Creative Writing Assignment: Writing Poetry in Response to Nonfiction

Grade Levels
8th - 11th
Formats Included
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8 pages
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If you are looking for a way to engage students more meaningfully in nonfiction responses or supplement your existing creative writing or poetry unit, this lesson might be just what you need.

This activity encourages students to write poetry that is inspired by nonfiction. Crots (short snippets, fragments of thought) blur the lines between prose and poetry. They are edgy. They have elements of concrete poetry, found poetry, and collages and can also incorporate visual elements like magazine cut-outs and other artistic forms.

This type of nonfiction-inspired poetry entices students who typically dislike verse, yet it is still engaging for those who enjoy it. Most importantly, nonfiction-inspired poetry encourages students to think critically about nonfiction sources, to establish an author's purpose, and to write eloquently.

To get started, all you need is a high-interest nonfiction article (you can also use this activity with fictional texts, if you prefer). Students can choose their own based off of a topic of interest, you can provide options, or you can assign one. With creative writing, I've always found that more choice results in more inspired writing. Still, some students can be paralyzed with too many choices. With this assignment, you can decide which approach will work best in your classroom.

Art supplies, colored paper, and magazines are additional materials you may wish to have on hand to provide students with options.

In this creative writing poetry resource, you will find:

1. a teacher directions page for how to front-load the activity

2. a student directions page to walk them through the steps they need to complete

3. a brainstorming graphic organizer with specific prompts

4. a rough draft page with specific reminders for revising and editing

5. an example about masks and why we wear them that you can use to model and discuss expectations

6. a teacher notes page to walk you through discussing the example crot

7. suggestions for enrichment

8. a single-point rubric for quick grading

Use the crot as part of a:

- multi-genre project

- genius hour

- poetry unit

- creative writing class

- nonfiction response unit

- and more!

This creative writing assignment which asks students to respond to nonfiction has always been one of my students' favorites. I recommend it for use with high school students. Junior high students who are capable of responding to nonfiction thoughtfully and thinking symbolically could also handle it successfully.

This lesson takes approximately 3 days of 50 minute class periods. Plan for four days if you intend to walk students through the process as a class before turning them loose (which is what I would recommend).

If you enjoy this engaging resource, you might also be interested in:

Get Schooled! Figurative Language and Literary Devices Board Game

Figurative Language Truth or Dare

Texting Couplets Poetry Assignment

Playlist of My Year Engaging Writing Activity

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Total Pages
8 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
3 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


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