Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring into April - Using Found Poetry to Dig Up Main Idea

One of my favorite ways to have students connect with a passage or story is through found poetry. With found poetry students can identify the main idea and supporting details in a text.

Found poetry takes specific words and phrases from a piece of writing and organizes them into a poem.  This can be done numerous ways. Students can highlight or underline on a page that is copied. If the text can't be copied (such as a textbook)  students can lightly underline the words/phrases with a pencil (they can erase these marks when the lesson is complete).


Once the words or phrases are chosen, the students will cut or write the words.

Students will then organize the words into a poem. The poem will usually be a free verse poem.  

Sample Lesson Plan
Essential Question: What is the main idea? 
Objective: Students will create a found poem using the important words and phrases from a reading passage. 
Standards: RL.1.1, 2.1. 3.1, 4.1, 5.1 

1. Introduce the topic: "Today we are going to go on a dive to see if we can find some poetry. Everyone put on your scuba gear, grab your pencils, and let's go swim with the sharks!"
2. Read this Bull Shark Passage. (Just click to access the FREE download) 
3. Read the passage as a whole group, in partners, or independently depending on the level and purpose of your lesson.  Tell students to read for the purpose of learning the most important thing(s) about Bull Sharks. 
4. Then have the students reread the passage.  Have them underline or highlight the words/phrases they feel are the most important or those words really stand out to them.  
5. Students will cut out or write the words they chose.  
6. The words will be organized into a poem (free verse is typically the easiest for this lesson) 
7. Have an Author's Share.  I usually start with 2-3 students and then have the class break into smaller groups to ensure that all students get to share.  If you want to learn more about author's share time, read this post.  

Ticket Out the Door - What is the most important thing you learned about Bull Sharks? 
Here is the poem I wrote. 

Bull Sharks
By: Jessica Zannini

Zambezi, Slip-away
most dangerous shark 
head-butt snout
highly adapted kidneys
Atlantic, Indian, Amazon lake
fresh river
tiny eyes diving
close to shore
murky water

Looking for more ways to teach poetry?  Check out these posts:

You can also follow this Teaching Poetry Pinterest Board for more engaging poetry ideas.  


  1. This sounds like such an efficient way to keep the students engaged and creative through out-the course. i get the positivity from the task. keep at it.

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