A (Remote) Exploration of Poetry: Week 1


a (Remote) Exploration of POetry

Hello, dear friends and brave teachers,

I’m going to dispense with the bells and whistles because none of us have time for that. Since my students are at home for the rest of the year, I’ve made some on-the-fly adjustments to our curriculum (like: No Macbeth By Yourself at Home!) and, so, come up with an April-lengthed poetry exploration in honor of National Poetry Month.

I’d like to share it with you.

Here’s the barest bare bones:

  • Each week, we zoom in on one element of poetry.
  • Each week, I provide one poetry mini-lesson that models unpacking some elements of a poem in a video for students and asks them to draft a poem.
  • Each week, students choose to complete ONE (of two) annotation activities and ONE (of two) discussion activities on either Padlet or Flipgrid.

The big goal is that students will be exposed to a variety of poetry, dive deep into a few key elements of poetry, and write some of their own. At the end of the month, we will do a one-week workshop where they take a few of those poetry drafts and revise them into something they are ready to turn in and publish.

(P.S. If you don’t already,  head to Brett Vogelsinger’s brilliant GO POEMS! blog each day for a new 10-minute poetry activity during National Poetry Month.)


(I had originally shared the documents in this post as live Google Docs to make it easier for you to copy and edit them to meet your needs. However, as individuals have been going in and making changes to the original docs, I have had to lock them down as PDFs.)

This week we are taking a look at structure through three poems that all deal with the natural world: “Meteor Shower” by Clint Smith, “How Dark the Beginning” by Maggie Smith, and “Death of a Naturalist” by Seamus Heaney.

Since you will need to set up your own Padlet wall or Flipgrid for discussion, I’m not including those instructions here.

DISCUSSION 1: Consider the three poems together — how are they doing similar things? How are they doing different things? How does each poem see the natural world?

DISCUSSION 2: Choose an image from each poem that illustrates the tone and talk about what you notice and what you think it means for the poem.

I hope this helps take something off your plate and engage your students in some meaningful reading and writing while they are away from you.

You’re doing great! Stay well.




  1. Do you ever share poetry lessons for middle schoolers? I have struggling readers and I’d love to do this but it seems a little over their heads. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi, Deb. I teach 7th and 8th grade! These lessons are for my mixed-level 8th grade classes! We’ve done two weeks’ worth so far, and they are really blowing me away with what they are able to do.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this poetry exploration unit. It is exactly what I need! Your ideas shared in this post are giving me confidence in sharing a quality remote poetry experience with my students.

  3. Thank you, always, for your generosity in sharing this with us. You give sparks that we can develop into our own flickery flames. 😉

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