An I-Pod Inspired Poetry Lesson from WritingFix

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This Lesson:

Compare and Contrast
Poems vs. Lyrics

showing knoweldge of the difference by writing one of each

This lesson was created by Nothern Nevada teacher Crystal M. Johnson during an I-Pods Across the Curriculum Workshop for teachers.

This writing prompt is inspired by

"Addicted" sung by Kelly Clarkson (as well as two other artists' songs and three poems)

Click here to do a Google search for the lyrics.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources:

Background information This lesson will only work if students have already been introduced to poetry and discussed multiple topics related to what they already know about poetry, why students tend to not like poetry, and the purpose of poetry.

The day before the lesson is presented, assign students bring in (on CD or iPod) his/her favorite, yet most meaningful, lyrical, song and a copy of the lyrics.

Pre-step…before sharing the songBegin by having a few students share their songs with the class. Play 3-5 students songs and discuss each individually regarding the precision of the words in the song, specifically word choice, and also any literary devices that the song(s) contain. Next, have each student go through their personal lyrics and highlight some poetic elements that they believe are in the song. Share out ideas with 3-5 students.

Distribute this graphic organizer to students with the Venn Diagram side up. Have students fill in the diagram addressing the differences and similarities between songs and poems. Make sure to guide students in noting that it is simply not just about music. They also need to progress through the worksheet discussing their preference in songs or poems and also some commonalities that they share.

Step one…sharing the songs and poems:  Hand out the Poem or Lyric worksheet to students. Tell them to take about 3-5 min to decide if each numbered set (#1-#6) is a poem or a lyric. Remind students that the examples could be full versions of the song/poem. When students are finished reading through, quickly share students thoughts.

Now play song #3 “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. Have students correct sheet, if necessary. Next play song #4 “All these lives” by Daughtry. Again, have students correct sheets, if necessary. Finally, play the last song #6 “Addicted” by Kelly Clarkson. Next, have students volunteer to read the remaining poems aloud. After each poem, tell students the title and author of the poem. #1 “Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath, #2 “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost, and #5 “i carry my heart with me” by E.E. Cummings.

Finally, discuss with students why they initially chose each option as a song or poem, and if they now have new perspective on how songs and poems are written. Additionally, students should acknowledge the similarities between the two and have a better understanding and appreciation for poetry. Ideally, students will see that poems can be lyrics without the music- so why do some of them hate poetry as much as they claim?

Tell students they will be writing a poem and a set of lyrics today to show they understand the differences (and sililarities) between poems and lyrics.

Step two…introducing student models of writing:  In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups will certainly talk about the word choice, since it's the focus of the lesson, but you might prompt your students to talk about each model's idea development as well.

  • Because this is a new lesson at WritingFix, we're looking for student samples for all grade levels for this prompt!  Help us get some, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Contact us at for details.

Step three…thinking, talking, and pre-writing: Now ask students to use this graphic organizer. Students will now have time to try to write a poem and lyrics themselves.

First, they must decide which is their favorite song and then favorite poem. They need to copy that information down in the top boxes. Next, they need to mimic their choices in the bottom boxes. As they compose, remind them that they must pay close attention to the concept of word choice and thus their own personal word choices, as well as their idea development. Students should consider why the author/song writer wrote the piece and why they (the student) want to write about the topic they have chosen.

To help students develop ideas for topic choice, instruct them to use the interactive buttons attached to this lesson as idea prompts. Student might also want to consider or look back at the Venn Diagram side of their graphic organizer to see what they initially wrote that poems contain and that songs contain. Finally, they can simply analyze or use a similar topic to their stated favorite song and favorite poem.

These are simply drafts for students to work through and better understand, so having a clean final draft is an extension and noted on the bottom of the graphic organizer as extra credit. However, this can be easily changed as part of the full assignment.


Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.

Step six (publishing for the portfolio):   When they are finished revising and have second drafts, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  Their words might become a longer poem, a more detailed song, or the beginning of a series of pieces about the poem they started here.  Students will probably enjoy creating an illustration for this poem as they get ready to publish it for their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line?  We invite student writers to post final drafts of their original at WritingFix's Community of Student Writers.  This is a safe-to-use blog for students and teachers. No writing is posted until it is approved by the moderator. Contact us at if you have questions about getting your students published.

Learn more about singer Kelly Clarkson by clicking here.

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