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  • Annemarie Johnson

Ordinary to Poetic

Updated: Feb 26


One of the keys to helping students write great free verse poetry is to heighten their awareness about things they see every day and to begin to look at these objects with new lenses. The following activities can help prime the pump for poetry writing and help students see ordinary objects through new eyes:

Poetry Walk

Take students outside for a walk with pencils and clipboards. Invite them to write down what they see, hear, feel, etc. Remind them that there is no talking during these short walks so everyone can use all of their senses to notice the things around them and think like writers. After returning to class, allow students to share their notes with one another. Invite students to use their observations to compose free verse poetry.

Ordinary to Poetic

We also call this activity “Look at a ________ through a poet’s eyes.” Choose a subject. Things from nature or everyday objects work well. Have students use ordinary words and phrases to describe the subject. Then have them look at the subject in a different way and use metaphor and simile to describe it (Heard, 1999). Here is an example of one that my students did while looking at this conch shell:

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