DIY Poems: Found Poetry

What if I told you that you could take another person’s words and create your own beautiful poem?

I bet, given how much I love citations, that you might think I was crazy. But Found Poetry is a thing, and it’s awesome.

Found Poetry is easy!

Like seriously, crack open a book and get going easy. Here’s how I teach with Found Poetry in my classroom.

First, pick a book. Any book or poem will do, but I think it’s better when it is connected to what you are studying. Usually during April, my fourth grade class studies the Civil Rights Movement and the Solar System. My go to for this project: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It is moving and poetic in its own right, but I know that my students can create their own poems using this as a starting point.

Set the purpose

You can skip this step, but I usually include it since it gives the kids direction. My purpose: create a poem that helps describe the Civil Rights Movement.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 3.37.52 PMStudents will circle words and phrases that speak to them emotionally and/or words that are describing something.

Next, they reassemble those circled words and phrases into a new order. There is no need to rhyme, unless you want to create that as a requirement. There is no form that needs to be kept, unless you want that, too.

That’s it.

That is Found Poetry!

Sounds easy, right? Try it with a newspaper article, your favorite book or poem, a famous speech, or a textbook!

This could be an awesome way to assess knowledge at the end of a unit or topic. Have the students create a found poem using their notes or textbooks as a way to demonstrate knowledge. What a nice break from tests!

How do you think you could use Found Poetry in your classroom? Tell me in the comments!


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