Poetry Unit for Grade 8 (2010)
       Poetry is sound. It’s a lot of other things, too, of course, like structure
       and meaning and rhythm, but sound cannot be ignored when you are writing
a poem. Not only the sound of individual words, but the sounds the words make
when they are together on the page. You are trying to create music with the words
in your poem. It might be sweet music or it might be harsh music, but you must
have your ears open when you write (and read) poetry.

If you’ve never given much thought to the sound of words, I suggest you start
collecting words. Save a few pages in your journal under your writing section for
your word collection. Title it Poet’s Word Bank. What are your favorite words?
Words you like the sound of; words that give you an image. Where will you find
these words? Look in atlases, nature books, newspapers, novels, art books, other

Will collecting words make you a better poet? Not necessarily. But it could very well
make you more attentive to the sound of words, and you cannot be a good poet
without that. So, start collecting. There’s no real deadline. Just keep your eyes and
ears open and keep some space free to write them down.

        Try this…take the next few minutes to write down some of your favorite
        words in your journal, (new page in your writing section). Don’t stop to
analyze your choices. Just write. Use a thesaurus if need be.

      Sound Effects
As you listen closely to words- those you say and those you write—you’ll hear how
words sometimes follow patterns to create sounds.

Although there is a long list of terms related to sound in poetry, you should be
aware of six basic terms.

         Copy the underlined parts down in your literary terms page in your

1) Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonants of words. If you have ever
tired to get through a tongue twister, you’ve used alliteration. For example, Peter
Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers is an example of alliteration. Other examples
are such phrases as setting sun, totally terrible territory, nasty nonsense, and far-flung
favorite. Examples of alliteration abound in poetry. See how Samuel Taylor Coleridge
used alliteration when he wrote, “So fierce a foe to frenzy.” One couplet, written by
British poet Alexander Pope, happens to be full of alliteration:

“The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head.”

2) Assonance: is the repetition of the vowel sounds in words. For example, note the
oo sound in zoom, loon and ruin or the ee sound in heat, three, and meet. Notice how
John Masefield used assonance in this line: “Slow the low gradual moan came in the
snowing.” Can you hear the o sound in four words? Assonance occurs frequently in the
work of a master poet such as William Shakespeare, so it is easy to find many examples.
Here’s one “Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep.”

3) Onomatopoeia is a word that makes the sound of the action it describes. For
example, thump, bang, honk, moo, ring, and hiss. In a sense, these words make their
own sound effects. Robert Burns wrote how “the little birds sit chittering in the thorn.”
Describing branches covered with ice, Robert Frost wrote that, “they click upon

4) Repetition is used to emphasize key points and to give poem rhythm and flow

5) Metaphor suggests a similarity between two things
Example: The road snakes around the mountain.

    6) Simile – highlights the comparison between two things using like, as,
          Example: The stars in the night sky were like sparkling diamonds.

    7) Personification – giving human characteristics to things which are clearly not
          Example: The outboard motor cleared its throat.

        Read a few poems aloud that contain examples of alliteration, assonance,
        onomatopoeia, metaphor and simile at the following websites:



Search the sites and enjoy the poetry. If you have earphones you can even hear the
authors reading their poems sometimes. I encourage you to do this!
Your assignment, to prove your on task and demonstrate your learning, is to record
the following information for six poems you will read or listen to, and which you will
have passed in to me by end of class on Thursday.

(The literary device used in the poem, the title of a poem, the name of the author, an
example of the device from the poem, and your thoughts on the poem.) An example
is given below:

Poetic Device used: Onomatopoeia
Poem title: On The Ning Nang Nong
Author: Spike Milligan
Example of how it is used: The poem is full of this poetic device. An example is found in line 4
with, “Where the cows go gong”. Gong is a sound.
Reflection: I REALLY love this poem. It is so silly and I love to hear it read aloud. It seems so
simple yet it has such excellent word choice and rhyme. I picture this really ridiculous place, full of
color and Dr. Susess like creatures; a really noisy and alive place. I would definitely read this poem
to children because I know they would love to hear it again and again. I might even try to memorize
it so I can tell it when I babysit.

             My Original Poetry Project
         Over the next few weeks you will be writing many different kinds of poetry. At the end
         of the entire unit, you will bind your poetry together in an interesting way to create your
         own poetry book.

         Poems you will create include:
         Copy Change
         Famous person bio poem
         Personal auto-bio poem
         Form poems (Haiku, Cinquain, Tanka)
         List poem
         Sense of time
         Five Senses
         Parts of Speech
         Free Verse


         Final Project Guidelines:

              1. Create interesting title page that includes: your name, an illustration, and a title.

              2. They do not have to be typed but should be VERY neat on unlined paper
                 (available upon request)

              3. Include all the poems from this unit in the order listed above. You should have
                 original illustrations throughout in addition to the cover.

              4. Bind together in some way: Report folder, ribbons tied through 3 hole punch, etc.

              5. Evaluate yourself on every poem written and quality of final

              6. Poetry reading – choose a favorite piece of poetry to read to the class. It can be
                 your original work or another poet of your choice. (date to be set for this poetry
                 class reading).

              7. Take great pride in your work. It will be due before Christmas break so use your
                 class time wisely.

         1.   Copy Change: You will find a copy of the poem “If I Were in Charge of the World.”
              I have provided a template to assist you with your version of the poem. You are changing the
              copy (the words) to make the poem your own.

If I were in Charge of the World
By Judith Viorst

If I were in charge of the world,
I’d cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also
Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world,
There’d be brighter night-lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty-eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world,
You wouldn’t have lonely.
You wouldn’t have clean.
You wouldn’t have bedtimes.
Or “Don’t punch your sister.”
You wouldn’t even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world,
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable.
All 007 movies would be G.
And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,          If I were in Charge of the World
And sometimes forgot to flush,                       By _____________________ with thanks to Judith Viorst
Would still be allowed to be                         If I were in charge of the world,
In charge of the world.                              I’d cancel____________________________,

                                                            _____________________________, and also


                                                            If I were in charge of the world,
                                                            There’d be ___________________________,
                                                                                 (Adjective Noun)
                                                            ____________________________________, and
                                                                           (Adjective Noun)

                                                            If I were in charge of the world,
                                                            You wouldn’t have _____________________.
                                                            You wouldn’t have _____________________.
                                                            You wouldn’t have _____________________.
                                                            Or __________________________________.
                                                            You wouldn’t even have ________________.

                                                            If I were in charge of the world,
                                                            A ______________________ would be ________________________.
                                                            ________________________ would be ________________________.
                                                            And a person who sometimes ___________________________
                                                            And sometimes forgot to
                                                            Would still be allowed to be
                                                            In charge of the world.
2.   FAMOUS PERSON BIO-POEM               (Choose an actor, sports person, politician, etc.)

LINE 1             First Name
LINE 2             Title
LINE 3             Four Adjectives describing character
LINE 4             Lover of . . . (3 people/ideas)
LINE 5             Who believed. . .(3 beliefs)
LINE 6             Who feared. . . (3 ideas/people)
LINE 7             Who wanted. . . (3 ideas/things)
LINE 8             Who gave. . . (3 things/ideas)
LINE 9             Who said. . . (1-3 quotes)


Teacher at Harvey High School
Intelligent, determined, conservative, kind
Lover of nature, her family, strawberries, and laughing
Who believed in God, freedom, and justice
Who feared creepy crawly things, forgetting important things for urgent
ones, and sunburns
Who wanted to be the best mother, wife and friend she could be
Who gave of her time to help others learn, her voice to inspire, and her joy
to make others happy
Who said, “I‟m sorry, what‟s your name again.” and “Oh, I get it now!”


LINE 1             First Name
LINE 2             Four adjectives that describe your character and personality
LINE 3             State a relationship (son, cousin, friend, teacher,) of
LINE 4                 Lover of. . . (3 ideas/people)
LINE 5                 Who feels. . . (3 examples)
LINE 6                 Who needs. . . (3 examples)
LINE 7                 Who gives. . . (3 examples)
LINE 8                 Who fears. . . (3 examples)
LINE 9                 Who would like to see. . . (3 examples)
LINE 10                Resident of . . .
LINE 11                Last Name



Friendly, stubborn, loving, intelligent
Brother of Jane
Lover of laughter, pizza, and science fiction
Who feels amused hearing a good joke, worried when he doesn‟t study, and
elated when his team wins
Who needs a good friend, understanding, and hugs
Who gives cooperation, help and trouble
Who fears losing, pushy girls, and death
Who would like to see the Packers win, Disney World, and the Great Pyramid
Resident of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin


This kind of poem comes from Japan. It must have three lines with seventeen syllables.
It describes a fleeting (something that doesn’t last very long) moment in nature. It is like
a snapshot of something beautiful in nature. It should capture emotion.

Examples –

Line 1 has 5 syllables A Caterpillar                           Moonlight shines brightly
Line 2 has 7 syllables Tiptoes ever so slowly                  Mirroring the silver pond
Line 3 has 5 syllables Up the pine tree‟s branch               Dawn silently springs
Like Haiku it focuses on nature but is longer in format.

Line 1 has 5 syllables                   A butterfly‟s wing
Line 2 has 7 syllables                   Spectacular and vivid
Line 3 has 5 syllables                   Painting a picture
Line 4 has 7 syllables                   While weaving and wavering
Line 5 has 7 syllables                   Across the sparkling blue sky.

CINQUAIN -             The Cinquain is not of Japanese origin. It consists of 5 lines.

LINE 1           2 syllables                            Squirrels
LINE 2           4 syllables                       deftly scampers
LINE 3           6 syllables                     up our big Birch tree
LINE 4           8 syllables                   to hide his acorn treats
LINE 5           2 syllables                            from me.

      This is a rhyming poem. You will use the model to create your own poem about ten little somethings.
     Some ideas are hamsters, kittens, pigs, robbers, rodents, students, crazy drivers, or soccer players.
      The poem is made up of couplets
      The first line of each couplet begins with a number; the second line ends with that number minus
      The second line begins with One.
      In the first line, a group of some sort does something.
      In the second line, something happens to one member of the group, and as a result, there is one
         fewer. These two parts of the line are joined by the conjunction and.
      (Number) little ______________ _________ing __________ (rhymes with number minus one)
         One _____________________ and then there were (number minus one).


Ten Little Schoolchildren
Ten little schoolchildren standing in a line
One opened her mouth too far and then there were nine.

Nine little schoolchildren trying not to be late
One missed the school bus then there were eight.

Eight little schoolchildren in the Seven-Eleven
One twisted an ankle and then there were seven.

Seven little schoolchildren trying out some tricks
One went a bit too far then there were six.

Six little schoolchildren hoping teacher won't arrive
One flicked a paper dart and then there were five.

Five little schoolchildren standing by the door
One tripped the teacher up and then there were four.

Four little schoolchildren longing for their tea
One was kept in after school and then there were three.

Three little schoolchildren lurking by the loo
teacher saw a puff of smoke then there were two.

Two little schoolchildren think that fights are fun
One got a bloody nose and then there was one.

One little schoolchild playing in the sun
whistle blew, buzzer went, then there were none!

6. ODE
Select a person, place or thing that you want to write about.
Write phrases describing how your item makes you feel and why you feel this way.
Write many phrases telling unique qualities of your subject.
Now, explain why your subject is important to you and why you adore it so much.
Join some of your phrases into lines for your ode. Remember they do not have to rhyme.

Now revise your lines following these steps:
       Take away any lines that are too similar
       Add more feeling to any meaningless lines
       Pick a good opening line or sentence
       Order the remaining lines into their best sequence
       Select a good closing line that clearly expresses your feeling about that

                                  ODE TO A TURTLE

                           Turtle oh turtle you are so small
                       I found you on the green of the 7th hole
                            You helped me through the day
                     When I take a break, you jump into your lake
                              I adore your cracks and shell
                     You‟re a great swimmer, far better than me
                             You take a lap before I get in
                        Everything around you is fake and mine
                       From the pond to the rocks, all aren‟t his
                   But he flips and runs on the sand and in the water
                               Without a care in the world
                          To what might happen around him.

7.   VIP -   You all know what a VIP is – a very important person. Choose some very
     important people to write VIP poems about:

LINE 1 Name an admired athlete, musician, actor or other

LINE 2 List three adjectives that describe the person’s appearance or personality

LINE 3 With what or with whom do you associate that person?

LINE 4 Identify three actions (ed or ing words) associated with that person

LINE 5 When or where are these things done?

LINE 6 What is your opinion of or reaction to that person?

William Perry                                          Katie Perry
Broad-shouldered, strong, humongous                    Dark haired, beautiful, trendsetter
Chicago‟s “refrigerator”                               Singer and comedian
Tackling, scoring, putting the cold                    Dancing, writing, and offender of parents
On opponents entering Soldier Field                    Across the world in only a few years
He‟s one Bear who won‟t fit under my pillow            Someone I enjoy listening to.

When writing these poems, select a different time for each one: Day of the week, month,
season or holiday.

TITLE           Pick a period of time from the list above and write it as a title
LINE 1          Assign a color to that time period
LINE 2          Describe the color with an example. The color of . . .
LINE 3          What does this time period feel like?
LINE 4          What does this time period sound like?
LINE 5          What does this time period smell like?
LINE 6          What does this time period taste like?
LINE 7          Sum up your feeling about the time period in a sentence.


        February                                       Monday
February is bright red                         Monday is a gloomy day
The color of cherries and valentines           The color of dirty snow
February feels like slick satin slipping       Monday feels like an elephant
Between your fingers                           Sitting on my back
It sounds like hot rock „n ‟ roll              It sounds like a honking traffic jam
It smells like perfume and cologne             It smells like a bag of old shoes
February tastes like sweet chocolates          Monday tastes like fizz less soda
February is here and gone in a flash           Monday begins the long, long road to Friday

Describe an emotion by using your senses. First give the emotion a color (sight). Then tell
how it sounds, feels, smells and tastes.


Loneliness is gray                             Success is red
It sounds like a vacant room                   It sounds like claps and cheers
It feels like a toothache                      It feels like a pat on the back
It smells like an empty house                  It smells like flowers in the spring
It tastes like liver                           It tastes like champagne

LINE 1          One article and one noun
LINE 2          One adjective and one conjunction and one adjective
LINE 3          One verbal (ed or ing word) and one conjunction and one verbal
LINE 4          One noun that relates to the noun in the first line (Don’t use “all day.” It can
                be two or three words).
 The Church
 Big and Tall
 Singing and Praying
 House of God

 11.   Free Verse: For this poem you will want to choose a topic that is important to you.
       Use good WORD CHOICE to add details and take out unnecessary words.
        Does not have to rhyme
        Does not have to have a specific rhythm
        Has no specific length
        Makes use of figurative speech!
        Your free verse poem must be at least seven (8) lines and use two (2) kinds of
          figurative language.

             Metaphor – suggests a similarity between two things
                           The road snakes around the mountain.
             Simile – highlights the comparison between two things using like, as, resembles, etc.
                           The stars in the night sky were like sparkling diamonds.
              Personification – giving human characteristics to things which are clearly not human
                          The outboard motor cleared its throat.
             Alliteration – repeating words with the same beginning sound
                          Thomas tied two turnips to two tall trees.
             Assonance – Using identical vowel sounds, like the o sound in words like roses and golden
              or the e sound in sleep and green.
                           The golden roses shone under the sun
             Consonance– Using the same final consonant sound
                           Drip, drip. Look up. Drip, again.
             Imagery – using vivid, descriptive words to conjure up an image
                   The car sped. - The flashy, yellow, mustang streaked like a bullet along the highway.
             Onomatopoeia – using words that sound like what they mean
                           He slurped his soup.
             Hyperbole – using exaggeration to make a point
                           Make me a sundae a mile high.

 Line Break reminders
            It is logical to break after a sentence or phrase. (as when you take a breath or a
              natural pause)
            You might want to emphasize a word or phrase by putting it at the end of a line.
            Line breaks can be in place of punctuation.
            A line break in an unexpected place can help create surprise or humor or irony in
              a poem.
            Line breaks may be part of the shape of a poem.



 Big baseball bats broken by Ben
 Big baseballs bouncing backward
 The bats were hurt
 They had a broken heart
The baseballs were crying
They bounced so much they were black and blue
The fields were laughing at such a funny sight


Drip, drip. Look up. Drip, again.
Splash goes the rain when it hits my face.
A drip runs down my face and off my nose.
The rain runs to the ground, to freedom.
It runs down sidewalks and streets,
Soaking everything in its way.
Evaporating, only to fall again.

One Inch Tall
If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.
The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.
A crumb of cake would be a feast
And last you seven days at least,
A flea would be a frightening beast
If you were one inch tall.

If you were only one inch tall, you'd walk beneath the door,
And it would take about a month to get down to the store.
A bit of fluff would be your bed,
You'd swing upon a spider's thread,
And wear a thimble on your head
If you were one inch tall.

You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum.
You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb.
You'd run from people's feet in fright,
To move a pen would take all night,
(This poem took fourteen years to write--
'Cause I'm just one inch tall).

Shel Silverstein
  Rubric for Poetry unit grade 8: You must fit all requirements for a particular grade
  range or you drop down to the next lower one. Potential for bonus marks if you go above
  and beyond in your efforts.

GRADE                             A                          B                          C

 COPY CHANGE                      1                          1                          1

  BIO -POEM                       1                          1                          1
AUTO BIO-POEM                     1                          1                          1
HAIKU, TANKA,                     3                          2                          1
  CINQUAIN                 (one of each)           (choose 2 of the three)   (choose 1 of the three)
10 LITTLE LIST                    2                          1                          0
     ODE                          2                          1                          1
      VIP                         1                          1                          1
SENSE OF TIME                     3                          2                          1
 FIVE SENSES                      5                          4                          3
  PARTS OF                        3                          2                          1
  ORIGINAL                        2                          1                          1
  /Free verse          include poetic devices         include 2 poetic       include 1 poetic device
                              in both                     devices
ILLUSTRATIONS              Original, colorful,        Colorful and/or        Appropriate illustrations
                        appropriate , and shows     appropriate and neat          throughout
                       evidence of pride (one on        throughout
                              each page)

   NEAT                    Excellent                      Good                   Marginal
EFFORT     Student was on task in       Student was mostly on      Student did not use class
          class and did not disrupt    track but needed gentle       time wisely and often
         the learning environment,    reminding. Met deadlines.   needed prompting to stay
         and met deadlines on time.                               on task. Deadlines needed
                                                                    extension to complete.

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