Poetry to Improve the Writing Process

Why poetry?

Poetry is fabulous for teaching mood, tone (the reading standards our 9th graders are currently addressing), and specific word choice. It’s also ideal for teaching the writing process of planning, revising, editing, and rewriting.

Lesson idea: Out My Window Project with Performance Art Poetry

Write a poem about their hometowns to publish online for a wider audience to read.

  1. Teach the writing process through poetry. See “Performance Art Poetry” for the lesson idea.
  2. Use www.visuwords.com to help with definitions and word choice.
Have students publish their poetry through the Out My Window Project, where students write and publish poetry about what they see out their window (or where they grew up).

Here’s the summary of the project:

  1. Take a photo (or find one they can edit and republish — through Creative Commons or Google images with reuse licenses and be sure to add correct citation).
  2. Add text of poem (the easy way is to do it in a Google Presentation then download as jpeg) and/or publish to the web.
  3. Then share out to Twitter with hashtag #omw1415.
Here’s an example by Leslie Pralle Keehn (used with permission).
Snow by Leslie Pralle Keehn


Final thoughts:

Connect to the reading standards of tone and mood while focusing on the writing process. Clearly point out the steps of the writing process, or ask students about the writing process as they share their poetry. Publishing it online is a bonus that is well worth the rewards of an authentic audience, but it’s not the focus of the week.

  • How would you introduce the writing cycle to your students?
  • How does having an authentic audience impact their focus on the writing process?
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