ALEX Lesson Plan


Clerihew Poetry

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Jana Brewer
System: Gadsden City
School: Walnut Park Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 28286


Clerihew Poetry


Cooperative poetry writing assignment.  Students will write and share poetry using the Clerihew style.  Students will also give a group presentation of their poems. 

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (3-5)
10. Use digital environments to collaborate and communicate.
Examples: publishing online journals, sharing presentations, contributing to online discussions, communicating with experts
  • Producing digital works collaboratively
  • Examples: developing shared writing projects and group multimedia projects
    ELA2015 (4)
    1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. [RL.4.1]
    ELA2015 (4)
    2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text. [RL.4.2]

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    After listening to a Clerihew poem by the teacher, the children will be able to identify and describe the pattern and characteristics of the poem to the satisfaction of the teacher. 

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    After participating in the whole group reading of the poem followed by open discussion of this type of poetry, the children will be able to participate in the group writing of a Clerihew poem. 

     After the children write a group poem, each child will then write their own Clerihew poem, following the pattern that has been shared. 

     After writing their poetry, students will work cooperatively with the teacher to create podcast of their Clerihew poetry.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:


    Chart Paper

    Notebook paper


    Poetry Worksheets-one per student

    Interactive Whiteboard


    Audicity Software(program)

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Mimio Interactive Whiteboard



    Gather Examples of Clerihew Poetry: Shaw, by Kenn Nesbitt

    Bobby Lee,  Tony Vaught

    A Cow Named Gus, Tony Vaught



    1. Teacher will motivate the children by explaining that they are about to learn about a “silly” form of poetry.
    2. Teacher will bring up schema by asking the children if they have ever read or written any poetry and give them the opportunity to give answers. Teacher will explain to children that in order to participate in this discussion, they must first raise their hand and be called upon.
    3. Teacher will tell the class that the purpose for this lesson on poetry is to improve their listening, for their enjoyment, and to teach them about a type of poetry called, Clerihew.
    4. Teacher will give the class a brief lesson about Clerihew poetry: Clerihew poetry is a funny form of poetry that is written about specific people. Many of these poems are very silly and you will love learning to write them. You may wonder why this type of poetry has such a funny name. Clerihew is named after the person who invented it. His name was Edmund Clerihew Bently. He was a famous detective writer. He also enjoyed writing short, funny poetry and because of the style of the poetry he wrote, it was named after him. In Clerihew poetry there are 4 lines. We have studied couplets in this class before, so you can compare this poetry to couplets. There are 4 lines, which consist of 2 couplets. This means that the first two lines end with rhyming words and the last two lines end with rhyming words. The first line will contain the name of a person the poem is about. You must make sure when writing about another person, that you do not hurt anyone’s feelings. It is okay to be funny, but never mean.

    Read Poems:

    1. Read aloud to the class three example poems by two poets, Kenn Nesbitt and Tony Vaught.
    2. After reading these poems to the class, the children, as a group, will then choral read the same poems as they are presented to them on chart paper. They will read a poem once and then reread it again before progressing to the next poem.
    3. Class with then have whole group discussion of the poetry and teacher will answer any questions the children may have. The teacher will again instruct the children to raise hands if they wish to speak.
    4. Again, discuss the style of how the authors of the poems wrote their poetry.
    5. Discuss couplets with the children (two lines of poetry), and rhyme (let children give rhyming words to teacher and teacher can write some of these words on the board as examples.
    6. Again, explain to the children the proper format of Clerihew poetry (4 lines consisting of 2 couplets. Lines 1 and 2 rhyme to form first couplet and lines 3 and 4 rhyme to form second couplet. The first line must contain the name of a person such as, a teacher, best friend, parent, or if they want, they can write using the name of a pet.
    7. Explain that in Clerihew poetry, each line as well as the person or animals name that poem is about, must be capitalized. There is a comma at the end of the first line after the person’s name. There is a period at the end of each couplet. Teacher will point this out on the examples written on the chart paper.

    Model Writing:

    1. Teacher will write his/her own Clerihew poem on board for the class to see. While writing the poem, the teacher will “think aloud”. This will help the children see how they should think and use their imaginations about what they write.
    2. After teacher writes poem on board, he/she will then have the class choral read it aloud along with her. The class will then help the teacher edit the poem, by offering suggestions and ideas. This helps with motivation and thinking in the students.

    Group Poetry Writing:

    1. Teacher will now explain to class they will be writing, on the board, as a group, a Clerihew poem. Teacher will give the class a suggestion of a poem topic. A funny topic would be for the children to write about the teacher.
    2. Teacher will then have class, by raising hands, give ideas for the group poem. List of rhyming words and list of ideas can be written on the board (brainstorming).
    3. Students will dictate the poem to the teacher and teacher will write it on the board.
    4. After poem is group written, the class will then edit the poem and make any needed changes such as, to words, style, punctuation, capitalization, or other changes. Class will then choral read their group poem.

    Individual Poetry Writing:

    1. Teacher will then hand out Clerihew worksheets to each student. The worksheet has a brief paragraph at top of page which tells about the man Clerihew poetry is named for. It also has a brief example of how this type poetry is written. There are two examples of this poetry listed as well, which are two of the poems the class read as a group. The worksheet has four sections for the children to practice writing their own Clerihew poems. The teacher will explain that this in not for a grade, but for practice only.
    2. Teacher will instruct the children to use their imaginations, be funny but not mean when writing about someone, and to follow the format of Clerihew poetry, also the teacher will have the class repeat aloud to her, the proper format of writing the Clerihew poem in order to make sure the children understand how to write their own poems. The teacher will then explain to the children to write four poems on the space provided on worksheet.
    3. Teacher will then instruct the children to begin writing. The teacher will walk around the room giving individualized help and guidance as needed. Teacher will also help each student revise and edit their poems.
    4. After students have finished their poems, the teacher will then instruct them to circle their favorite poem they have written.
    5. The teacher will then give each student a piece of paper and have them take their favorite poem which they have written, and rewrite it neatly onto the new piece of paper. The teacher will explain to the students that they poems will be placed into a class poetry book, so they should do their best and neatest work possible. Teacher will also instruct the children to do an illustration at the bottom of paper, to go along with their poem.

    Sharing of Poetry:

    1. Teacher will ask for students to volunteer, by raising of hands, to read their poems aloud to the class. Students can either stand at their desk or come to front of room and read their poems.
    2. Teacher will encourage all of the students to read their poem, but will not force them to read if they do not wish to do so. After the students have shared their poetry, all poems will be collected to be placed into the class poetry book. The practice poetry sheets can be hung in the hallway for people to read as they pass by.
    3. Students will then work with the teacher cooperatively to record their Clerihew poems into a podcast that will be published on the school's and school district's webpage.

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    Assessment Strategies

    Teacher will walk around and monitor each group, read their poems, have the students share their poems.  The Rubric ( poetry, poetry, poetry) was used to grade this. 





    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.