Poetic Devices

Road Not Taken

By Emi Kawasaki

  • Scenario: Mary's Case

  • Instructional Standard and Learning Objective

  • Activity 1

  • More on Poetic Devices and Assessment

  • Activity 2

  • Resources

  • Suggested Extended Activities


Mary's Case

Mary is teaching 7th grade Language Arts. She is getting ready to teach the elements of poetry (imagery, theme, characterization, etc.). As part of a professional development day offered at her school, Mary had looked at last year’s standardized test results for her class; she noticed that her students are weak on Language Arts, especially her ESL and inclusion students.

Mary is planning the activities to teach the poetry unit and she already knows that they will be difficult concepts to grasp, especially by special population students. This year, Mary’s school board has made it clear that they want the teachers to use computers for teaching and learning on a daily basis. Mary's school has a computer lab, a class set of netbooks on a mobile cart, and a class set of iPad2s on a mobile cart. She can sign-up for the computer lab or to check out a cart of mobile devices.

To complicate things, Mary’s principal, Ms. Klondike, announced that she will go and observe Mary the day after tomorrow – precisely the day when Mary will be in the middle of teaching the elements of poetry to her class. Mary needs to come up with a solution on how to help ESL and inclusion students understand the difficult poetry concepts but, what is THAT solution?

Arizona's Common Core Standards

Instructional Standard and Learning Objective


Arizona's Common Core Standards English Language Arts and Literacy 6th - 8th Grades 


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

Learning Objective

By the end of this lesson, students will define some of the poetic devices (metaphor, alliteration, hyperbole, personification, simile, refrain, and onomatopoeia).

By the end of this lesson, students will identify examples of the poetic devices in the provided poems.


Activity 1

This activity will introduce students to some of major poetic devices and connect their existing and familiar knowledge with the new concept.

  1. Studnets will watch the following YouTube videos.
  2. Studnets will write down the poetic devices (also called figurative language) and a short description of each device.
Video 1

Video 2

 Video 3

Poetic Devices Handout

More on Poetic Devices and Assessment

Students can do the additional activities on poetic devices to learn more concepts.

  • Students may use the text-to-speech function to have the texts read out to them.



Poetic Device Terms and Examples

Red roses

Activity 2

This activity requires collaborative learning and confirms students' understanding of the poetic devices they acquired in Activity 1. It also introduces them to some well-known poetry and has them apply their new knowledge to more  poems of more classical literary value.

  1. Students will be put into groups of 2-3 people. Language and academic levels will be mixed.
  2. Each group will choose 3 poems from 7th Grade Poetry Online and locate at least 2 lines that match each of the poetic devices they learned in Activity 1.
  3. Each example will fill the example space on the Poetic Device handout from Activity 1.
  4. The completed handouts will be collected and graded as the summative assessment.


Suggested Extended Activities

  • Students may write poems that incorporate the poetic devices and present them using web 2.0 tools such as Animoto and Prezi.
  • Students may recite their favorite poems in front of the class or in videorecording. 
  • Students may express their favorite poems in the form of arts (painting/drawing, sculpture, photo collage, etc.)

Like a frog