Last updated: 2/19/2013


Grade K/1 - Writing - Poetry

  Subject:   English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)
  Grade:   Elementary, Kindergarten, 1st Grade
  Unit Title:  


  Approx. Number of Weeks:  

Unit Summary:

This ELA poetry unit is taught within writing workshop. Students will be encouraged to experiment with language, have fun with poetry, read a variety of poems and write free verse poems. Students will use language in powerful ways to create feelings and images. Skills and content are taught as mini-lessons within the writing workshop structure. Students take what they learn in each mini-lesson and try it in their own poetry writing. The classroom teacher confers with students about their writing process.

Next Generation Skills Addressed:
   Collaboration & Communication
   Creativity & Innovation
   Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
   Research & Information Fluency
   Social & Emotional Intelligence

1. What will students know and be able to do?


W.K.5 - With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

W.1.5 - With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

Essential Understandings:

Poets create pictures in the readers mind.

Poets convey feelings in their poems

Poems can be found in our everyday lives.


Essential Questions:

Students will know:

 Poets can find ideas in the details of their everyday lives.

•  Poetry looks different than prose because of the use of white space and line breaks.

•  Poets use carefully chosen words to write about ordinary things in compact language.


Students will be able to:

 Read and listen to poems for enjoyment.

•  Create poems on topics of importance.

•  Use line breaks and white space to create poems.

•  Use carefully chosen unique words.

•  Create a collection of original poems.

2. How will we – and they – know?

Authentic Performance Task:

Common Benchmark Assessment:

 Answer the following questions:

•  What is poetry?

•  How do poets express themselves?

Student Self-Assessment and Reflection:

•  How has writing poetry helped you grow as a writer?

•  What poetry writing strategies/tools did you use?

Students should score a 3 or 4 using the PCSD District Writing Rubric.

pcsd grade1 writingrubric2009.pdf

pcsd gradeK writingrubric2009.pdf






3. What learning activities will students participate in?

Learning Activities:

Read and reread many poems. Choose new ones and reread poems you have shared throughout the year.

• Create a shared class “What Poets Do” chart.

Ask students what they notice as they read poetry. Your students might notice some of the following things with your guidance:


Choose topics that are important to them

Use special words

Paint pictures in our minds

Express feelings

Make a rhythm with their words

Repeat things

Pay attention to how it sounds

Pay attention to how the poem looks

Make the poem into special shapes

Break up lines

Leave some space white

Make titles

Use special punctuation

Don’t use punctuation

Immerse students in at least two weeks of poetry reading and writing using this format:

1. Create a poem through shared writing (teacher coaches and scribes).

2. Students write in poetry book, journals or writing folders.

3. Teacher celebrates the good work students have been doing.

4. Class adds to or changes their “What do Poets Do” chart at the end of the lesson,

Choose some of these areas on which to focus your shared writing sessions:

 Write list poem (I wish…, I’d like to try…, Yellow is…, In the morning…)

 Write five senses poem (Spring smells like…, feels like…, sounds like…)

 Write if I were poem (If I were a ___, I would ___)

 Write used to, but now poem (I used to ___, but now I ___)

 Write short poem: brief poem that describes something meaningful

 Choose topics from everyday life

 Use rhythm – model rereading and clapping out poems to reveal a rhythm

 Use repetition – repeat a line for effect

 Use shape – create poems that look like the thing they are describing

 Use font and stylistic choices – put words in bold, all caps, or tiny font for meaning

 Use rewriting a poem – reread and rewrite a poem using special vocabulary

 Write several different end lines

Discipline Specific Considerations:

Vocabulary – Specialized and High Frequency

Genre – particular type of writing.

Poetry – art of writing poems.

Poet – person who writes poems.

Prose – writing that is not in verse.

Line Breaks – white space that helps to set the rhythm and shape of the poem.

White Space – negative space that groups the words.

Rhythm and Rhyme – sound of the words.

Ending Line – last line of the poem including punctuation.

Free Verse – unstructured form of poetry; non-rhyming.

Noticings – generalizations formed from examination of selected poems.

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