Fun Assignments for Composing Poems

Teach your students not to groan when you say, “It’s time for poetry.” Make your lessons so much fun that the kids are begging for more. It’s easy; just think outside the box.

Coffee house chatter

Introduce your students to the coffee house of the past. Show them a snippet of Mike Myers and his recitation of the poem, “Woman.” from, “So I Married an Axe Murderer.” Ask each student to write a poem based on one word. Set your room up like a coffee shop. Bring in a coffeemaker and heat water. Use insulated cups and make all the students hot chocolate or fruity tea. Give the kids a microphone, even if it isn’t working, and have your own classroom coffee house. If possible, ask students to wear a black turtleneck and provide a black beret for the poet to wear.

Poetry slam

Older students may take the coffee house one step farther and have a poetry slam. In a poetry slam, students compete against one another. The audience votes for the winner. For more information, read about the poetry slams in the FAQ. To make it safe, give students a rubric so they know what they should look for as each child performs. 

Shape poetry

Younger students love to play with shapes. Help the kids outline a simple shape, like a kite, cloud or puppy on a large piece of drawing paper. The kids will write a poem about their subject, writing the words around the outline they have drawn. Using crayons, the kids will decorate their poem by coloring the shape and adding additional pictures.

Cinquain friends

Write a cinquain poem with the entire class. Then break the students up in small groups of two or three people. Give the kids a template for the poem at this link. Have each group of kids make a cootie catcher for their poem. Transfer the poem to the cootie catcher. Students will write one line on each of the flaps, starting one one flap and rotating in a clock-wise pattern. The final word will go on the back of the poem. Underneath each flap, the students will draw a picture that correlates with the words. Groups will share their cootie catchers with one another. Each will try to guess the subject of each poem. Check Scholastic for a detailed explanation.

Twist it up

Practice tongue-twisters with your kids. Here are a few that can help them practice. Then ask them to write their own alliteration poem and see if they can stump their classmates.

Edward Lear lives

Share the fun of the limerick with your students. The most-noted author, Edward Lear, has a plethora of fun poems. Here is a partial list. Using humor as the key, have students write entertaining limericks to share with the class. Give awards for the funniest poem in as many different categories that you can create.

Poetry doesn’t have to be dull and boring. Turning the job into fun will turn your students into poets.