Lesson plan

Painting Poetic Pictures with Words!

Do your students struggle with word choices? In this lesson, students will learn strategies for choosing vivid words for their poetry. Although the “persona poem” is used as a model, any type of poetry can be used!
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to distinguish between general and specific words.
  • Students will be able to select specific and vivid words related to poetry that they will write.
  • Students will be able to use spelling strategies to attempt spelling words of choice.
  • Students will be able to revise and edit their writing.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite the students to participate in a shared class drawing.
  • Explain that each student will have the opportunity to add to the drawing but that their turn is over when they lift the pencil or marker.
  • Post a large piece of chart paper or use an interactive whiteboard.
  • Invite all students to the front of the class and have the students form a line.
  • Have one student begin the drawing and then pass the pencil or marker on to the next student in line.
  • Once the drawing is complete, lead a brief discussion about the drawing. What details can the students find?
  • Tell the students that writing is like drawing or painting a picture. The details and word choices are very important because they help the reader make a vivid image of the writing.
  • Tell the students that they will be working on choosing and editing words for poems that they will write.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the students that when we write we can “paint pictures” with our words. We can use words that help the reader get a vivid mental image.
  • Explain that you are going to start with a general word and that you are going to brainstorm other words that are more specific and vivid. (If needed, explain the difference between general and specific words.)
  • Using the purpose of writing a persona poem from the perspective of a snowman, write three words on the board, one below the other: "hard," "cold," "stuck." (If desired, you can use another topic of choice.)
  • Model the process of brainstorming synonyms for the word “hard,” such as the words “firm” or “solid.” Write these words directly next to the word “hard."
  • Continue with the word “cold", writing the words “freezing” and “frigid".
  • On each of the first two lines, circle the words that are the best words to use.
  • As you point to the word “stuck", think aloud, telling the students that you are thinking of the word “jabbed” but don’t know how to spell it.
  • Draw a chart on the board that resembles the spelling independent practice page chart.
  • Model the process of attempting to spell the word “jabbed” and “pressed” twice. Then show the students how you can use a dictionary to figure out the spelling.
(10 minutes)
  • Guide the students in using a different topic, brainstorming the best words to use, circling those words, and attempting to spell unknown words. Sample topic and word choices: Use the topic of a squirrel. Brainstorm words that mean the same as “looking” (gazing) and “running” (scampering, dashing).
  • Give students the opportunity to add words to the chart or attempt their own words.
  • Challenge the students and ask them to create a picture of what each word looks like. Encourage them to be specific.
  • If students need extra practice, give each student a sticky note and a selected topic. Have the students brainstorm general and specific words for that topic.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to beginning brainstorming a topic for their poem. Tell them that they will be working on selecting words that they can use when writing their poem. Emphasize the importance of “painting pictures with words."
  • Distribute the Poetry Planner: Choosing My Words worksheet and have the students work on generating specific words that match general words and then choosing their own words to match their poetry topics.


  • Have students brainstorm words for a contrasting topic so that they have two sets of words that tell about two distinct topics.
  • Ask students to create a visual for their poetry theme or topic.


  • For students who have difficulty getting started with their topics, provide a list of potential topics or brainstorm topics with small groups of students.
  • Use visuals or technology tools such as “Visual Thesaurus” to help students find their words.
  • In place of using chart paper and markers, have the students use the interactive whiteboard to create their class illustration.
  • Have students use a graphic or image search to find pictures that inspire their poetry.
  • Ask students to create an image using Google Drawings that can be used to create a poem.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to circle the most specific words among the words that they brainstormed on their worksheets.
  • Ask students to use these words in a phrase that relates to their topic.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite students to share their topics and words with classmates, along with ideas for their poems.
  • Discuss how their words could be used at a later time to create a poem.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items