Poetry Lesson Plans
The Favorite Poem Project seeks to improve poetry's place in American classrooms by encouraging active, engaging poetry lessons that emphasize a direct, vocal connection to poems. The lessons below were developed by teachers as part of their participation in the Favorite Poem Project summer poetry institutes hosted by Boston University.

In keeping with the goals of the Favorite Poem Project, the lessons presented here focus on appreciating poetryóreading, discussing, and enjoying poemsórather than on the writing of original poetry. Several of the lessons emphasize pleasure in the words and sounds of poems as place to beginóreminding students that poetry is art, and that it is satisfying and exciting to discover a poem that enthralls you and to say it in your own voice. If poetry is first presented in classrooms as something to seek out and enjoy, rather than something to pick apart, label and decipher, students are more likely to become interested in developing a deeper understanding of meaning in poems, in looking more closely at forms, in learning the tools poets use and the terms that identify those tools.

Many of these lessons make use of the Favorite Poem Project video segments. The videos are available for viewing on this Web site, or may be purchased on DVD with the anthology An Invitation to Poetry. The book/DVD set is also available in a paperback textbook edition for use in high school and introductory college courses. A comprehensive classroom guide written by Robert Pinsky, Maggie Dietz, Todd Hearon and Jill McDonough, is available to instructors who adopt the text for a course.

Though the lessons below are organized by grade level, many of them could easily be adapted for students in higher or lower grades.

All Grades

Student Favorite Poem Videos

Elementary Lesson Plans

Family Introduction to the Favorite Poem Project
Sharing with Parents
Favorite Poem Response Board
Poetry Circle
Student Videos: In Their Own Voices


Middle School Lesson Plans

Poetry and Culture
Learning the Lines
Veteran's Day or Memorial Day Poetry Lesson
Students as Editors
Favorite Poems: Ours and Others'


High School Lesson Plans

Seeking Poems, Sharing Connections
     1. Initiating Activity for a Poetry Unit
     2. Poetry: Why Bother?!
     3. Student Presentations
     4. What is Poetry?
Reading Poems Aloud: Sound and Meaning
Terms for the Tools of Poetry
Line It Up
Poetry and Loss
Listening for Tone
Introduction to Poems in Translation
Passing Poetry On


Summer Institutes | School Events | Lesson Plans | Poetry Across Disciplines