Fun Way to Analyze Poetry Techniques in Upper Elementary

October 17, 2012

Become a Poetry Detective

This week, we started a short unit on reading and writing poetry. Poetry is my absolute favorite! I love seeing kids get creative when they are given the tools to express their ideas any way they like. Reading poetry is also a favorite in my class and I love sharing them with my students! Becoming a poetry detective is a fun way to analyze poetry techniques in upper elementary – and a great way to introduce your poetry unit.

Poetry Techniques Anchor Chart


At the beginning of every new writing unit, we start an anchor chart to analyze mentor texts. I usually add a picture of the book (or poem, in this case), the author’s name, and what we notice about the author’s writing techniques. It is especially fun to analyze poetry techniques since authors do so many different things!

The trouble with starting to analyze poetry techniques is that there’s just SO DARN MUCH of it. All different kinds, authors, lengths…you name it. So, I shared 3 poems as class mentor texts. Which didn’t seem like enough. At all.

Reading Poems and Recording Observations

They really needed to see more examples than just 3. And notice more things than 3 poems could provide.

So….I sifted through my poetry books and pulled several poems that I thought had a lot of elements of poetry sprinkled throughout. I made color copies (shhhhhhh! Don’t tell!) and put them all together in a little packet.

After we worked on the poems for the chart together, they took a packet with their partner and used the graphic organizer below to record what they noticed – they turned into Poetry Detectives. We have been focusing on what the author does as a writer, so I asked them to notice and record things about the writing techniques, NOT the topic of the poems.

Making a Class Anchor Chart

After they worked with their partners, we had a discussion as a class about things they noticed in a lot of the poems or all of them. They wrote their top 4 on sticky notes and added them to our chart.

Our goal was to have a list of elements that can guide our study of poetry and tell us what we need to include in our poems, and what we can be looking for when we read them! This is always a fun lesson and students have a great time while being exposed to lots of different poems.

Grab the free Poetry Detectives note catcher here, and give this activity a try with your class this week!

 Do you use mentor texts in your classroom? Leave a comment below to tell me how!

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