Poetry Snapshots: Using Images to Get the Big Idea

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Lesson Introduction: 

Using the definition that image poetry uses “concrete things to describe abstract ideas”, this lesson begins with the idea of haiku as “poetry snapshots”; images of one idea, in three lines. Students begin as “poetry detectives” and investigate collections of traditional and modern haiku to discover how to take poetry snapshots with words. By connecting concrete images with abstract ideas, students will learn how to read, write and paint their own image poems for an audience. This lesson is designed for grades 5-8 but can be adapted for all grade levels.

Learning Objectives: 

In this lesson, students will have opportunities to:

  • Identify the difference between concrete images and abstract ideas in image poetry.
  • Develop an appreciation for traditional and modern haiku poetry by reading, writing and discussion.
  • Write poems using specific nouns, strong verbs, and sensory language to allow the reader to visualize images that describe abstract ideas.
  • Transform written “poetry snapshots” into visual art to check for understanding.
  • Revise and publish image poems with criteria.
  • Create colour-washed poster-sized poems to display for an audience.
Materials and Resources: 

To teach this lesson, you will need:


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Poetry In Voice is a charitable organization that encourages Canadian students to fall in love with poetry through reading, writing, and recitation. All of our resources are available online for free. You may also use our resources if you reside outside of Canada.