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Writing to Learn about Poetry

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.


In this unit, students apply what they have learned in Unit 1 to further explore poetry through writing. Students begin the unit with a shared writing experience, writing a summary of the first half of the novel Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. Then, they complete their reading of the book with a focus on what inspired Jack as a writer. Students are guided in finding and organizing evidence for this prompt in preparation for a book discussion with peers. For the mid-unit assessment, students write a summary of the full novel (RL.4.2, W.4.9, W.4.2.a, b).

In the second half of the unit, students are introduced to the performance task (which has three parts; see stand-alone document). They continue to focus on learning about poetry through writing, now by writing their own poems. Students choose from a selected group of poets to study more deeply, and in small “poet groups” will read and analyze new poems by these poets. Then, students will write an inspired poem as one part of the performance task. Students will then be introduced to the peer critique process and use what they have learned about poetry to revise their original poems with a focus on imagery. The unit ends with students reading and analyzing a new poem for the end of unit assessment (RL.4.5, L.4.5a).

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What makes a poem a poem?
  • What inspires writers to write poetry?
  • Poetry has characteristics that are unique and distinct from prose.
  • Writers draw inspiration from many places, including the work of other writers and their own lives.

Content Connections




ELA G4:M1B:U2:L7

ELA G4:M1B:U2:L12

End-of-Unit Assessment

Optional Activities


  • Invite a local author to speak to students about the writing process and what inspires her or him as a writer. Ask the author to share how writing is improved through critique and revision.


  • Arrange for students to visit a family-friendly poetry reading.


  • Arrange for students to practice their fluent reading skills by visiting classrooms and reading poems to younger students.


  • Consider collaborating with your school’s art specialist to have students create their own artwork inspired by the poem they select to read by their poet as an added component of the performance task. This artwork could be added to students’ presentation of their poems and essay during the performance task Poet’s Performance at the end of Unit 3 and could be an additional assessment of NYS ELA CCLS standard RL.4.11.

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