Teaching Poetry

Structured Poem Forms And Template Examples

When students have a structure to follow, writing poems might feel more manageable. It also allows teachers to share various types of poems with their students. We have provided examples of templates to use with students of all ages and experience levels.

Write A Structured Poem


Structured poems are poems that provide a specific format to follow. They are perfect for those who need a little more help forming a poem. They can easily be implemented in classrooms, no matter the age of the students. Even the youngest of students are able to craft their own poems with the guidance of a teacher.

Before assigning these poems to your students, we encourage you to experiment with the forms as well. You might not see yourself as a poet, but teachers who write help their students become writers who are more willing to share their work.

The poems are arranged by suggested age group. Even if you teach older students, you might want to use the more basic structured poems, especially to get your students more comfortable with crafting their own poems.

Structured poems allow individuals to be creative but still have a safety net that provides help along the way.

Unless otherwise indicated, these poems were written by Tynea Lewis.



  • HELLO, GOODBYE POEM

  • Write about a particular season by sharing things you will get to experience during a new season and things that will end from the previous season.

    To brainstorm, list activities from two different seasons before picking the ideas you will use.

    Grade Recommendation: K-2, 3-5

    Template:
    Hello (season).
    Goodbye (season).
    Hello…
    Goodbye…
    Hello…
    Goodbye…
    Hello…
    Goodbye…

    Example:
    Hello, Spring.
    Goodbye, Winter.
    Hello blue sky.
    Goodbye gray clouds.
    Hello warm weather.
    Goodbye snowy nights.
    Hello playing outside.
    Goodbye sitting by the fireplace.


  • I AM POEM

  • Write a poem that describes yourself.

    Grade Recommendation: K-2, 3-5

    Template:
    I am (one descriptor)
    I love (something you love)
    I want (something you want)
    I play (something you play)
    I see (something you see each day)
    I am (one descriptor)
    I am afraid of (something you’re afraid of)
    I am happy (something that makes you happy)
    I am nervous (something that makes you nervous)
    I am excited (something that makes you excited)
    I am (one descriptor)

    Example:
    I am playful.
    I love running.
    I want a soccer ball.
    I play outside with friends.
    I see birds from my window.
    I am a sister.
    I am afraid of the dark.
    I am happy when I sleep in.
    I am nervous around big dogs.
    I am excited for summer.
    I am a friend.


  • ACROSTIC POEM

  • Write an acrostic about a specific topic (name, season, subject, sport, etc.) by listing the word vertically and starting each line with a word that begins with each specific letter.

    Grade Recommendation: K-2 (simple prompt like their name), 3-5

    Template: (Write your word/phrase vertically)
    A
    C
    R
    O
    S
    T
    I
    C

    Example:
    Snoring
    Lullaby
    Every night
    Enter dreamland
    Perfect rest


  • SEASON IN COLOR POEM

  • Write a poem about a specific season by describing colors, nouns, and actions associated with that season.

    Grade Recommendation: K-2, 3-5

    Template:
    (Season)
    (Color)
    (Noun)
    (Action)
    (Action)
    (Noun)
    (Color)

    Example:
    Summer
    Green
    Grass
    Running
    Swimming
    Pool
    Blue


  • -ING POEM

  • The first line of this poem states the topic. The rest of lines include words that describe it, but they all end in -ing.

    Grade Recommendation: K-2, 3-6

    Template:
    (Topic)
    -ing
    -ing
    -ing
    -ing

    Example:
    Sports
    Playing
    Running,
    Jumping,
    Throwing.


  • LISTING POEM

  • Choose a topic to write about, which becomes the first line of the poem. The rest of the poem includes descriptions of that topic. Each line can be one word or a short phrase.

    Grade Recommendation: K-2

    Template:
    (Topic)
    (Description)
    (Description)
    (Description)
    (Description)

    Example:
    Mom
    Smart
    Funny
    Caring
    Pretty
    Loves to cook


  • COLOR POEM

  • Write a poem about how a color is perceived through the five senses.

    Grade recommendation: 3-5, 6-8

    Template:
    (color) looks like…
    It sounds like…
    The color (color) smells like…
    It tastes like…
    (color) feels like...

    Example:
    Red looks like the embers smoldering in the fire.
    It sounds like the shrill of an ambulance siren.
    The color red smells like a fresh cut apple.
    It tastes like warm cherry pie.
    Red feels like a fever when you’re sick.


  • CINQUAIN

  • Write a five lined poem that either follows a specific word or syllable count.

    Grade recommendation: 3-5, 6-8

    Template (word count):
    Line 1- noun
    Line 2- 2 adjectives
    Line 3- 3 -ing words
    Line 4- a phrase
    Line 5- another word for the noun from line 1 (synonym or sums it up)

    Example (word count):
    Pool
    Clear, cool
    Splashing, jumping, swimming
    Perfect for a hot summer’s day.
    Fun


    Template (Syllable count):
    Syllable Count:
    Line 1-2 syllables
    Line 2- 4 syllables
    Line 3- 6 syllables
    Line 4- 8 syllables
    Line 5- 2 syllables


  • TANKA

  • A tanka is another form of Japanese poetry that follows a specific syllable count (like a haiku).

    Grade recommendation: 3-5, 6-8

    Template:
    Line 1- 5 syllables
    Line 2- 7 syllables
    Line 3- 5 syllables
    Line 4- 7 syllables
    Line 5- 7 syllables

    Example:
    One diamond dewdrop
    Sparkles in morning sunlight
    Then, slowly drips down
    A dandelion's green stem
    Nourishing its thirsty roots.

    (written by Paul Holmes)



  • DIAMANTE

  • Write a poem that uses a string of words to describe one topic or two that are opposing.

    The end result looks like a diamond.

    Grade recommendation: 6-8

    Template:
    Line 1: 1 word (subject/noun)
    Line 2: 2 adjectives that describe line 1
    Line 3: 3 -ing words that relate to line 1
    Line 4: 4 nouns (first 2 relate to line 1, last 2 relate to line 7--if you're writing about opposite topics)
    Line 5: 3 -ing words that relate to line 7
    Line 6: 2 adjectives that describe line 7
    Line 7: 1 word (subject/noun)

    Example:
    Noise
    Loud, Boisterous
    Deafening, Earsplitting, Piercing
    Clamor, Sound ..... Hush, Quiet
    Soothing, Calming, Consoling
    Peace, Tranquility
    Silence

    (written by Divine Tan)



  • NONET

  • A nonet is a poem that has nine lines and follows a specific syllable count for each line. The first one starts with nine syllables. The second line has eight syllables. This progression continues until the last line only has one syllable.

    Grade recommendation: 6-8, 9-12

    Template:
    Line 1 - 9 syllables
    Line 2 - 8 syllables
    Line 3 - 7 syllables
    Line 4 - 6 syllables
    Line 5 - 5 syllables
    Line 6 - 4 syllables
    Line 7 - 3 syllables
    Line 8 - 2 syllables
    Line 9 - 1 syllables

    Example:
    I have never felt like this before.
    He consumes my thoughts every day.
    He is completely perfect.
    The way he looks at me
    Makes my heart do flips.
    I know it’s true,
    I hope so.
    He wants
    Me.


  • SONNET

  • A sonnet is a 14 line poem that is made up of stanzas of varying lengths and rhyme schemes.

    Grade recommendation: 9-12

    Template:
    Read more about the sonnet variations and how they are structured.

    Example:
    The days go by, then a month, then a year,
    and still through the days I see not a change.
    No matter what happens, you still aren't here,
    and how you just disappeared is what's strange.

    No explanation, no warning, just gone.
    I wish I had just some of your courage
    to go leave one rainy morning at dawn,
    to leave one day without any message.

    How I long for somewhere to be renewed
    or to just disappear, just not to be,
    not to see, not to feel, not to hear you,
    the ghost that you are, which I long to be.

    But as many days that I want to go,
    there are more that I want to stay and know.

    (written by Abigail Bouzianis)



  • SESTINA

  • A sestina is a poem that contains six stanzas that each contain six lines and an ending tercet (3 line stanza). It is based on its repetition of the ending words of the lines.

    Grade recommendation: 9-12

    Template:
    The numbers indicate the different stanzas that make up the sestina, and the letters stand for the last word of each line.

    As the poem continues, the ending words from the lines of the first stanza are repeated at the end of the lines to follow (using the structure indicated below).

    1. ABCDEF
    2. FAEBDC
    3. CFDABE
    4. ECBFAD
    5. DEACFB
    6. BDFECA
    7. (envoi) ECA or ACE

    Example:
    Sestina by Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

    September rain falls on the house.
    In the failing light, the old grandmother
    sits in the kitchen with the child
    beside the Little Marvel Stove,
    reading the jokes from the almanac,
    laughing and talking to hide her tears.

    She thinks that her equinoctial tears
    and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
    were both foretold by the almanac,
    but only known to a grandmother.
    The iron kettle sings on the stove.
    She cuts some bread and says to the child,

    It's time for tea now; but the child
    is watching the teakettle's small hard tears
    dance like mad on the hot black stove,
    the way the rain must dance on the house.
    Tidying up, the old grandmother
    hangs up the clever almanac

    on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
    hovers half open above the child,
    hovers above the old grandmother
    and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
    She shivers and says she thinks the house
    feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.

    It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
    I know what I know, says the almanac.
    With crayons the child draws a rigid house
    and a winding pathway. Then the child
    puts in a man with buttons like tears
    and shows it proudly to the grandmother.

    But secretly, while the grandmother
    busies herself about the stove,
    the little moons fall down like tears
    from between the pages of the almanac
    into the flower bed the child
    has carefully placed in the front of the house.

    Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
    The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
    and the child draws another inscrutable house.


  • VILLANELLE

  • The basis of a villanelle is created by using two sets of rhyming words and the repetition of two lines. It is made up of five tercets (3 line stanzas) and an ending quatrain (4 line stanza).

    A and B stand for the rhyme scheme. All the lines that have an “A” will rhyme with each other, as do all the lines that have a “B.” A1 and A2 are the lines that are repeated throughout the poem.

    The rest of the poem is structured around the repeated lines.

    Grade recommendation: 9-12

    Template:
    A1
    B
    A2

    A
    B
    A1

    A
    B
    A2

    A
    B
    A1

    A
    B
    A2

    A
    B
    A1
    A2

    Example:
    No one told me about this pain.
    Everything hurts, even my pride.
    It's these emotions I am forced to contain.

    Tears have fallen from my eyes like a steady rain.
    Nothing can take back those nights I've cried.
    No one told me about this pain.

    My feelings I cannot even explain.
    To you, my heart was open wide.
    Now it's these emotions I have to contain.

    I'm at the point where I feel nothing but shame
    Because I thought you were going to be my guide.
    If only I was warned about this pain.

    With you is where I wanted to remain.
    Now I have to continue on with a long stride,
    But these emotions I am forced to contain.

    Please tell me our relationship was not in vain.
    I hope to not regret having tried.
    No one told me about this pain.
    It's these emotions I am forced to contain.


  • PALINDROME

  • A palindrome is a word, phrase, or poem that reads the same forward or backward.

    Grade recommendation: 9-12

    Template suggestion:
    When writing a palindrome, try writing the first and last lines and then working your way toward the middle. This will help you know if the poem is making sense.

    Example:
    Softly gliding
    Spiraling, twirling, floating
    Leaves fall
    Crunching
    Fall leaves
    Floating, twirling, spiraling
    Gliding softly

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