standardized test 🙂

These tests might ask students to cite evidence, determine the central idea or theme, analyze how a character develops, examine how the text starts and ends, and think about the author’s choice of words and descriptions. By including these standards in what you teach, we can have fun with teaching poetry and teaching for test success!

Check out these examples from Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice!”

What is the effect of the repetition of the word “some?”

  • A. It portrays that people have varying beliefs.
  • B. It highlights that the fire is greater than the ice.
  • C. It confirms the argument that people think in the same way.
  • D. It establishes the idea that the earth’s end with affect several people.

What is the tone of the poem?

  • B. Meditative
  • C. Depressing
  • D. Disappointed

Why should we teach middle school poetry activities throughout the year?

Sharing what we love about language and learning is the ultimate goal! So many students encounter poetry through songs, and making poetry connect to music could also be a fantastic way to relate to students. We come into contact with poetry through lyrics whether from an artist we love or an advertisement or a greeting card or even a jingle we just can’t get out of our head.

Let’s help our students out by teaching them to love literature, no matter the form, through middle school poetry activities!

Want more help teaching lessons, activities, and quizzes about poetry? Check out my store, Kristin Menke-Integrated ELA Test Prep!

poetry activities middle school


I primarily focus on  integrating multiple disciplines and subjects. The goal is to make teaching simplified and effective!

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Fun Poetry Activities That Even High Schoolers and Middle Schoolers Love

Fun poetry activities for high school and middle school students

It has been my experience that most secondary students don’t enjoy poetry. Sure, there are a select few of the artsy types that get into it, but most students are not fans. To be honest, I’ve not always been a big poetry fan either , so I can relate. But as I’ve grown to learn, poetry doesn’t have to be stuffy, boring, or traditional. Once you experience a few fun poetry activities, suddenly both reading and writing poetry becomes a lot more enjoyable for everyone!   

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Fun poetry activities for high school and middle school students:

Fun poetry activities for teaching sonnets

Turn a sonnet into a storybook:

When we do Shakespeare’s sonnets, I assign each group one sonnet, and they turn it into a simplified version for children using a set of illustrations provided by an online storybook generator. This results in my not having to teach each sonnet one by one and students actually enjoying the challenge of figuring it out on their own. #teacherwin 

Here is an example from the funny Sonnet 130 “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun” : 

Turn a sonnet into a storybook

Back when it was free, I used Storybird storybook maker for years in my high school English class . I was sad when they switched over to a paid subscription, but I can totally understand from a business standpoint because this program is AMAZING. The art and features are phenomenal and have helped students create so many fun ELA projects over the years. I think they still offer a free trial , but here’s a list of other picture book maker options:

  • Storyjumper  
  • PPT or Google Slides
  • Craft supplies

Fun poetry activities for high school and middle school students

Turn a boring piece of text into a creative Blackout Poem. 

 No matter what novel or short story you are reading, there’s probably that one passage where the author seems to ramble on with a description or shows off with extra flowery language. While reading To Build a Fire , I found a full page of snowy, cold landscape description that I knew would be just perfect for a Blackout Poetry activity . The assignment was to black out words from the passage so that the remaining words would represent the mood of the story. You can read more about creating Blackout Poetry here: Blackout Poetry Ideas, Lesson Plans, and Examples

Fun poetry activities for high school and middle school students

Turn an overused Venn Diagram into a fun poem:

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good thinking map. However, it’s also good to switch things up and challenge our brains. For example, instead of doing another Venn Diagram to compare and contrast, spice it up by having them write a Diamante poem instead! You can get this free worksheet here: FREE POETRY RESPONSE SAMPLE

Golden Shovel poetry examples

Turn challenging poetry reading into creative poetry writing:

If you struggle with thinking of fun poetry activities to do after reading a challenging poem, then let me introduce you to Golden Shovel Poetry. 

Invented by Terrance Hayes in 2010, Golden Shovel poetry is a contemporary poetic form that involves taking a line or lines from an existing poem and using each word of that line as the end word of each line of a new poem.

It’s easier to understand this type of poetry when you see it rather than read about it. Take a look:

We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks (original poem)

The Golden Shovel by Terrance Hayes (Golden Shovel)

The Bronze Legacy by Effie Lee Newsome (original poem)

Like an Eagle Pictured above by Nikki Grimes (Golden Shovel)

For more examples, I highly recommend the books Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance and/or One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes. Not only do these books feature original poetry of the Harlem Renaissance, but they also showcase exemplary Golden Shovel poems. You can also find my Golden Shovel worksheet in this poetry pack . 

Ode examples

Turn a figurative language lecture into a fun poetry lesson:

Another fun poetry activity for high school or middle school students is to write hyperbolic odes to ordinary things. For example, my Keeping the Wonder: An Educator’s Guide to Magical, Engaging, and Joyful Learning coauthor Staci did a hilarious lesson using the “corn” trend. You can watch her reel here: Ode to Corn

However, you don’t have to hop on a trend to have fun with odes. Ode writing is a fantastic and lighthearted way to practice figurative language any time of the year! You can see my iced coffee ode and grab my ode worksheet in this poetry pack: Fun poetry activities 

I hope this post has convinced you that with a little inspiration, teaching, reading, and writing poetry can be fun! If you are looking for even more fun poetry activities for high school and middle school students, keep reading here:

  • Paint Chip Poetry Without the Guilt
  • Blackout Poetry Ideas, Lesson Plans, and Examples
  • Teaching Poetry in Curriculum Context

Remember to grab your poetry freebie here !

Get this freebie!

Do you want exclusive ela teaching ideas and free resources let me send you a building book love letter.


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Activities & Lessons

National Poetry Month Activities for Middle and High School Classrooms

What comes to mind when you think of poetry? Stage actors reciting dramatic sonnets? Beat poets driving cultural change? Musicians singing your favorite lyrics?

National Poetry Month is celebrated in April each year and is an opportune time to explore this writing style more in-depth with your middle or high school students. With the following poetry month activities and lesson plans, broaden your students' understanding of what poetry is and how it is written.

National Poetry Month Lesson Plans and Ideas

Write a self-portrait poem.

There is no better way to get into the spirit of National Poetry Month than writing a poem . In the following video, poet and teaching artist Glenis Redmond instructs students on how to write a self-portrait poem using alliteration, assonance, and anaphora.

The accompanying “How to Write a Poem” activity breaks down the writing process to help students construct a self-portrait of their own. It will help to have students watch the video above before completing the following activity.

poetry activities middle school

How to Write a Poem — Student Activity How to Write a Poem — Teacher Guide

Slam Poetry Presentation

Inspired by the beat poets of the 1950s, spoken word poetry, or slam poetry, allows students to find their voice without the usual constraints like rhyme and syllable count. Written for a live performance, slam poetry is primarily concerned with rhythm and subject matter. Slam poets use the medium to explore ideas that they are passionate about and the emotions that they evoke.

Have your students watch some examples of slam poetry in order to get a better idea of what it entails. Then, have them each write a slam poem about a subject that they feel strongly about before presenting it to the class or to a smaller group. Give them time to practice their line delivery before their presentations.

Create a Nursery Rhyme

Poetry doesn’t have to be about serious subject matter. In fact, your students were in all likelihood introduced to poetry at a young age when they were learning nursery rhymes.

Challenge your students as a group to recall the nursery rhymes that they grew up with, and list them out for the class. Next, have each student select their favorite and identify the rhyme scheme. For example, the poem "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" by Jane Taylor follows a AABB CCDD rhyme scheme.

Once students have identified the rhyme scheme, encourage them to write their own nursery rhyme using this same pattern.

Write a Haiku Series

Sometimes less is more. A haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that is only three lines long. It follows a 5/7/5 syllable pattern, where the first and last lines are 5 syllables, and the second is 7 syllables. While these poems don’t often rhyme, they are a lesson in making every word count.

Syllable counts may differ, depending on factors like accent or language. Many popular Japanese haikus, once translated into English, no longer meet the 5/7/5 pattern. However, that doesn't mean that these poems are not still haikus.

Have students leave the classroom to find inspiration for at least three haikus. The haikus that they write should be part of a themed set, on topics like nature, people, or the classroom itself.

Gothic Poetry Lesson

From Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” to Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus,” gothic subject matter is an interesting departure from the romance often associated with the sonnet. Gothic poetry is instead a medium for displaying darker subject matter. These poems usually have a melancholic atmosphere and imagery and may also touch on emotions like worry, regret, or fear through their narrative.

Explore this style of poem by reading "The Bells" by Edgar Allan Poe .

poetry activities middle school

After reading the text, review these questions with your class:

  • How do your emotions as a reader develop as you read through the poem?
  • How does the imagery evolve throughout the poem?
  • Which poetry techniques did you notice in the poem?
  • What do the bells in each stanza represent?

Absurdist Language Challenge

Many common sayings and words today are often attributed to poets or writers. One such inventive author is Lewis Carroll, who created words for his absurdist poems like “Jabberwocky.” Many of the words that he invented for the poem were a combination of two existing words. For example, the word “slithy” is a combination of “lithe” and “slimy.”

Read “ Jabberwocky ,” and challenge your class to create new words of their own. Ask them to think about combination words that they might already use in their everyday lives, like “hangry,” and draw inspiration from them. What emotions do they often feel at the same time? What attributes do they usually see occurring together in nature? Have them invent a shorter word they can use to describe a longer phrase or description.

Once the class is done writing their new words and definitions, have them use their favorite ones in a poem of their own.

Write a Rap

Studying rap is a great way to learn about repetition, vocabulary, and patterns when it comes to poetry and song. Teacher and poet Toney Jackson has 5 simple steps on how he teaches students to write raps :

  • Choose a topic
  • Choose your words
  • Pick patterns
  • Add a beat or a capella

Check out the video below for an overview on how you and your students can get started on this lesson idea.

For an even more in-depth look at the process of creating a rap, educator and author Dr. Chris Emdin also shares his wisdom on the subject. Emdin compares rap to poetry or storytelling with added layers, and uses this lesson to connect with his students. Through his partnership with Loaded Lux, he breaks down the benefits of this lesson in the following video.

If you are interested in exploring this lesson further, try out the How to Write a Rap student activity below. Alternatively, create a lesson of your own with any musical genre that interests your class, and work with them to develop their lyrics and rhyme scheme.

poetry activities middle school

How to Write a Rap – Student Activity How to Write a Rap – Teacher Guide How to Write a Rap – Teacher Rubric

Language Research Project

Chances are, many of your students either speak a second language or have someone in their life who does. To get a more international perspective of poetry, have them research a poem written in a language other than their own. They can do this by interviewing someone in their life that speaks another language or else by doing independent research on the subject. Many sources will provide both the original poem and a version of it translated into English. Once they find a poem that they like, have them answer the following questions:

  • What language is the poem written in, and why did you choose the language that you did?
  • What did you learn from the poem?
  • What drew you to this poem in the first place?
  • How did the language the poem was written in affect the rhythm of the poem itself?
  • If you can, either read the poem aloud, have someone read it for you, or find a recording of the poem being spoken aloud. How does hearing the poem as opposed to reading it change your perception or opinion about the poem?

Analyze "Kubla Khan"

The poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge was allegedly inspired by a dream, and if the poet himself is to believed, the work is only a fraction of the 200 to 300 lines he had composed in his sleep.

Read the poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge with your class, then have them answer the following questions:

  • What are the main themes that you see reflected in the poem?
  • What feelings does the poem evoke?
  • What elements of the poem serve to remind you that it is a vision from a dream?
  • Underline each metaphor in the poem.
  • Circle an example of an alliteration and a consonance in the poem.
  • Highlight a personification in the poem.

poetry activities middle school

Inaugural Poem Read and Respond

During the 2021 U.S. presidential inauguration, Amanda Gorman performed her spoken word poem “The Hill We Climb.” Not only was Gorman the National Youth Poet Laureate at the time of her reading, but she was also the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Her poem, written with the theme of "America United," centers around life and challenges in the U.S. in the years leading up to the inauguration.

Read “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman. Then, answer these questions:

  • What two historical events are the focus of this poem? Identify a reference in the poem to each event.
  • Note a passage that contains alliteration, and explain the effect of this sound device on meaning and mood.
  • What message does this poem express, and how do the closing lines direct readers to act?

Poetry Beyond April

Remember, these National Poetry Month activities do not need to end once April is over. Once your classroom has had time to explore poetry more in-depth over the course of the month, you can leave them with a short poetry portfolio of their own.

There are poetry competitions around the world that give cash prizes to middle and high school students for their writing. Having students research their own local competitions and submit their poems is a great way to encourage them to advocate for their voices to be heard.

HMH Into Literature was built to address the needs of today's teachers and equip students with the reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills required for success in tomorrow's world. Request a free digital sample of Into Literature today.

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Teaching Poetry for Middle School Students

Poetry , Secondary Literacy , Writing

poetry activities middle school

Teaching poetry in middle school can be a truly enjoyable experience. Whether your students love poetry or want nothing to do with it – this blog post is for you!  In this post, you’ll see how you can inspire your students to love poetry.  I’ll also share some activities and resources to make it exciting to teach poetry for middle school students.

Middle School Poetry Lessons

What is the importance of teaching poetry?

Reading poetry is a great way to promote creative thinking in your classroom .  Since poetry is so subjective, students have the opportunity to think outside the box.  Poetry can also be highly beneficial to reluctant readers and writers because the shorter form of writing can be more accessible to them.  It also allows students to see language in a new way.  

Teaching poetry is also an enriching activity for English Language Learners .  The meter of poetry helps language learners to become familiarized with the rhythm and sound of language.  Reciting poetry out loud can also help with fluency.

How do you teach poetry in middle school?

You can start your middle school poetry unit by introducing the structural elements of poetry .   These include key concepts like meter, rhythm, and verse.  I like to use a vocabulary anchor chart to familiarize students with this essential terminology.  Exploring the elements of poetry will help them to have the vocabulary to further analyze a poem.

You can also introduce poetry in middle school by asking students how a poem is different from other styles of writing, like a persuasive paragraph or an assembly manual.  This inquiry-based approach will prompt students to consider the form and purpose of poetry .  You can record their answers on the board or use this poetry slideshow lesson to differentiate between a poem and other forms of writing.

Activities to Teach Poetry to Middle School Students

What are the easiest poems to teach poetry?

If your students have little experience with reading poetry, then you might be looking to start with the basics.  Choosing accessible poems is a great way to introduce poetry without overwhelming your students.  You can use easy poems as a formative assessment of your students’ level of comfort with poetry.

This collection of easy poems for middle school includes classics from Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, and Langston Hughes.  If you are looking for poems based on a theme , this list includes 72 poems for middle school .  You might also wish to explore some poems that might be familiar or relevant to students’ lives ; “ The Rose That Grew From Concrete ” by Tupac Shakur or “ Recitative ” by A.E. Stallings are two great options.

How do you teach poetry analysis in middle school?

Before diving into poetry analysis, you might find it helpful to explicitly teach paraphrasing to your students.  This is because poetry is very subjective.  Before students explore figurative language or poetic devices , they will need to be able to translate poems into language that makes sense to them.

Since poetry is subjective, students need to feel confident in their ability to analyze it and make inferences.  A great way to foster confidence is to start within their comfort zone .  Music lyrics are a great opportunity for this.  Students already have a lot to say about their favorite artists and songs; because of the cultural relevance of the music they enjoy, they often feel confident analyzing lyrics and searching for poetic devices in songs .  Song lyrics are therefore a great way to hook your students with analyzing poetry and scaffold this skill.

How to Teach Poetry to Middle School Students

Making poetry fun in middle school

Your students will probably have the most fun writing their own poetry .  If they are reluctant, you could start off with a few icebreakers or creative writing prompts to help them feel more expressive in your classroom.  

Haiku poems are fantastic for middle schoolers.  This is because the structure of a haiku is easy to replicate.  In order to write a haiku, students will need to understand meter.  Learning about meter is a great way to incorporate teachings on the sound and rhythm of the English language.  This haiku writing workshop guides students through the history of haiku along with several examples to demonstrate this form.  Students will then write their own series of haiku using the haiku templates provided.

Your students might enjoy replicating the styles of free verse poetry popularized on Instagram .  If so, you can lead a free verse poetry workshop with them.  This workshop includes a slideshow lesson on free verse poetry with examples from popular culture.  It also prompts students to write their own free verse poems with the guidance of assignment instructions and a rubric .  Students can choose between different styles of free verse poetry, including blackout poems , illustrative poems , and collage poems .  

Poetry for Middle School

Poetry for middle school students: tying it all together

 There are so many ways to make poetry fun and engaging for middle school students .  I hope this blog post has helped you with a few lesson plans and activities to teach poetry in middle school .  Your middle schoolers will benefit from the creative thinking and expressive writing that poetry has to offer!

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Poetry Activities for Middle Schoolers – 5 games and worksheets to bring out their inner poet (+ 4 top tips)

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poetry activities middle school

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!

Head over to our blog for more content just like this, and click here for more ready-to-use worksheets across all your favorite subjects.

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The secondary school is divided into two stages… grades 7-8 (the Logic Stage) and grades 9-12 (the Rhetoric Stage).

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By the time students reach their senior year in high school, they have usually developed interests in specific areas. Therefore, they will be given the opportunity to pursue those areas through the following senior course options. These options are designed to allow students the opportunity to learn one or two subjects well. As Dorothy Sayers says, “Whatever is mere apparatus may now be allowed to fall into the background, while the trained mind is gradually prepared for specialization in the “subjects” which, when the Trivium is completed, it should be perfectly well equipped to tackle on its own.” (from The Lost Tools of Learning) These options should aid the transition from the completion of the Trivium to the more specialized study that is a part of a college or university education.

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The following is information for the Dialectic Speech Meet for the 7 th -9 th grade students. Most of the work and grading is done during English class. For the final meet onwards, the students will perform their pieces with students from other classes in the same category. That afternoon during 7 th period there will be an assembly to hear the top performances from each category.

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Rhetoric Speech Meet

The following is information for the upcoming Rhetoric Speech Meet for the 10 th -12 th grade students. Please note a few differences between the Dialectic Speech Meet of the 7 th -9 th graders and the Rhetoric Speech Meet:

  • Poetry must be through the Poetry Out Loud program.
  • Readers Theater and the Original Oratory categories are allowed.
  • Children’s books and plays are allowed as sources for material.
  • There is no memory check. Pieces will be presented once in class for a grade, and once at the meet for a test grade.
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    1. Watch poetry videos Let YouTube do some of the work for you with this roundup of poetry videos for elementary students. See authors read their own poems, learn about poetry terms, and more. 2. Climb a hill with Amanda Gorman

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    HOW TO ANALYZE A POEM HOW TO DETERMINE RHYME SCHEME Kobe Bryant Dear Basketball Poem — Analysis & Paired Text Michael Jordan Letter Students LOVE reading and analyzing Kobe Bryant's "Dear Basketball" Poem. In this activity, they will complete a Poem Analysis & Compare/Contrast Paired Text Activity.

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    Us, Poets! Let our girls remember artists from Arbat in Moscow, Where the roofs are for fairy life and stories for - children, Waiting us, poets!...

  20. Secondary Curriculum

    The secondary school is divided into two stages… grades 7-8 (the Logic Stage) and grades 9-12 (the Rhetoric Stage). In grades 7-8, the students take the mastered information from the Grammar Stage and bring it into ordered relationships. Students begin to apply logic, assessing the validity of arguments and learning to view information critically with…

  21. Moscow Middle School Physical Education

    The goal of Physical Education at Moscow Middle School is to develop physically literate students who have the knowledge, skills, ... Last Update: August 2019. Welnet Log-in Quarter 1 Learning Topics: Skill Development & Physical Activities: Tennis, Speedminton, Flag Football, Rugby, Ultimate Frisbee ...

  22. About

    School Running Program. It started in 2009 with the 'Run For Something Better' Grant Program (we are a 2-time recipient). Our PE running program teaches intensity levels, pacing, and using a pedometer to measure physical activity. We have a school-wide Fall Fun Run to celebrate our healthy and active school-wide commitment.

  23. Results for poetry activities middle school

    Digital Blackout Poetry is a set of poem writing activities for middle school in which students remove words and phrases from existing text to create a poem. There are ten sets of slides with editable text placed on a background. The background images are not editable. This is a Google Slides resource.Product Includes:Ten background scenes with accompanying textStudent directions for ...