A fun way to teach your 2nd graders to use specific language to create their own poems about school. 

“Fumbing elephants!” my 2nd grader gasped. He couldn’t stop laughing.

In the middle of our school day, we could all use a laugh. You might be amazed to find this can happen while teaching poetry.

Use this fun lesson, to liven up your classroom and teach your students poetry that they can relate to.

How to Teach Poetry – The Fun Way

But First, The Details

Grade Level: 2nd Grade (could be adapted for upper or lower grades)


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.5Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add
drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts
of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas,
thoughts, and feelings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.5Demonstrate understanding of word relationships
and nuances in word meanings.

a. Identify real-life connections between words
and their use (e.g., describe foods that are
spicy or juicy).

b. Distinguish shades of meaning among closely
related verbs (e.g., toss, throw, hurl) and
closely related adjectives (e.g., thin, slender, skinny, scrawny).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.6Use words and phrases acquired through
conversations, reading and being read to, and
responding to texts, including using adjectives
and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids
are happy that makes me happy).
California Department of Education

Now for the Lesson

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    Step 1: Grab the Book

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    Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School is a collection of poems about kids at school. She uses fun and relatable examples of metaphors, similes, and personification to describe students’ common, yet unusual behavior at school. Coupled with vivid drawings, this poetry can easily be understood, analyzed, and laughed at by all grade school students.

    Sample Poem:


    The last bell rings. 

    We spill outside, 

    like captives finally freed. 

    We’re thundering, fumbling


    an after-school stampede.

    Salas 30

    Step 2: Read

    Read the book to your students and discuss the ways in which the children are portrayed as animals.

    Ask students to share out any descriptive words they see used in the poems. Write them on the board. Brainstorm additional descriptive words to add to the board. (This will be a word bank for students to pull from in the next activity.)

    Step 3: Create

    Ask the students to create their own poems, about school using the examples in the book. Have them create an audio recording of their poem. They’ll now switch poems with another group and create a visual to go along with the other group’s poem.

    After this lesson, put all the poems on display in either a book or a wall display.

    Additional Resources

    Poetry Lessons, Resources, and Rubrics

    Teaching Guide

    Use this simple poetry lesson in your elementary school classroom to bump up the fun factor and get your students asking about elephants.

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