ALEX Lesson Plan


Poetry in Music

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Lauren Rittenberry
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33033


Poetry in Music


Students will identify major poetic elements in contemporary song lyrics to help them better appreciate how music incorporates poetry regularly. 

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (12)
29. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. [SL.11-12.1]
a. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas. [SL.11-12.1a]
b. Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed. [SL.11-12.1b]
c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives. [SL.11-12.1c]
d. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task. [SL.11-12.1d]
ELA2015 (12)
40. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression. [L.11-12.6]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to:

  • identify poetic elements
  • collaborate with peers to code text

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

  • Printed song lyrics (screened by teacher prior to lesson)
  • highlighters or colored pencils

Technology Resources Needed:

Document camera (if available and if desired for culminating activity)


  • This lesson should follow a lesson that teaches the major poetic elements.  Elements could include, but are not limited to, simile, metaphor, refrain, rhyme, alliteration, assonance, imagery, etc. 
  • Students should be pre-assigned groups. I tend to use groups no larger than four students.
  • Prior to the lesson, teacher will have chosen four or five school appropriate songs and printed out the lyrics. I always try to choose one popular song from several different genres of music so that most students will be represented in their musical preferences. Songs that I have used in the past include Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” Rhianna’s “Take a Bow,” etc. It is important to screen the lyrics closely so that you don’t run into inappropriate lyrics or subject material. I like to use or to view current top playlists. You can then use to search and screen the lyrics. 
  1. Divide students into groups.
  2. Assign each group a song to analyze. I like to use a different song for each group.
  3. Students are to identify four to five poetic elements in their song lyrics. As students identify an element, they should highlight it. Each poetic element should be marked in a different color. As students code their lyrics, they should create a key somewhere on the page that easily identifies which element each color represents. 
  4. To culminate the activity, each small group will share with the whole group. They will discuss which song they were assigned and which elements they identified. Students may be given the option to share their lyrics with the group via document camera (if available) or just by holding it up and sharing with the class.

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Assessment Strategies

  • Each group will turn in one copy of the color-coded song lyrics. Every student's name must be on the page in order for all students to receive credit.
  • During the activity, teacher will walk around the classroom listening to students' discussions and provide guidance where needed. 
  • Students will be scored according to whether or not they have the required number of identified elements within their lyrics and if the elements have been correctly identified. Assessment checklist is attached.


Students may be grouped according to skill level so that stronger students are able to pull up the weaker students.  Another option is for groups to be leveled so that "gifted" students or stronger students may be assigned a more difficult song choice or be required to identify more elements or more abstract elements.


During the lesson while the teacher is walking around the classroom, he/she should be able to easily identify students who are struggling to understand the task or concept based on discussion and/or body language. Teachers should make sure that all students are actively engaged. 

Students will be strategically placed in groups so that weaker students will be supported more by the teacher and/or other students.


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.