National Poetry Month Activities


Poem Exchange - Teachers who want to participate can find another teacher to pair with for sharing found or original poems. 

Limerick Contest - After discussing the syllabel and rhyming patterns of limericks, have a contest.  Write a limerick about your school, your
teacher, the principal, or about being friends.  Stress being kind - nothing hurtful will be accepted.  A prize is offered for the best

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Education World offers more than 20 poetry lesson plans to help teachers integrate poetry into their classrooms and develop "well-versed" students.

Poem of the Day - principal reads a poem a day on the morning announcements.

Poetry Festival - Students will be encouraged to bring in their favorite poem written and illustrated to be displayed in our school lobby. 

"Poem in Your Pocket" Day. There is a poem called "A Poem in My Pocket". Make a giant "jean's pocket" out of paper, and write the poem on this pocket, and hang it on the wall.
 Pull a bunch of poetry books and had a session on poetry with classes, during which time, they picked out a poem to put in THEIR pockets on Poem in Your Pocket day.
Everyone is told that on that day, they could ask anyone to read their poem -- including the teachers.  At the end of the day, everyone should put their poems in the big paper
pocket.  The following day,  tape all of the poems around the pocket, so everyone can read them.
Another version using  Poem in Your Pocket - ask students to keep their favorite poem, a poem they've written, etc. in their pocket for the week.
When a teacher asks if you have a poem in your pocket, if you do, you can recite it, read it to them, or hand it to them (if you're shy...) and you get a raffle ticket. 
At the end of the week, pull a ticket (or tickets) and give prizes - poetry  book, blank journal, nice pens, candy, etc. to the winners.
"Poetry in  Your Pocket" Day. Distribute tickets to all teachers. If a student is stopped by a teacher or asked in class and has a poem to read ,
 that student receives a ticket, redeemable in the library for a small piece of candy and entered into a drawing for a bigger prize.

Schedule  English classes in the library for a poetry reading.

You can get a FREE activity kit, including Poetry Month buttons and a poster by writing to National Poetry Month Activity Kit,
201 East 50th Street, MD 30-2, New York, NY 10022. Or e-mail your address to:  or go to this website:

Ten National Poetry Month Activities:

Thompson Gale provides a poetry activities page:

Academy of American Poets provides activity ideas on their website:  Tips for Teachers from 

Have a Poetry Assembly    Everyone prepares a short poem to perform- dance poems, - you name it.  Each class
performs one poem.  They are limited to about 3-5 minutes- some use props, some just recite. 
Start the assembly off with everyone reciting something- like Keep a Poem in your Pocket.  Or Did You Feed My Cow?

During that week have poems all over the school- encourage teachers to do different poetry ideas.  The book POETRY
BREAK has some excellent ideas in it.

Starting a poem chain and let the students complete it. Start if off with a short phrase printed out and posted somewhere
prominent.  Invite students to supply the next rhyming line, then the next, etc., and see how far you can take it.  When one verse has run its
course, start another.

 Listen to cassette tapes to hear Silverstein or Prelutsky read their own poems. Start each class with a poem to introduce the kids to the other great poets who have won the
NCTE poet award such as Karla Kuskin and David McCord. Encourage the students to share a poem during their class.

Hang a "skeletal" poe-tree on the wall.  Students can then fill in the tree with their original poems. 

Random Acts of Poetry throughout the building.  Teachers  sign up if they want someone to drop in on them and recite.  They could indicate good
and bad times. Students and teachers could be recruited to recite.

Classes can make poem posters to display in the halls.

Bulletin board idea:  Have a board with pictures of students and the poems they have written.