Integrating Poetry into the Common Core Standards

Author: Nicole Flores


Weir Mitchell Elementary School

Year: 2013

Seminar: Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Grade Level: 1-4

Keywords: figurative language, literary skills, Literature, poetry

School Subject(s): English, Poetry

Often an aspect of literature that is often celebrated, poetry is also feared, revered, imitated, honored and sometimes even ignored. Within urban school districts, however, it is sometimes one of the last things taught. One reason is that anthologies, often used as classroom literary bibles, contain very few poems. Teachers, if they are even afforded the time within the curriculum to teach it, don’t always know where to look for grade appropriate materials. They may also be in need of an efficient way to teach and integrate poetry into the Common Core reading standards in a way that will engage students.

Poetry is a novel way for students to relate to language. Because of this, the struggling student, who may not consider him or herself a reader, may be intrigued by the shorter format and varied subject matter this genre provides.

This unit is intended for a fifth grade audience and to complement the School District of Philadelphia’s pre-existing reading curriculum. The Common Core standards that will be addressed are listed at the end of this unit. The allotted time for this unit is two weeks, possibly longer, depending on the pacing that is desired by the teacher

The objectives for the unit will be as follows:

  • Students will gain a deeper understanding of poetry and how to interpret it.
  • Students will apply a variety of literary skills (summarizing, identifying figurative language, comparing/contrasting, etc.) to poetry.
  • Students will acquire a more extensive vocabulary.

Students will perform much of this unit individually or working with a partner. Students will first work to interpret poems through close readings, which will help to increase vocabulary and their understanding of how to make meaning of a poem on their own. They will then use the poem to further develop their literary skills by analyzing it for figurative language, comparing/contrasting the poem with other poems, and summarizing text. Lastly students will finally create their own original poetry, in the style of particular poets or their own creation.

This will culminate in their final project- a book of their own poetry. This book will contain any and all original poetry students have created. It will have a cover, illustrations, be bound and contain blank pages at the end for future entries. This will be a book that students will be able to keep and possibly add to as they grow as scholars and as poets.

Download Unit: Flores-Nicole-unit.pdf

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