William Carlos Williams - Reading and Writing Imagist Poems

Grade Levels
7th - 10th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
18 pages
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In this lesson, students read "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams and use the poems as inspiration for their own poetry writing. Additionally, students read lines from the poem "The Apple" and then examine actual apples to further their experience of Imagism.

In pre-reading activities, they read biographical information to build background knowledge. Next, they brainstorm ideas for their own writing, and then they are given the apples to practice understanding the literal and symbolic meanings of poetry. After, they read Williams’s poems and answer questions to check for understanding. Finally, they use their pre-writing and reading as mentor texts for the writing of their own poems. Additionally, they may take the poems through the writing process and participate in peer review before creating a final, polished poem.

With Inspired Writing, students use the texts they read as models for their own writing. This lesson provides students with inspiration from classic poems, and students imitate a characteristic of the poems (simple language, imagery, themes about everyday life, e.g.) for their own authentic writing.

This 18-page product includes the following:

  • explicit lesson plan with identified Common Core ELA Anchor Standards
  • pre-reading guide
  • “Understanding Imagery – The Power of Poetry” activity
  • “The Red Wheelbarrow” handout
  • “This is Just to Say” handout
  • poetry writing assignment
  • peer review guide
  • proofreading handout
  • rubric
  • key

**Please note that this lesson includes an activity which requires purchasing small apples for the students.**

If interested, here are other Inspired Writing! Lessons that use mentor texts:

Dialogue Poems Inspired Writing!

Shape Poems Inspired Writing!

Memorial Design & Speech Writing

I've Been to the Promised Land



Meaningful and Memorable English Language Arts by © OCBeachTeacher

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Total Pages
18 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.
Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


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