National Poetry Month: Serious Poems for the Classroom

Teachers, include serious and sad poems in your National Poetry Month celebration.  Elementary students like feeling they are big enough to read grown-up poetry.  Students know that life isn’t all sunshine and daisies, and they appreciate poems that address serious aspects of life.

Here are some poems I liked in elementary school and have found that my students enjoy:

If by Rudyard Kipling: The ultimate character education poem.  I share this with every class! 

In Flanders Field by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD

Grass by Carl Sandburg

Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe

There is no frigate like a book by Emily Dickinson

Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments…)

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes.  This is a classic ballad with a strong storyline.  Explain the story to your class, then read the poem with them.  I used this poem when I taught fifth grade, but I don’t think I’d share it with third graders.

For a grand finish, play “The Highwayman” set to music and sung by Lorena McKennitt—it is haunting and beautiful and perfect for the text.  I recommend that students be able to see a copy of the poem while they are listening.  A YouTube version of the song is available (it’s a ten-minute long clip).  You also can download the song at iTunes or buy the album, The Book of Secrets, through

Next post: Poetry Workbooks.

Comments Off on National Poetry Month: Serious Poems for the Classroom
Posted in Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Apr 9, 2010


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.