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Lesson Plan

A Bear of a Poem: Composing and Performing Found Poetry

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A Bear of a Poem: Composing and Performing Found Poetry

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Carolyn Wilhelm

Carolyn Wilhelm

Maple Grove, Minnesota


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



To add to students' growing ways of looking at and listening to words, students will 搈ine?texts for favorite words from familiar children's literature. Working together, students select words and phrases to create a collective class poem, that they will then turn into a performance. This lesson helps students recast the text they are reading in a different genre, which in turn, makes students more insightful readers and helps develop creativity in thinking and writing.

This lesson uses books from the Berenstain Bears series as an example, but any children's books or book series can be used.

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Found Poem Planning Page: Students use this reproducible to note words they find in their favorite texts and to create poems from them.

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The process of working with words from established authors asks students to engage with the craft of writing without the challenge of facing a blank slate. As student choose words from the works of authors whom they admire, they "must look at what material they have to work with in their collected lines and make all sorts of decisions about how they will get them to work together as a performance poem" (Ray 84). As they work with texts in this way, students gain skills that can later be applied to their own work. Katie Wood Ray explains, "Later, when students are working with their own written texts, I will remind them of the talk they did when they planned these choral readings and nudge them to engage in this kind of talk about their own drafts" (84).

Further Reading

Ray, Katie Wood. 1999. Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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