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A Voice-Building R.A.F.T.S. Poetry Prompt
this writing across the curriculum assignment is used to build a foundation for persuasive skills

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Welcome to this Lesson:

Credo Poems

studying a novel or story and "trying on" a character's voice to learn about perspective and point of view

This lesson was created by Nevada teacher Tracey Albee during the NNWP's Persuasive Writing Inservice Class for Teachers.
Tracey teaches high school in Sparks, Nevada.

The mentor text:

The teacher model that accompanies this lesson is based on Animal Farm, but Tracey encourages teachers to write credo poems for any novel. written for any character in any novel or short story.

An Overview of this R.A.F.T.S. Prompt:

An important pre-step in teaching students to write persuasively is to teach them to think objectively from others' perspectives. This lesson asks the students to choose a character from a book or story and then, based on of what they learn about the character, create a “Credo” showing what they believe the character would believe in. Students will assume the role of the character and ten create a “Credo poem” for that character from the character’s point of view.

Strong Verb
A character from Animal Farm (or any novel you're studying)
Members of your Literature Circle
A Credo Poem that speaks to the characters' beliefs
"Why I believe what I believe"

Trait/Skill Focus:

  • Voice - Students will convey emotion and passion through another’s perspective as they prepare a persuasive Credo.
  • Word Choice - Students will incorporate persuasive language into their “Credo," especially focusing on verbs and adjectives.


Funny Question to Pose to your Students:
(if reading Animal Farm)

What if animals could not only talk, but write poetry?

Writing Across the Curriculum Ideas:

In addition to learning about poetry-writing skills, this lesson would enrich a unit on:

  • art, if students write their Credo from the perspective or a researched artist
  • history, if students write their Credo from the perspective or a researched political leader (like a president) or a historical figure (like a Civil War soldier)

Using the Mentor Texts Skillfully:

While reading the novel or short story, your the students use the graphic organizer similar to the one I created while mine were reading George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Introduce several “This I Believe” essays from the NPR website and have the students analyze the essays looking for persuasive language and techniques. Create a word/phrase bank for the classroom and post it where all students can refer to it. You may want to look closely at all the tools and ideas that come with WritingFix's original This I Believe writing lesson, created by Nevada science teacher Yvette Deighton.

Next, I would introduce the template for the “Credo” poem that the students will be creating. I would also provide examples of the “Credo” that others have already done. I would have the students do a think, pair, share and analyze the examples of the “Credo” that I provide. We would discuss the strong verbs used in the “Credo” examples.

I would then give the students an example of a character “Credo” that I come up with.

The students will then create a “Credo” for their character using the voice of the character and the persuasive words/phrases from our word wall.

Next, Analyze a Teacher or Student Sample

The students will need to focus on the sample poem's voice and word choice. Have them work in small groups to discuss where they believe the poem's best example of these two writing traits can be found. Share the answers out loud.

Talk about the format of the credo poem. Inform students they will soon be writing their own credo poems in a character's voice.

Boxer's Credo
a teacher model of a credo poem written by Tracey Albee

I believe in the equality of all animals,
the notion that sharing is good,
the fact that hard work will bring success,
the effectiveness of hard work,
dedication, courage, strength.

But the belief that a government can rule what I do or say is ridiculous.

I believe in always telling the truth,
I believe in respect for others,
I believe in the idea that love will conquer all,
Courtesy, helping others, kindness.

And I believe in the concept that if we work together we can get more done.

Use this lesson? If you use this lesson with novels or short stories other than Animal Farm, be sure to contact us if you have an excellent and inspirational sample from your classroom. If we end up publishing your students' work at WritingFix, we will send you a complimentary copy of one of the NNWP Publications for your classroom.


Have the students brainstorm their ideas answering all the questions on the graphic organizer.

From Tracey: "I pulled out passages from the text and showed the students how I came up with the adjectives and verbs that I did in my sample poem."


Publishing Suggestions:

  1. You can easily have the students share their poems in front of the class without telling who they are and having the other students guess which character their poem represents.
  2. Submit up to three of your students' best work at our ning for possible publication at the WritingFix website! See the blue box below!

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  You can post up to three of your students' monologues at our posting page for this lesson.


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