10-Minute Power Poetry: An Everyday Plan

17 April 2015 / 2 comments
Well, hello there! I am Erin Waters, and I am thrilled to be here sharing ideas and tips for the classroom. I blog over at The Watering Hole and create K-2 resources for my TPT store.  My teaching passion is literacy, and a personal passion of mine is poetry.

Here's the thing---I love to read and write poetry; however, teaching it can be another story. Since I began teaching, I have consistently encountered these poetry roadblocks:

1. Poetry instruction is often limited to the spring, and usually only during the designated National Poetry Month.
2. It is difficult to "squeeze in" poetry when there is already so much on our language arts plate!

Well, fret no more! I am here to tell you about my easy-peasy 10 minute poetry plan for the primary classroom. You can follow this plan using my interactive poetry notebooks, or you can use your own materials:

This schedule is designed to be quick and efficient. I typically have our Power Poetry time following morning meeting right before we dive into our language arts block. This is a 10-minute block when we get right down to business and complete the poetry task for that day. At the start of the year, we do all of this together; however, as the year progresses, my students become familiar with the expectations of each activity and by the end of the year, are doing the activities independently or in small groups. 

Monday: Introduce the poem in a whole group setting, such as morning meeting. Engage in a shared reading of the poem.

Tuesday: Students will identify known and unknown words. This doesn't have to include all words in the poem; as many as they can list in 10 minutes will do.

Wednesday: Students will create a short summary of the poem as well as offer an opinion and a reason for that opinion.

Thursday: These are specific to my notebooks, but you can make your own tasks as well. Students engage in activities ranging from word work, writing, and phonics activities related to the poem. I offer 3 activities and students complete what they can in 10 minutes.

Friday: Students complete an extension activity to apply the content of the poem to another idea or task. My notebooks include a writing extension and a foldable for every poem. Sometimes we do one, sometimes both. These activities will often take longer than 10 minutes, so we often continue these into the language arts block since we use Fridays for a "catch-up" time.

Week 2 is all about independent, clutter-free extensions. I use these 18 task cards year-round for revisiting poems. 

Students will revisit the poem using the task cards during the poetry station (if you are a center gal like myself), the same 10-minute morning block, or whenever you see fit. The best part about these task card activities is that they are PREP-FREE. These are individual and partner activities that require no prep on the teacher's behalf. Simply select a few task cards to use during Week 2 so that students can choose what task best fits them. Sometimes I select task cards based on our current language arts focus, and sometimes I randomly select them. By using the same 18 tasks all year, the students become familiar with the rules and expectations for each card.  For any task cards that require the students to write or draw, I leave whiteboards and dry erase markers out for them to use...that's about as involved as I get prep-wise! Click on the picture above or here to grab these for free!

Some questions about the 10-Minute Plan:
What do you do about work that isn't finished in the 10-minute block?
Glad you asked. Students can complete Week 1 work:
1. During Week 2 prior to starting on task cards.
2. On Friday during a "catch-up" block.
3. As "When I'm Done" work throughout the day.
4. Never! Sometimes, we get done what we get done, and that's okay. This is also valuable to assessments, as I am able to get a good snapshot of a student's efficiency, current grasp, work ethic, intervention or enrichment needs, etc. 

How do you justify spending 10 minutes EVERY DAY on poetry?
This 10-minute block is so much more than "just" poetry! It encompasses essential literacy skills, such as forming an opinion, justifying opinions, summarizing, developing fluency, building vocabulary, using context clues, word work, making connections, writing, applying knowledge---I could go on and on! I have found it's a great warm-up time for our language arts block. 

How do you store student work and materials through the week?
I find it is easiest to keep all of the completed activities in a poetry notebook. This is useful for 2 reasons:
  • Students can easily refer back to the poem and its activities (for fun or to finish them).
  • It provides YOU with a great assessment tool
I also keep an envelope for loose pieces in the back of each notebook to avoid losing pieces throughout the week:

For grins, here is a look at one week's worth of activities in the notebook:

And, last but not least, I always glue the poem into a class poetry notebook so students can go back and read poems throughout the year!

I hope this works as well for you as it has for us! Thank you for visiting our blog!


  1. What a great post, Erin!! This definitely make poetry more manageable in the classroom. I'm off to check out your Interactive Poetry Notebooks! Thanks:)

  2. Excellent post, Erin. Poetry definitely needs to be a year-round event, not just in April. Poetry reading builds so many reading skills and can hit all levels of readers from emergent to instructional. I love the looks of your product too. Sharing this post now.


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