TeachersFirst's Editors' Choice Poetry Month

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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected by our editors from the hundreds of reviewed poetry resources and creative tools listed on TeachersFirst. Now April can be Poetry Month in any classroom. Even if you teach science or math, there is a place for poetry in your curriculum. Poetry is as brief and economical as a number sentence, but with feelings or messages between the words. Why not throw some poetry lines amid your chemical or algebraic equations to connect with verbal/linguistic learners and spark a new way of seeing any subject? Take time to plan a "poetry break" using these ideas from the TeachersFirst Editors.

Here are some poetic possibilities to get your students' creative juices flowing: Have students compose a limerick explaining a science term or historic figure. Have students collect a list of words from your current unit. Then offer extra credit for a poetic interpretation to be shared as a daily "poetry break" during April. Use one of the tools featured here to share poetic visions of biology, geometry, and more during April. Cover a classroom wall with white paper for "curriculum poetry" during April: encourage students to share poetry graffiti (classroom appropriate, of course).
Need other poetic ideas? Check out our "In the classroom suggestions" included in these reviews or try our keyword search for poetry AND a specific topic or grade level.

 

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The Poetics of Robert Frost - Carole Thompson

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a lovely, simplistic site that uses Frost's poetry to explain and exemplify figurative language. This is especially helpful for students who might have trouble understanding...more
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This is a lovely, simplistic site that uses Frost's poetry to explain and exemplify figurative language. This is especially helpful for students who might have trouble understanding the abstract explanation of some figurative language definitions. This site uses specific Frost poems to demonstrate what each element is. Learn about figurative language, imagery, meter, sound devices (alliteration, consonance, rhyme, and more), form, tone, and style. The site includes a basic grid that describes the specifics of all of the elements highlighted at this site.

tag(s): figurative language (16), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Neatly done on a graphic table, this site would enable you to assign different figures of speech and/or Frost poems to students in a class and have them investigate and present/explain that element to the class. Some of the elements are explained through Frost's own interpretation of his poetry which makes interesting personal reading for students. Have cooperative learning groups complete a multi-media project such as a blog entry (from Frost, of course) or a video shared on a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Be sure to have students share some Frost poems on an interactive whiteboard as they use different-colored highlighters to mark figures of speech or drag different figures of speech into place or replace them with "alternates" they write themselves.

Help your weaker readers by letting them listen poems read aloud on Frost Out Loud (reviewed here or to Frost reading his poems at The Listening Booth (reviewed here).

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Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words through Diamante Poetry - Sharon Webster / NCTE

Grades
9 to 12
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Reading, writing, and thinking come together with history in this beautifully detailed lesson plan that focuses on the power and passion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"...more
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Reading, writing, and thinking come together with history in this beautifully detailed lesson plan that focuses on the power and passion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. After reading and interpreting the text, students are asked to create original poetry using words and themes taken from King's speech. All materials, including rubrics, handouts and worksheets (mainly pdf), a captioned audio clip, video clip (requiring Real Player), related Web resources, and links to NCTE/IRA standards are included.

tag(s): martin luther king (37), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

This lesson plan is ready to go, includes interactive elements, and is even linked to national standards. English class and history class can team up on this lesson and discuss the poetry and history behind King's magical words.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Wordle - Jonathan Feinberg

Grades
2 to 12
17 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for ...more
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This site takes any quotation or poem and creates a "word cloud" (graphical display) of the words in a passage of text. Paste in any passage or the URL for any blog entry or web page (including newspapers online) to create a wordle of the text. If you make a Wordle, you can choose your own colors, type of display, and font. The most frequent words appear larger and darker. Students can view creations others have made or make their own with or without saving them to the database of clouds. You can also print creations, open them in a window without borders, or link to them from a home page (html code is provided for the link). This site requires Java. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. However, this site is now a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (196), speech (92), vocabulary (324), word choice (26), word clouds (10)

In the Classroom

You need to know how to copy/paste. No email registration needed to create. Click Create to get started. Copy/paste text, type into a text box, or paste in the URL of the page you wish to "cloud." Play with options under Layout, Color, and Font menus to change the look. When done, choose to Print, take a screen shot of it in New Window view (PrntScrn on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac) or save to public gallery. Once it opens in the gallery view, be sure to copy the URL and keep a record of the exact URL of wordles you save to the Gallery. You will never be able to find them again without it! Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.

The public can enter text and create their own Wordles, some of which appear on the home page for "recent" Wordles. Teachers should preview the Gallery and home page immediately before sharing this site with a class. TeachersFirst's review team has not witnessed any objectionable examples. In today's world, a brief lesson or honest discussion on ignoring, clicking out of, or avoiding the inappropriate on the web might be worthwhile, depending on the age and maturity of your students.

This is a terrific visual tool to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Paste in a passage or URL for a political speech to visualize the politician's "message." Analyze advertising propaganda by visualizing the language used in TV or print ads. Create wordles of historical texts of inauguration speeches as time capsules of the issues of the day. Use this site as a way to help students see and memorize text, especially visual learners. Use it also when writing poetry or reading passages of great literature to "see" themes and motifs of repeated words and images. Have students paste in their own writing to spot repeated (and monotonous) language when teaching lessons on word choice. Students will be surprised to see what words appear to be dominant. ESL and ELL students will eagerly use this site since word order will no longer be a problem for them. Have students work in groups to create word posters of vocabulary words with related meanings, such as different ways to say "walk" or "said" and decorate your classroom with these visual reminders of the richness of language.

Another idea: use this site during the first week of school. Have students create "Wordles" about themselves and create a "Wordle" bulletin board introducing your students (and yourself). Or use Worlde for a whole-class positive statement as shown in this example. Remember that the most frequently appearing words will appear larger so plan accordingly.

Comments

So versatile and easy to use. Needs supervision because of what some people post in the galleries. Kids find it very easy to use. Nice for quick analysis of text (love to use with Shakespeare). Frances, CT, Grades: 6 - 8

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A Timeline of Poetry In English - RPO Eds., U Toronto Eng. Dept & Press

Grades
8 to 12
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This is a very simple site with a wealth of information presented in a straightforward manner. It divides-- by years-- the traditional progression of English from Early to Middle to...more
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This is a very simple site with a wealth of information presented in a straightforward manner. It divides-- by years-- the traditional progression of English from Early to Middle to Early Modern to Present Day. Within Early Modern and Present Day English it also divides into categories within the genre. Present Day begins with the Romantics and continues through Post-modernism. Throughout the timeline there are links to representative poems included in the RPO database. Most of the poets have biographical information included with their poetry (family information, languages, education, religion, and more).

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Many of the poets mentioned along the timeline will be unfamiliar to students. Students might choose a poet and create a "life" for him/her within the culture and society in which he lived and present the poet with one of his works to the class. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own interactive timelines about the poet they research using a site such as TimeRime reviewed here. Another project might be to have groups of students choose poems from each time period within present day English and compare the poems based upon the society of the time in which they were written, incorporating humanities and historical analysis. Use the biographical information provided with some of the poets to engage your students in the life and times of the poet. Have students complete research projects about one of the poets highlighted at this website or create a fictitious blog of his/her life. Challenge students to create their own original poetry in similar form to the poet they have researched.

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KidsWWrite - Kalamalka Institute for Working Writers

Grades
1 to 10
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This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The ...more
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This e-magazine features work by children from ages 5 - 16 from all around the world. The student writings are divided into three age levels (5-8, 9-12, and 13-16). The writing includes both poetry and stories. Students can also submit book reviews of favorite works and also art. The book reviews are anecdotal and personal and also include a drawing or copy of the book cover. If students wish to search for stories on a certain topic, a search box and archives are available.

tag(s): creative writing (166), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Share samples of students' writing on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to preview for content inappropriate for your classroom. Have your students create cover art and write stories, book reviews, or poetry to submit to this site. Of course you will want written parent permission before submitting student work to this online magazine. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy.If your school prohibits using blogs to post student writing, this is a middle ground alternative to get their works in front of a wider audience.

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Poetry Everywhere Collection - WGBH Foundation

Grades
7 to 12
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This is an amazing site with 12 notable poems that include a Quicktime video of the poem reading- either by the poet or an animated enactment (i.e. Emily Dickinson). Each ...more
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This is an amazing site with 12 notable poems that include a Quicktime video of the poem reading- either by the poet or an animated enactment (i.e. Emily Dickinson). Each of the lessons includes a broad spectrum of activities, lesson plans, and PDF worksheets. While you do have to register to fully access the material, it is free. Registration does require an email address (for teacher domains only: lesson plans, activities, etc..), so students do not need to register to view the videos.

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

If you are looking for something worthwhile as a quarter ending or are deeply involved in poetry, this site is great. Billy Collins reading "The Lanyard" is tough not to love and you can choose any of the included features to use or not. Because the site uses Quicktime, you have the option of replaying the video or pausing for discussion where you choose. Share the video on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This is wonderful as a class discussion. Another use for this site is to assign different poems to small groups of students and have them explicate them and then present them to the class. You could even shock the world of traditional English class or school video news announcements with a video "poetry break" during Poetry Month (April). Why not video the presentations and share them using a site such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Magnetic Poetry - ARKive Education

Grades
2 to 5
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This interactive website provides students with several adjectives, verbs, nouns, and small words all related to landforms or wetlands. Students click and drag the words to the online...more
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This interactive website provides students with several adjectives, verbs, nouns, and small words all related to landforms or wetlands. Students click and drag the words to the online magnetic whiteboard. This activity requires FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): landforms (45), poetry (227), wetlands (9)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous resource for an elementary science class. You could follow the idea of the website, and have your students create poetry using the words provided. Why not project the activity on an interactive whiteboard or projection screen. Have students work at their seats to try to create the shortest or longest complete sentence, scientifically accurate using the interactive magnets. If you want to be able to create your OWN "magnets" try this site.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Fridge Magnet Poetry Board - Nitric Interactive

Grades
3 to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Introducing fridge magnets on the web! This interesting site could provide great creative writing entertainment and engaging grammar for students. The site provides a variety of words,...more
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Introducing fridge magnets on the web! This interesting site could provide great creative writing entertainment and engaging grammar for students. The site provides a variety of words, on magnet-looking pieces, that the students can manipulate to create their own stories or poems. Younger students may need assistance with some of the more difficult vocabulary words. The actual "magnets" appear in a new window and require Java. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): writing (358)

In the Classroom

This site would be great on individual classroom computers or a cluster or as a whole class grammar or figures of speech lesson on interactive whiteboard. Another idea: Have students create a story related to a current classroom topic or skill. Have students submit their creations to share on the site by submitting a screen "dump" (also known as a screen shot). Use the PrtSc key to "copy" your screen and PASTE it into a document for submission. We recommend making the submission anonymous or using the class as the name.

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Listening to Poetry: Sounds of the Sonnet - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
8 to 12
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If you want to make your students love the SOUND of poetry, this is the site for you. While knowing the terms for rhythms, meters, etc. is important to teachers ...more
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If you want to make your students love the SOUND of poetry, this is the site for you. While knowing the terms for rhythms, meters, etc. is important to teachers and for testing, it seems more important for students to understand the sound that comes from language and appreciate it. The terms can always come later and will be connected to a meaningful experience students can recall. This site provides seven sound experiments to whet your students' appetites for poetry. The site provides step-by-step instructions on the seven "experiments" used to involved students in the music of language. It also provides multiple links to different eras from the early Elizabethan sonnets to the Romantics through Victorian and American poets.

tag(s): poetry (227), sonnets (7)

In the Classroom

Conduct these lessons in their "traditional" ways or consider letting students make a podcast of one or more of the experiments so their peers can "hear" the lesson over and over with explanation and commentary from their peers. These podcasts could be the start of a library to accompany the teaching of poetry in your school. If you have never tried podcasting, the relatively simple structure of these "experiments" gives you a structured place to start.

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The Music In Poetry - Smithsonian Institute

Grades
5 to 12
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If you want to get students involved in listening to poetry, try this site featuring real life SOUNDS of poetry in both ballads and the blues. Ballads are traditionally taught ...more
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If you want to get students involved in listening to poetry, try this site featuring real life SOUNDS of poetry in both ballads and the blues. Ballads are traditionally taught as story poems and, while this site does that too, it makes ballads more relevant to the music that kids listen to today. Use this site to teach about meters (iambic triameter and iambic tetrameter) in ways that students can HEAR. The images of the short films are great, too. The site includes readings and singing of great, classic examples of ballads as well as some rarer film footage of great blues singers (ex: John Jackson singing "Steamboat Whistle" at Wolf Trap in 1997). There is a wide variety of tracks to choose from and the site includes lesson plans.

tag(s): blues (21), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Play the sound files on speakers in your classroom and be sure to include the link on your teacher web page for students to play at home, as well. If you are into podcasting, consider having students make their own recordings of ballads after hearing and studying these. Create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here). The lesson plans are printable Adobe and work with units/lessons on Langston Hughes and the blues as well as the meters of poetry.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Limerick Savant

Grades
10 to 12
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This is much more than a mere collection of contemporary limericks. It is rather a witty and provocative poetic commentary on politics, government, and economics. Original creations...more
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This is much more than a mere collection of contemporary limericks. It is rather a witty and provocative poetic commentary on politics, government, and economics. Original creations - inspired by what is in the news - are posted each day, and previous contributions can be perused by scrolling. It's acerbic ("Mr. Bush, we have heard you would banish our national anthem in Spanish...") and not for the easily offended, but it does provide a creative way to begin a class discussion on a hot topic. This is a personal blog site, so preview carefully before sharing with students.

tag(s): humor (15), poetry (227), satire (5)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to combine their creative writing skills with knowledge of poetic forms to fashion their own limericks using headline news as a prompt.

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Poetry Splatter - Reading is Fundamental

Grades
1 to 5
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Get some creative juices flowing with this creative writing tool. Choose a poem title (grouped by age level) and fill in the blanks of the poem template by selecting from ...more
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Get some creative juices flowing with this creative writing tool. Choose a poem title (grouped by age level) and fill in the blanks of the poem template by selecting from words that are splattered on the screen. Words are color-coded by function (nouns are blue, verbs, red, etc.), so the activity can become somewhat of a grammar lesson, too. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): creative writing (166), grammar (216), poetry (227), writing (358)

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Shel Silverstein's Official Website - Shel Silverstein; Harper Publishers

Grades
K to 6
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Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at...more
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Shel Silverstein's outside-the-box style of poetry has delighted students for years. Now, his website extends that wacky literacy to another medium and level. You may be tempted at most sites to skip the intro. Don't skip Shel's. Familiar entities walk across your screen welcoming you. Screen Savers, animated Shel-creature-people to enjoy, reproducibles, and more await your enjoyment. Click on Poetry Month to find more activities and games that you can use during April. Your students will chuckle at Shel's own reading and lively animation of several of his poems. This is a site to explore with your class.

tag(s): humor (15), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Take your students on this language-rich adventure using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Mark your calendar now to visit this site during April, when Poetry Month is celebrated. Download your free poetry kit from the poetry month link. Of course, Shel Silverstein's whimsical and slightly dark humor can be enjoyed any month. There is a link for Teachers and Parents with lesson ideas, printables, and more. This is a great site to share with parents and students for summer breaks.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Acrostic Poems - International Reading Association

Grades
1 to 3
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Acrostic poetry is one of the simplest forms of creative writing for primary students to master. With this interactive site, students can use their own creativity while experimenting...more
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Acrostic poetry is one of the simplest forms of creative writing for primary students to master. With this interactive site, students can use their own creativity while experimenting with this poetic form. After a brief introduction, students are asked to enter a topic of choice, brainstorm words and phrases that remind them of that topic, then construct a poem with the help of "hint words." Completed works can be printed. Aligned to standards. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): poetry (227)

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Poetry Engine - Scholastic

Grades
2 to 4
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Take the stress out of teaching a poetry lesson with this interactive site that introduces students to limericks, haiku, free verse, and cinquains. Students can choose a style, work...more
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Take the stress out of teaching a poetry lesson with this interactive site that introduces students to limericks, haiku, free verse, and cinquains. Students can choose a style, work through a brief tutorial, and then create their own poems using a word bank and template. An entertaining and informative activity to kick off a creative writing lesson.

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector, then keep it as a link on your teacher web page for students to access from the classroom computer or from home. Use this site during Poetry Month (April).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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National Poetry Month - Pearson Education

Grades
8 to 12
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This site commemorates the month-long observance with a collection of poetic resources including biographies of the world's most beloved poets, samplings of their work, a glossary of...more
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This site commemorates the month-long observance with a collection of poetic resources including biographies of the world's most beloved poets, samplings of their work, a glossary of poetic terms, and several interactive quizzes and puzzles.

tag(s): poetry (227)

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Giggle Poetry - Bruce Lansky

Grades
2 to 6
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The poetry site created by children's author Bruce Lansky is far more than a plug for his books. There are numerous poetry lessons, written "at kid level" that encourage children ...more
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The poetry site created by children's author Bruce Lansky is far more than a plug for his books. There are numerous poetry lessons, written "at kid level" that encourage children to write and express themselves. There are also contests, lots of poems to read, writing tips and tools, and lots more. Check out the "Poetry Race," "Rhyme-Time Riddles,"Fill In The Blank Poems," and others. Be aware: this site does include some unobtrusive advertisements.

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Use this site as inspiration for lessons in poetry writing on your interactive whiteboard or share it on your teacher web page for enrichment. Gifted students will LOVE it. Have students create poems and share them on a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Music is Poetry - TeachersFirst

Grades
6 to 8
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A lesson unit that combines music and lyrics in a study of poetry. Part of the attraction: student get to help select the music, and hence the message. This lesson ...more
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A lesson unit that combines music and lyrics in a study of poetry. Part of the attraction: student get to help select the music, and hence the message. This lesson plan was one of the winners in a lesson plan contest sponsored by TeachersFirst. TeachersFirst editors have added technology options where appropriate.

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Conforms to Florida language arts standards. Technology options include using an interactive whiteboard.

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