Lesson plan

Animal Poetry

Get excited about poetry! This lesson will encourage your students to practice their writing skills as they write their very own list poems about animals.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Share a poem about your favorite animal! In this reading and writing lesson, ask students to think of an interesting animal and then write a creative poem. After they’ve picked their animal and written down their ideas, they’ll share the poems with the class! Great for kindergarteners and first graders, this activity introduces a simple way to get started writing poetry. The Animal Poetry lesson plan is a great way to show kids how different and fun the writing process can be.

  • Students will use descriptive language, details, and shared writing to write list poems.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students if they know what a poem is. Allow for a few students to respond with ideas.
  • Say, “That’s right! A poem is a special type of writing that uses imagination and feeling to share an idea or thought. There are many different kinds of poems -- some rhyme, and some don’t.”
  • Explain that today you will be learning how to write your very own list poems about animals.
(5 minutes)
  • Read the class the following list poem:

Dessert Dessert is so delicious! I like chocolate that is cold I like rainbow cake I like lemon bars I like sweet, sweet candy I like brownies with whipped cream and a cherry I like fruit all mixed together with some yogurt I like gooey cookie dough before it is baked And don’t forget lots of sprinkles!

  • Invite students to turn and talk to a friend using questions such as, “This was a list poem. Why do you think it is called that? Did you notice anything special about the way it was written? Was it written like a sentence? A list? All about food or desserts? Facts?”
  • Ask for a few groups to briefly share their ideas.
  • Explain that a list poem is about one topic that the poet is telling you about (in this case, dessert), each line often starts the same way, and it has a beginning and an ending.
(10 minutes)
  • Say, “So today we are going to write our own list poems about animals. First, I need your help. We’re going to create our own word bank. Can you think of words that describe different animals (ex. furry, striped, soft, horns, skin, hoof)?” Encourage your students to think of as many words as they can.
  • Record the words on the animal word bank.
  • Tell the class that they are going to help you write a list poem about cats. Ask them to think of the words that best describe a cat.
  • Write 'Cats' at the top of a large piece of chart paper. Begin the first line by writing, "These creatures make good pets." Then ask students to tell you why cats are good pets.
  • Record student thinking in a list format, beginning each line with “They are…”
  • Read aloud the finished group poem by having the class echo each line after you.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get a chance to write their own list poems about an animal of their choice (except for cats). Say, “Your lines can be one or two words, and if you can stretch each line into a few words or a sentence, wonderful!”
  • Ask students to show a thumbs up when they have thought of the animal they would like to write about.
  • Pass out the Animal Poem worksheets and encourage students to use words from the animal word bank you generated during guided practice to help them spell words as they write their poems.
  • Have students add illustrations to their poems if time allows.

Enrichment: Encourage advanced students to write a second list poem about a second animal or a topic of their choosing. Try using the optional worksheets, My Family and School Poems.

Support: Allow students to draw each part of their poem in pictures. Have them dictate the words for you to write above or below each picture.

(5 minutes)
  • Check in with students individually during the independent work portion. Check that students are using words that describe their animals.
  • Have students turn to the person next to them and share their poems. Ask students to notice the describing words that their classmates used.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together and have two to three students share their poem with the class. After each student reads their work, allow for one to two questions or comments as time allows.
  • Display student poems in your classroom.

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