Teaching Poetry with Free Anchor Charts


I’ll never forget when Mrs. Peterson began teaching poetry in my 6th grade English class. With paper and clipboard in hand, she led us outside to spread out in the grass to write nature poems. When she shared her poems with the class, the words stirred something in my soul, spurring years of writing my own poetry that spanned well into adulthood.

Every educator has their own unique flair, and your spin on teaching poetry just may encourage the young writers in your class to pen a masterpiece!

I’m going to share a fantastic freebie that you can use to streamline your poetry instruction! You’ll get 6 anchor charts that each showcase a different kind of poetry, complete with a definition and a mentor text.

One Format For Teaching Poetry:

  1. Introduce the poetry type and display the mentor poem.
  2. Read the poem together (more than once!), getting a feel for the language and beauty of the words.
  3. Point out the ways in which the poem follows the “rules” of that genre. You can also annotate the text of the poem to emphasize the elements of poetry.
  4. As a class, create a new poem that follows the same pattern, modeling your thought process aloud.
  5. Allow students to independently craft their own poems of the same type, and then share with a partner or a small group.

Ways to Use the Anchor Charts

These posters are so versatile and serve as a great visual aid for students. I like to glue the poster in the middle of a piece of chart paper and keep it on a bulletin board for the entire unit. (Or check out this post for how to print anchor charts for cheap!)

As you discuss the poem, you can annotate directly on the chart. Number the stanzas, label the rhyme scheme, or underline examples of figurative language. This serves as a great tool for students to refer back to as they write.

You can also shrink the posters (print two per page) and distribute to students. As you are teaching poetry types, let students glue each mini-poster in their reading notebook. They can annotate along with you, reinforcing what they are learning.

Or hole-punch one corner and put the mini-anchor charts on binder rings to create a flip book that students can easily pull out.

Teaching Poetry Digitally

If you are teaching poetry digitally, turn the anchor charts into Google slides. I like to make a copy for each student to have in their drive. These are also great to attach onto a poetry writing assignment in Google Classroom, so students have a model of what the completed poem should look like.

There are so many engaging, classic poems available online that you can use as mentor texts! YouTube has classic poems read by celebrities, or you can assign virtual read-alouds at GetEpic.com. (Epic offers a digital library with over 40,000 books, free for educators!)

Once students have written their own poem, they can use Google drawings to illustrate it online. My students are always motivated when I let them use virtual drawing tools! For those that prefer hand-drawing, just have them take a clear picture and upload it to their assignment.

Whether you are teaching in-person or virtually, I hope these anchor charts will jumpstart your poetry unit and inspire your students to write!

If you are looking for more poetry resources, check out our complete Poetry Mastery unit for grades 3-5. This 6-day unit reviews the elements of poetry with annotated examples of all the poems in the freebie above. It also includes student work pages and a teacher rubric for each poem type.


April Smith

Curriculum Writer and Online Professional Development Coach. 


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