High school students often have a fear of writing poetry. This activity is designed to provide students with a fun, step-by-step structure so they focus more on the writing constraints than they do on their writing, or their fear.
Included here is a thirteen-page pdf document suitable for importing/displaying in PowerPoint (or otherwise putting on the overheard projector). Each slide guides students through the process of writing their Twenty-Five Word Alphabet Poem. Examples are provided throughout (including a finished product: an example poem). All instructions are contained on the slides, so no lesson plan is needed. As such, I have left this with many a substitute/supply teacher so that the lesson runs smoothly and the students know what to do.
Students start by choosing five letters from the alphabet. Then, they come up with five words starting with each of the five letters, totaling twenty-five words. From there -- and the instructions are provided -- students will fashion their own original poetry!
All the resulting poems will be fun and unusual. Oftentimes, they are moving and/or insightful... perfect for sharing. Students usually do not feel as shy about sharing as they can "blame" the constraints for any perceived failure and applaud themselves for their own successes. Usually, there are one or two images that students are particularly proud of creating, things they would not have come up with on their own. I encourage these images to be the start of new poems, short stories, or other creative writing pieces. Students can share poems and discuss as a class where there are sound and other literary devices.
This is a fun and entertaining activity that always proves to be a class favourite, with students and teachers alike. I hope your students enjoy it as much as mine do. :-)