For Teachers

Text Structures from Poetry, Grades 4-12

Centered around 50 classroom-proven lesson and poem pairs, the mentor texts represent a broad range of voices in contemporary poetry and the canon. These unique and engaging lessons show educators how to “pop the hood” on a poem to discover what makes it work, using text structures to unlock the engine of a poem.  This method enables educators to engage students in reading and re-reading a poem closely, to identify how the parts of the poem relate to each other to create movement, and to leverage what they have learned to write their own evocative poems.

Each of the 50 lessons includes a mentor poem that serves as an excellent model for young writers, a diagram that illustrates the text structure of the poem, and several inspiring examples of student poems written to emulate the mentor poem. Easy-to-use instructional resources enhance instructor and student understanding and include:

  • Teaching notes for unlocking the text structure of a poem and the engine that makes it work.
  • Tips for exploring rhyme scheme, meter, and fixed forms.
  • Instructional sequences that vary the ways students can read and write poems and other prose forms.
  • Ideas for revising and publishing student poems.
  • A “Meet the Contemporary Authors” section that includes fascinating messages from the contemporary poets.

Teach your students to learn about poetry using the magic of poems themselves and lead the way to a rewarding love of poetry for teachers and students alike.

“I had a BLAST with these lessons. We partnered up; each child was able to talk or read what they wrote 2 minutes each. We then read the poem of the lesson and discussed how students could relate. Then they began writing their own poem. I totally loved the outcomes.  My students rocked the lessons!”

Stacy Sauerwein, 4th grade teacher, Dripping Springs Elementary School, Dripping Springs, Texas

“Using poetry as a vehicle to critically examine and connect experiences is such a phenomenal way of getting students to pay attention to their insights as active readers.  These lessons motivate students to not only evaluate the text itself, but also to evaluate their thinking meta-cognitively.  Highly engaging and student centered, the lessons integrate cultural responsiveness authentically.  Kudos to Laura Van Prooyen and Gretchen Bernabei for giving us this instructional gift!”

Tracye Thomas, Instructional Coach, Channelview ISD, Channelview, Texas

“The poetry exercises are accessible, enriching, and easy to work with for students and teachers. The activities are constructed in a way that helps students understand the structure, theme, and tone of the model poem while providing a substantive framework to begin their own work. If teachers are looking for ways to introduce poetry to students that satisfies both how poems are made and how to craft their own, there is no better text today.”

Dameion Wagner, 11th grade teacher, Columbus, Ohio

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