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Learning Experience/Unit

Language of Poetry


English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core)

Grade Levels

Commencement, 11th Grade

Learning Context/ Introduction

Students will recognize and be able to create poetic language. Using a newspaper article, each student will create a poem about the event in the article they selected. The poem will then be recorded to a Photo Story project they will create to go with their poems. The goal is for each student to be able to enhance the news article through the use of poetic language, music they select to enhance mood, and pictures which reflect the events in the poem.

This unit requires that students have prior experience in reading and analyzing poetry. They should have at least a basic knowledge of poetry techniques and vocabulary terms. Finished projects will be viewed in class by peers.

Essential Question

How does the language of poetry differ from the language of prose?


Students will need enough practice with poetic language to be able to pick out the figurative language in a poem independently. This may involve only a lesson to recall the process if students have had previous experience with the language of poetry, but if they do not have this prior knowledge, you will have to allow time to teach it.

With blocks that are 75 minutes, the project will take five days to complete with a class of 15-20 students.


Note: Microsoft Photo Story is only available as an application for the Windows operating system. Mac OS users may use iMovie, Keynote, or PowerPoint to create photo-based stories.


The following is a list of suggested terms and techniques students might incorporate in their poems:

  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Simile
  • Metaphor
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Hyperbole
  • Rhyme
  • Meter
  • Stanza
  • Mood
  • Tone


Day 1

  1. Show students where to find news articles on the internet using the projection screen so they can see where to search. Take notes from the article to use in writing a poem.
  2. Put the notes you took from the article up on the projection screen so everyone can see them. From the notes you have taken, create a rough draft of a poem. Show students how to find the words in each line that will better recreate the experience for the reader. This is the time to help students see the difference between the language of poetry and the language of prose by using figurative language wherever possible to enhance the reader's experience.
  3. Model finding the words you will change, remove and add in the rough draft of your poem, as you work from the notes you have taken from your news article. This will be done using the projection screen so students will see the drafting process.
  4. Provide links on school web page for students to find news articles on the internet. There will be a variety of reading levels offered through the selected sites to accommodate the special needs students. This will be included in the description with each link on my web page. Now students are ready to begin their own projects.
  5. Students will choose a news articles from which they will create a poem and begin taking notes.


Day 2

Students will create the rough draft for their poems. As they finish, they will begin working with a partner to evaluate the use of appropriate figurative language in their poems.


Day 3

Students will finish revising their poems and begin creating the background for the reading of their poems on Photo Story:

  1. Time the reading of the poem with the stop watch.
  2. Find appropriate pictures which will reflect the meaning of the poem, and place them in the tray on Photo Story to be ordered and sorted.
  3. Students put the pictures in the appropriate order to reflect the content of the poem.





Day 4

Students will select background music to go with the pictures, looping it, so it will play continuously until the end. Using a microphone, students will record the reading of their poems.


Day 5

Students will use the projection screen to share their completed Photo Story projects with the class.



Rubric attached.

Student Work

See sample work below.

  • High Word Documents
  • Medium Word Documents
  • Low
  • High
  • Medium
  • Low
  • Instructional/Environment Modifications

    • Classroom must be equipped with enough computers for all students.
    • Projection system and screen will enhance presentation, but students can view on computer screen.
    • Students with reading comprehension difficulties should have assistance with the reading and interpretation of the news articles they select.
    • Use of a laptop lab or a traditional computer lab will enhance the modeling process by enabling students to follow you through the various steps on the computer from finding the links to using Photo Story.

    Reflections and Feedback

    I would review poetry terms and techniques just before starting this project. During the modeling process, I would spend more time on the importance of using words that convey emotion in their poems. I did not require a certain number of techniques from the listed vocabulary be used, but you may want to make the use of certain techniques mandatory. If you are using a laptop lab when students are creating their Photo Story projects, you may want to test the volume students are getting on their recorded projects. I had to have several students record their projects a second time on the desktop computers because of the poor quality of the first recordings done on the laptops. Other than that small problem, my students found the program very easy to work with. They had no prior experience with Photo Story.

    It is easy to monitor progress and help students because you are free to constantly circulate as students work. At the beginning of each day, students were clearly told how far they should be by the end of the block. I did not have any students who required extra time, including my special needs students. I was able to help them when they needed some extra guidance, but most of them found the technology very easy to use. They also had extra help available in the resource room if they required some assistance with the word analysis, but all of my students were able to complete it in class.

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