11 Poetry Prompts for Secondary English/Language Arts

11 Poetry Prompts for Secondary English/Language Arts
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This is a list of 11 poetry prompts I use in my middle and high school classrooms when getting kids to write poetry. It can be used whole-class or as an extension activity for kids who need more of a challenge.

How I use these prompts:

In my poetry unit I first have students consume lots of different types of poetry based on their interests. Then, as we move our discussions more into analysis/TPCASTT territory, I start having students just write one line of poetry or a phrase every day for a week, things like "Fill in the rest of this sentence using a metaphor: 'I am not ____, but I am ______." Once students are comfortable with that, we move into actual poems that I have them put in their journals, which is where these prompts come in.

With the first few prompts, we discuss them at length first, and depending on the class I might have a sample poem or we might write one together as a class. I have them write the prompt in their journals and even if I give students time in class, I always, always allow students to take their poems home before they turn them in. I also make sure to check students' journals after their very first poem and write EXCLUSIVELY positive feedback, even if the poem is not exactly great. (Remember: writing poetry is scary for a lot of students and adults!) At the end of our unit, I have students pick the poem they're most proud of from their journals and share it in a poetry gallery, where we hang up all the poems around the room and rotate until we've read all of them.

I hope you enjoy these poetry prompts! If you'd like more, check out my other list of 20 poetry prompts.

Happy writing!


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