6 Poetry Lesson Plans for Young Theater Artists


Make a Sound Together (Pre-school & Early Elementary)

This exercise by Raquel Gutiérrez unfurls like a classic theater game: kids contribute claps and sounds to a collaborative poem-song.

Desert Creatures, Desert Sounds (Pre-school & Early Elementary)

"What sound does a rattlesnake make? What might a javalina say?!" These are some of the questions asked in this lesson plan, also by Raquel Gutiérrez, which urges students to imagine why and what animals communicate. It could easy segue into a theater activity where students act out their chosen animals. This lesson plan is also available in Spanish.

Magic Backpack (Elementary)

Chalese "Chay the Poet" Potts asks students to imagine what they would put in a backpack if it could contain everything they need to survive the day. The activity ends with students' performing their poems and could shift into performing a skit--students could read their poems while pantomiming pulling treasured items (including feelings, like love and kindness!) out of the backpack.

Shakespeare's Inventions (Elementary)

In Kristen Nelson's exercise, kids learn theater history while inventing words and crafting their very own poems using those words.

Calling on Memory (High School)

Saraiya Kanning's lesson plan, inspired by Ofelia Zepeda's poem "Smoke in Our Hair," asks students to write about their memories. It  serves as an excellent jumping off point for writing an autobiographical monologue. This lesson plan is also available in Spanish.

Poetry In Performance: An Introduction (High School)

This lesson plan, by PC Library Director Sarah Kortemeier, draws on the techniques of theater to teach students how to perform poetry.

For more, check out our lesson plan archive and Stories That Soar!, a Tucson organization that inspires community and promotes literacy by sharing stories through the arts.