Lesson Plan

Creating Poetry From NonFiction Text

Using factual text to evoke emotion, feeling, thoughts about a nonfiction theme or topic
DeeAnne C.
Technology Instruction and Intigration
Union East Elementary School
Cheektowaga, NY
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Students will be able to...:

  • Identify and share descriptive phrases within nonfiction text
  • Evaluate and organize text to create a poem that conveys the text an artistic way.
  • Utilize technology tools to create and share information



English Language Arts
Grades 5 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

For this lesson share, students will be working in even number of small groups, using a different piece of nonfiction text, with all pieces the same topic/theme from an online resource. But, this activity can be:

  • used before, during, and/or after students read a short, simple and/or complex nonfiction piece of writing
  • used as a whole group, small group, and/or individual work session
  • nonfiction texts highlighting events in history evoking emotion and opinions are best

Now the Hook:

Using a word cloud creator tool (wordle (http://www.wordle.net/create ) or abcya ( http://www.abcya.com/word_clouds.htm ), have students copy the nonfiction  piece of work they just finished reading into the word cloud. Once cloud is generated have students print copy if needed.

Have students evaluate the electronic/printed word cloud copy, identifying and discussing the more common words and phrases that that evoke feeling, emotions, thoughts, etc.


2 Direct Instruction

Explain the assignment, identifying the structure of an unstructured poem and expectation of final product.

Explain to students that the word cloud found the most common words and phrases, which is a good start to finding emotion language, but it may have missed some words.  They will need to re-read the poem, looking for additional words and phrases that evoke emotions, feelings,  and thoughts.

Students can copy and paste text into a word or pdf document and use the built in highlighting tool or they can use an online tools like evernote (account needed) or awesome highlighter ( http://www.awesomehighlighter.com - account needed), to evaluate and identify text;  highlighting the words/ phrases not accentuated by the word cloud that identify the theme, feeling, emotion, etc. of the text.  Print copy if needed.

3 Guided Practice

Using a sharing tool like Todays meet (https://todaysmeet.com ) or corkboard.me (now https://noteapp.com ) have student groups share the identified phrases and words with the rest of the groups in the class.

Once the phrases and words are shared, as a whole group and/or in the small groups, direct students to discuss the "feeling" relationship, commonality, theme, etc. of phrases.  Question: Is it happy. sad, etc.? Is there more than one feeling within the works?

Direct students, within groups, to select the "feeling " they want their poem to convey,  Then select which phrases, based on the feeling they want to convey,  they would like to use to create a free flowing poem. (I typically ask for at least five phrases.)

Using the (un)structure of a free flow poem, student groups will create a poem in a word processing program, by  selecting and organizing the words and phrases; structuring to allow for a fluid "flow" of the tong when reading aloud. This is also a great opportunity to discuss, have a mini lesson, on use of periods and comma's within poetry.

An example of a poem created by students after reading a short nonfiction story about Anne Frank:

My heart sank,

Tears welled in my eyes,

I wondered if tomorrow would every come.

Who can save me?

Why not now?



4 Independent Practice

As homework, classwork, etc. a variation on this for idependent practice, would be to have students, using tools and processes as presented in lesson, indepently create a "feeling" poem based on one of several selections (teacher determined short, nonfiction, feeling provoking selections - choice of 5 or 6 selections).  Student will need to read through all selections prior to selection, in entirety, because knowing content will be important for next step). Allow students enough time to read, select, and create,...( and record!).

Once poems are created, students share poems (via another sharing tool, whole/small group, listening to recordings, etc.).  As poem is shared, students in class determine which piece of writing the poem is based on.  (If necessasry, students may have to re-read selections prior to this activity.)  Correct selection, by listenters/reader of the peice of writing poem was created from, will examplify a writers work.


What the students enjoy, and typically have them do... Once poem is create, students search for images using various creative commons resources such as Flickr to represent the emotion, feeling, etc. of the topic/them of created poem. It can be treated much like a rubis, but instead of replacing the word, have the feeling picture embedding in the writing. Or if the pictures are clear enough, they can replace the words.

An example:

My heart sank,

Tears  welled in my eyes,

I wondered if tomorrow would every come.

Who can save me?

Why not now?




5 Wrap-Up

To share “out” the poems, students can suppliment their poems using any number of recording devices and pair pictures with recordings; or use multimedia tool/software with recording features; post to forums; etc. . – the possibilities are endless.

I find Audacity a very useful tool when recording.  Students can easily record, save recording, and in many word processing programs they can upload the recorded sound clip.

The feeling of a poem "reads" better if heard.  In many cases, nflection of voice sets the mood. Listening to the author(s) evoking feeling within written word is always fascinating. This also helps with "fluency" in reading.