Fourth Grade Poetry Lesson Plans and Activities

If you're teaching English or language arts to a fourth grade class, chances are you'll be helping your students learn about poetry. Keep reading to find out about a few poetry lessons and activities you can do with your fourth graders.

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Teaching Fourth Graders about Poetry

What Fourth Graders Are Expected to Learn

Although fourth grade standards can vary a bit depending on your state and school, there tends to be close similarities among curriculums. By the fourth grade, students are typically required to know about different genres of writing, such as novels, plays, short stories and poetry. With poetry, fourth graders begin to learn about structure, rhymes, abstraction and figurative language.

The Challenges of Poetry

Poetry can be a challenging type of literature for fourth graders to grasp because it's often abstract. When elementary students write poetry, they may struggle with the difference between prose and poetry and with replicating the specific formats of poems. When you're choosing activities for a fourth grade poetry unit, select poems that are fun and visual.

Classroom Poetry Activities

Encourage your students to think of colorful adjectives for an object in nature, like a tree. Ask them to write a poem using these adjectives. Students can complete their poems by putting the words into the shape of the object, thus creating concrete poetry.

You can integrate your poetry unit into other subjects with acrostic poems. An acrostic poem uses each letter of a word to begin a line. If you're teaching a science unit about ecosystems, have students write acrostic poems using the ecosystem vocabulary. For example, students could write a wetlands poem using the word 'wetlands' as the vertical word and vocabulary from the unit for the horizontal lines.

For extra help, there are many websites with long lists of poetry that's appropriate for fourth graders. There are also quite a few poetry-related activities and games you can use for inspiration.

Lessons to Teach Rhymes and Patterns

If your class struggles to come up with rhyming words, create a rhyming dictionary as a class. Divide students into groups and ask them to make a poster of rhyming words. For example, one group would make a poster of 'at' words and another group might make a poster of 'ight' words. Put all the rhyming posters on the wall and let students refer to them when writing rhyming poetry.

Different kinds of poetry have different rhyme patterns. A common way to introduce this concept to a class is with the 'AB' system. In this system, 'A' signifies one rhyme and 'B' signifies another. For example, take the following verse, which you would present to your class as an 'ABAB' rhyme scheme.

Every May,
Joey goes
Once a day
To buy new clothes.
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