Poetry Lesson Plan: Writing Poems About Summer

By Julia Bodeeb

Spring fever often hits high school students hard. Give them a fun project about creating a poem or song about how they long for summer to get their creativity flowing.

High school students dream of summer vacations; this longing for summer intensifies as the spring progresses and their summer plans become a primary topic in their minds. Many students, no matter what their summer job, manage to squeeze in some summer travel and a lot of summer fun too.

Let students have a class period to hone their poetry and song writing skills. Students will greatly enjoy practicing writing songs and poems and letting their thoughts briefly focus on the summer months ahead.

Finding Inspiration

Summer means many different things to different students. Inform the class they may write about any aspect of summer as long as it is appropriate for school. Poem or song topics may include ideas as varied as summer love, jobs, friendships, outdoor activities, sports, travel, relocation to new area, family issues, teen issues, summer school, and a variety of other topics.

Bring in some sample poems about summer for the class to read and discuss. Talk about samples of imagery, hyperbole, rhythm, alliteration, and other literary techniques. Some summer song lyrics you may wish to use for analysis include: “Umbrella" by Rihanna,“Summer Time" by Fantasia, “School’s Out" by Alice Cooper, “Summer Time" by Beyonce, and “Summer in the City" by Lovin’ Spoonful.

Have the students sit in groups so they may discuss the poems and songs together. Working in groups will also make it easier for them to brainstorm ideas and peer edit the poems and songs.

Some poems about summer that are interesting for class analysis include "Sonnet 18" (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day) by Shakespeare,“Moonlight, Summer Moonlight" by Emily Bronte, “To See the Summer Sky" by Emily Dickinson,“Summer in the South" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, “The Summer Rain" by Henry David Thoreau, and “I Know I am but Summer to Your Heart" by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Ask students to look over copies of the poems and make a list of ten words they like in the poems. They may then later wish to use some of these words in the poem they create. Also tell the students to write down the theme for at least three of the poems or songs the class discussed.

Writing Their Own Poems or Songs

Put a list of requirements for the poem or song on the board. Requirements will include creating a poem or song of at least 20 lines, with three examples of imagery, one example of alliteration, and at least one simile.

Circulate the room while students are writing and give feedback. Encourage students to be brave in the imagery they use. Tell them to use strong words that bring vivid images to mind.

Ask volunteers to read a few lines from their poem or song and accept feedback from the class. Always strive to have students read poems that are of different genres or styles.

To assess this lesson grade the poem or song using the criteria listed in the requirement list for this project. Also give an extra grade for creativity in writing.