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English/Language Arts Lesson Plan: Poetry Unit – Writing Humorous Poetry

Topic – Poetry Unit, Humorous Poetry (free verse/style of choice), 5th grade

Big Ideas; Learning Goals; Driving Questions:

•Poets write poetry to convey a message or an idea.
•”Silly” poetry often has no clear message and focuses on the sounds of words rather than the overall meaning. “Witty” poetry takes an idea, thought,
and twists it or explains it in an unconventional way.
•Creative rhyme schemes, including a “hook” or “surprise”, and refer to objects and people in less ordinary ways

Context: Mid-unit of poetry genre study, currently working on building a variety (form, content) of poems for an individual Poetry Anthology. Writer’s
Workshop lesson format is used in this lesson.

Content Standards and Objectives /Assessments

W.GN.05.02 write poetry based Students will be able to: Student will:
on reading a wide variety of -Participate in rich discussion based on the information
grade-appropriate poetry. -Compare the qualities of a “silly” poem, and a read in the text.
“witty” poem. -Write a poem using the skill(s) mentioned in the mini-
W.PS.05.01 exhibit personal
style and voice to enhance the
written message in both -Write a humorous and witty poem (any form) that
narrative (e.g., personification, has a meaningful message. Teacher will:
humor, element of surprise) and -Lead a rich text-based discussion that encourages
informational writing (e.g., -Verbally share a portion of a poem that was thought sharing, questioning, and provide time for
emotional appeal, strong opinion, created in this lesson. analyzing the text.
credible support). -Circulate during writing time to inquire about sharing,
and help move kids forward in their writing.
S.CN.05.03 speak effectively
-Lead a share-out following writing time.
using varying modulation, volume,
and pace of speech to indicate
emotions, create excitement, and
emphasize meaning in narrative
and informational presentations.

Created by Katrin Oddleifson Robertson and Shannon Kurtz McGrath, 2010 1

Duration: 50 minutes

Materials: -Free To Be You and Me book by Marlo Thomas and friends

-Overheads of 3 poems: “Don’t Dress Your Cat in an Apron”, “My Dog Is A Plumber”, “Helping”
-30 copies of “My Dog Is A Plumber”/”Helping”
-Writer’s Notebooks (Thinkbooks)

Time/Task Instructional Moves Considerations: Management, etc.

15 minutes -Share purpose and big ideas by saying “Today I’m going to teach you how to -Have overheads, copies, and book (for
write poems that…” illustrations) ready at carpet.
Mini- -Show 1st mentor text, read aloud to students.
Lesson -Ask students what they notice about how the author uses “humor”, and what
makes this poem funny. Notice the underlying meaningful message in each poem.
-Follow this sequence for next two mentor texts.
-Release students to write by saying “During our writing time today, I’d like you
to write a humorous and witty poem that has a message or meaningful idea
behind the funny tone. Here are some strategies for writing this poem”:
1) Starting out with the idea/quote/family saying/message and finding a way to
make it funny – allow the words/language to follow. (Messages in “Don’t Dress
Your Cat in an Apron” and “My Dog Is A Plumber”)
2) Include a surprise that the reader is not expecting by establishing a rhythm
or predictability, and then breaking it. (“Helping” Poem)
3) Think of a situation in which you can twist to be odd, or from a perspective
that is unusual.
4) Tell a funny mini-story (ex. “Mine your Thinkbooks for an old story!”) using
creative rhyme schemes (i.e. internal rhyme), alliterations, words with double
meanings, and other poetic devices (or “plays on words”) that are intentionally
weaved throughout the poem.
-“Please go work silently on writing a witty poem for the next 25 minutes, raise
your hand if you are stuck or have an individual question.”

Created by Katrin Oddleifson Robertson and Shannon Kurtz McGrath, 2010 2

25 minutes -Students will write silently at their desks or in a spot around the room that is -Pass tape around so that students can tape
comfortable for them. the poems in their Thinkbooks if they want.
Writing -I will be available for help and may hold 2-3 writing conferences with -Select 3 students’ poems to highlight
Time students on previously written poems (if time allows, and if students aren’t
asking for help towards end of writing time).
-During this time I will also select approximately 3 students’ poems that I
will highlight by asking to read the entire poem during the “popcorn share”.
10 minutes -A couple minutes before writing time is over, I will ask students to select a
few lines of their poems to share “popcorn” style (each student will “pop” up
Sharing silently out of their seat, one at a time to stand and read their lines to the class
Time and sit down).
-Before sharing emphasize: “We have share time so other’s can benefit from
your work, so make sure you are loud enough to be heard – you will have to
repeat yourself if students give the ‘pinky signal’”. (The pinky signal is our
classes’ way of signaling to the speaker that they cannot be heard.)
-“Begin popcorn share!”
-When the 3 selected students share their poems, “pause” the popcorn share to
emphasize the qualities present in their work.
-Tell students verbally that I appreciate the class’s sharing and hard work.

Created by Katrin Oddleifson Robertson and Shannon Kurtz McGrath, 2010 3