5 Fresh Poetry Ideas for Middle or High School Students

It can take a lot of work to get students excited about poetry! Here are five fresh poetry ideas you can use to inspire students to write their own poems.

1. Pet Peeve Poetry

Many students find writing poetry very intimidating: they get stuck for an idea, and they think it has to rhyme or be filled with deep meaning and emotion. Students succeed best when given a template or a prompt for inspiration. One of the strategies I use in class is using students' pet peeves as a starting point for poetry. It is easy to get students talking about what irritates them and makes them angry! Once we get started on a class discussion, it quickly becomes evident that students have many pet peeves and that they can talk for hours about them.  Why not channel that anger and frustration into a Pet Peeve Poem? Grab a copy of the activity either in PRINT or DIGITAL, and get started on this activity today. Everything is included!

2.  Personification Poetry

Students have always loved this activity, and I get such a giggle from seeing what they come up with.  Years ago, I found a sticker pack of "googly eyes" at the dollar store and thought they would be fun for something at school... just wasn't sure how or what I could use them for.  It wasn't until a student stuck a pair on the pencil sharpener that an idea was born. Students use "eyes" to create a character on an inanimate object and then write a poem personifying that object.  It's amazing how "alive" something comes with a pair of eyes.  If you can find "googly eyes" at your local dollar/craft store, they work really well, but I've had just as much success with students drawing eyes on paper and cutting them out.  The advantage of cutting out paper eyes is that they can create emotion depending on how they are drawn. Students love sharing what they come up with for their poems!

3. Imagery Poem
I love to have students think about imagery when reading and writing.  I use Wordworth's poem "Lonely As a Cloud" as inspiration (and a lesson) to help students write their own imagery poems about a favorite place. This is the perfect activity for spring, as Wordworth's poem draws on the season in his famous piece. You can grab a copy of the activity HERE.

4. Out My Window Poetry

Many of us have been at home more than ever during the last few years, and we have spent more time in our backyards, porches, balconies, and neighborhoods.  What do your students see when they look outside? A busy city full of the sounds of a bustling community? A quiet farm field? Suburban streets? Why not use their home environment as inspiration for a poem?  If students are not comfortable sharing about their community or home, they can make up a view that they might like to see from a window.  Grab a FREE copy of this activity HERE.

5. This is Just to Say Parody

I love the poem "This Is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams, and I love to have students write a parody of the poem. Click HERE to read the original poem.  As the poem is thought to have been written as a note left in the kitchen for his wife, why not have students write their parody as a note?  Students at school could pin them to a bulletin board for others to read, and students at home could take photos of where they would put the note. Students could also use a photo or image as a background to their poem, as I did below.

For more fun and fresh poetry ideas, check out these resources from the ladies of the Secondary English Coffee Shop.

For all of my poetry activities, check out my Poetry Bundle HERE.

Poetry Mini-Book - The Classroom Sparrow

Writing Poetry Presentation - Tracee Orman

Poetry Digital Escape Room - Nouvelle ELA

Digital Poetry Analysis Task Cards - The Daring English Teacher

I hope you and your students have fun with the activities!


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