7 Ways to Teach Poetry Lessons with Power Poetry

PowerPoetry.org is where literacy meets social action. Our content is produced by youth for youth. From Poetry Tip Guides to Social Action Guides, we are an engaging digital community where young people can, as our motto says, "write their own life stories."


Power Poetry is a safe online space for teens to get creative and share their poetry with their peers. There are tons of fun and engaging ways that teachers can leverage our community to create lessons and curriculum that helps students engage with poetry in the classroom — and on their own. 

  1. Talk About What Matters. Encourage your students to use poetry to express themselves about topics that are important to them. Check out our Action Guides for writing prompts about issues that your students may be dealing with every day. Power Poetry also maintains a number of open slams, where we challenge our poets to react to current events using poetry. (Helpful hint: we know of one teacher who required her students to read through our Action Guides and then submit several poems about their identified issue.)
  2. Feedback Exercises. Reading and responding to their peers’ poetry helps students to develop social-emotional skills and to hone their other skills like critical thinking, attention to detail, and editing. Have your students browse for topics they care about among the poems on Power Poetry and leave thoughtful, supportive comments for other young poets. Use our 7 Tips for Editing Poetry and Feedback: the Poetic Kind to help your students be the best peer reviewers they can be.
  3. Use Us In Your Lesson Plans (And Use our Pre-Made Ones, Too). Take a look at our Resource Guides. We explain sonnets and cinquains, odes and ballads. We’ve even got guides on how to use metaphors and how to write funny poems... or poems about loss. Don't forget to check out our glossary of poetic terms so students can learn to use and identify different literary devices. Try having your students pick a guide or device that looks interesting to them and use it to write a poem in a style they haven’t tried before. BONUS: we have comprehensive lesson plans  that correspond to each of our online course lectures and help enhance your poetry classroom.
  4. Figure out Logistics. Keeping track of your students is important. We suggest creating a Group for your classroom. Each Group is an organized space where your students can post their poems in response to assignments you provide. This is an easy way to keep your students' work all in one place and monitor comments and content. We've given you a whole poetry classroom right at your fingertips.
  5. Talk About the Future. Power Poetry always has at least one open scholarship! The prize? Money for the winner’s college education. Help your students refine their writing by presenting their poems in class for peer feedback and submitting the finished works to one of our slams.
  6. Take Pride In Performance. Have your students prepare their poetry for performance with help from our Tips for Slam PoetryTips for Spoken Word and Top Works from Master Slam Poets. Set up a Recording Day for your class! With parental permission, record your students reciting their poetry. You and your students can upload the videos to YouTube and then post them to Power Poetry. This will build each student’s poet page on our website, and build their self-confidence and self-worth as well!
  7. Poetry is Made for Watching. As a way of introducing poetry we recommend screening To Be Heard (ok, we’re a little biased) and having a discussion about what poetry can mean. Other great poetry-themed movies include: Dead Poets Society, Slam, and Sylvia. 

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