Poetry Month activities for your classroom

Poetry Month Activities: 5 creative ideas for teaching poetry

March 24, 2023Angelia Simpson

When is Poetry Month?

April is National Poetry Month, an annual celebration established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. It is a time to celebrate the diversity and richness of the literary arts and explore how poetry can inspire, uplift, and transform us. Teaching poetry activities can be a fun and creative experience, and there are many ideas you can use to help students understand and enjoy this literary art form. Whether you are a seasoned teacher or new to teaching poetry, these creative ideas will have your students engaged and appreciating poems.

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Poetry Month Activities: 6 engaging ideas for teaching poetry

1. Teach the foundations of poetry

Before asking students to analyze or write poems, it’s important to teach them foundational knowledge. Although art is subjective and poetry is art, there are many basic elements students should know about beforehand. After all, understanding the work that goes into it and its history will help students appreciate these literary masterpieces.

Matching Pairs What is Poetry activities

Here are some lessons, activities, and videos you can use to introduce poetry:

Learn Zillion's Poetry Lesson Series
  • What Is Poetry? (Grades 4-8): In this investigative video from Nearpod Originals, students learn that poetry can be almost anything—but often includes figurative language and sound devices. They also consider how song lyrics are a form of poetry.
  • Learn Zillion’s Poetry Series (Grades 4-8): This poetry lesson collection from Nearpod and Learn Zillion includes lessons about poetry setting, reading poems, determining mood or theme, poem structure, symbolism, and more. Choose a lesson, launch it as is, or modify it to fit your student’s needs.

2. Inspire students to write poems using virtual reality

Poetry tends to be descriptive and visual, so pricing them with inspiring visuals can result in creative writing. Instead of simply showing a static image for visual inspiration, immerse them into a setting using a Virtual Reality (VR) Field Trip. Don’t worry, no headsets are needed for this! Students will need to have their own devices, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, or teachers can simply project the VR experience on a screen in front of the class.

Here are some VR lessons you can use for free:

Virtual Reality (VR) activity exploring nature to write poetry for Poetry Month
  • Exploring Poetry in Nature (Grades 6-8): In this VR lesson, students will strengthen their poetry skills as they learn how authors use sensation and emotion in poems. Students will explore various scenes through virtual reality experiences as inspiration for writing their own poetry.
  • Ode to the Simple Things (Grades 6-8): In this VR lesson, students explore odes and how poetry can be about simple as well as complex things. Students take a virtual field to a beach with many pebbles, then write an ode to pebbles.
  • Conjuring the Senses (Grades 6-8): In this VR lesson, students explore how imagery of the five senses can enrich the meaning of a poem. Students take a virtual field to the Thames River and consider how the river would affect their senses.

3. Create Drag and Drop activities to practice magnetic poetry

Drag and Drop example for teaching magnetic poetry during Poetry Month

Of all the poetry month activities, magnetic poems and poetry frames are adaptable for many grade levels. Nearpod’s Drag and Drop feature allows teachers to create digital magnetic poems. Use this tool to have students enter words or phrases to create their own poems. By having students drag text or images in a Drag and Drop, they can create more descriptive poems. Try out this activity.

Teachers can add higher-level vocabulary or simple decodable words depending on students’ abilities.

Drawing poetry activities to teach poetry frames to young writers

4. For young writers, use poetry frames

Poetry Frames are another excellent source of inspiration for young writers. These graphic organizers can easily get students started writing their own poems. Teachers can create their own frames or upload premade ones into the Drag and Drop background. Help students model lyrics or even sonnets. Try out this activity.

5. Boost creativity visual or concrete poetry

Poetry is filled with imagery, and pictures are great resources to spark ideas. Try these poetry month activities to incorporate visual imagery into poetry:

  • Using Nearpod’s drawing assessment tool, Draw it, students can create their own concrete poems, which are poems that take the shape of their topic.
  • Teachers can upload PDFs of poem examples to accompany directions. Use poems by Jack Prelutsky or Shel Silverstein for a fun twist.
  • Create a lesson where students can choose their own visual to inspire a poem. They can then write their poem using the Draw It or Open-Ended Question tool. This grants more creative freedom for students to take their poetry to new and interesting places.
  • Students can write concrete poems directly into the lesson. Not only can teachers upload reference images into the Draw It activity, but students can also upload their own images or explore on Google Safe Search.
Visual concrete poems drawing activity for teaching poetry

6. Shared poetry using the Collaborate Board

Good ideas often come with a little help. Shared poetry gives writers an extra boost. Using the Collaborate Board activity, the class develops shared class poetry. Creating a shared poetry lesson in Nearpod is quick, simple, and impactful with these steps: 

  • In Nearpod, click on “Create” then “Lessin.” Here you will add an activity slide and select Collaborate Board.
  • Then, type into the directions box your lesson topic. The beauty of this activity is that teachers have total control over the prompt – being as specific or broad as is necessary while still fostering creativity. Add a simple visual image as reference media to allow for multiple interpretations or give detailed directions/ instructional aids for students to mimic certain poetic styles or devices. 
  • Assign your shared poetry lesson to the class by sharing the lesson code with students. So much flexibility is given that teachers can allow students to add to the shared poem individually or work in groups.
  • The whole class sees what’s being contributed to the poem in real time. It’s a great opportunity to discuss ideas and share thinking, even sharing comments!

Collaborate Board’s design layout allows students to add audio recordings and videos! Results are unexpected but wholly unique and diverse. The real trick is to pick broad topics while also being relatable. Themes like love, friendship, or nature give room for interpretation but not too broad to disconnect students.

Shared poetry activity using the Collaborate Board

Start teaching poetry activities with the help of Nearpod

We’re so excited to see you use these tips in the classroom! Not only can you use these tips and activities for Poetry Month, you can use them when teaching poetry any time of the school year. Nearpod’s interactive activities and lessons will keep your students engaged and learning, while supporting you as their teacher through real-time insights.

New to Nearpod? Sign up for free to access standards-aligned activities and create interactive lessons!

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