Read Around the Planet Lesson Plan

Finishing up my 21st Century Communication Collaborations class, with some great lesson plans created by the teachers. One of the participants, Kristen Dow, from Mars Elementary, Berrien Springs Public Schools, used her Read Around the Planet videoconference as her project in the class. Her lesson plan is a great example of how to tie the Read Around the Planet videoconference to what you’re studying in class! Enjoy:

Title: Read Around the Planet – Sharing the poetry process

Description: Students will share poetry and the writing process with a partner class. Students will increase awareness of the simple process of creating a free-verse poem by sharing their own writing experiences.

Grade: 2

Subject: Reading/Language Arts

Outcomes: To expose students to a variety of writing genre, including various ways poetry is written. Students will experience another type of writing as they go through the process of learning to create a free-verse poem. Students will be able to choose a subject, create a web, and place words appropriately to create his/her own poem.

Prep. Time: 3-4 weeks depending on how much time a day/week is devoted to writing.


  1. Poetry books
  2. Poetry notebook. (we make one with construction paper and lined writing paper.)
  3. Close Your Eyes poem. (attached)
  4. Poetry Suitcase take-home letter. (attached)
  5. Small bag or suitcase for items.
  6. Droopy dog poem, alligator poem, hamster poem.(attached)
  7. 2-3 favorite poems of teachers along with objects that represent that poem.
  8. 5 items for Poetry Museum.
  9. Goldfish or Fireworks poems (attached)
  10. Chart paper and construction paper.
  11. Crayons, markers, and/or colored pencils


1. Gather various poetry books from the library. Have books available for students to look through during independent reading time. Share poems, reading them and discussing the way they sound, do they rhyme, how do the words look on the page, etc. Do this for approximately one week. During this time have the students mark a poem they really like with a post-it note. Run these poems off. These should be placed in their poetry notebooks. Students should cut/paste them in and write why they liked the poem.

2. Begin to introduce three types of poems. Start with Droopy Dog and notice the way it has a rhythm to it. You can clap, or snap while saying it. Practice poem and say it together creating rhythm. (1 day writing lesson)

3. Introduce poems that help you visualize something. Read students Alligator poem. Have them listen a few times, closing their eyes once. Immediately send them to their seats to sketch what they “see” in their minds. Give only 10 minutes for sketching and coloring in. You can do this with another poem that sets up visuals on a second day. (1-2 days lesson)

4. Introduce poems that bring out a feeling. Read Hamster and talk about the way it makes the reader feel. Review the three types of poems. (1 day lesson)

5. Introduce the Poetry Suitcase. Share the items you brought in and read the corresponding poem. I always pretend I put on my “Poet’s Eyeglasses” for the first time that day. I tell the kids they help me use my imagination and see all the different possibilities in an object. They help me look at the objects I take out of the suitcase and think of lots of different things the poem could be about. (1-2 days writing lessons)

6. Introduce Poetry Suitcase letter. Students take home a copy of the poem they chose for their notebook and parent letter. Give 3-4 days for them to practice reading poem at home and to collect an item for the poetry suitcase. As students bring in items, the suitcase gets filled with their poems (I keep a copy of their favorite poem too) and their objects. Throughout the coming days we take objects out and talk about them through poet’s eyes and students read their poems.

7. Poetry Museum – during one of our lessons we set up a poetry museum of 5 different items (I used a small solo cup, a straw, salad tongs, a turkey baster, and a holder for corn-on-the-cob). I place each in a different spot and number them 1-5. We then use our notebooks and number 1-5 and walk around the room silently looking at each object and imagining what it could be; even if we know what it is we look at it through Poet’s eyes. We then come together and share. It is amazing the great ideas that they have! They get so creative! I end this lesson by having them circle the idea they like the best. (1 day lesson)

8. Copy Close Your Eyes poem in your notebook at beginning of lesson. Practice reading and talk about the way the words have been chosen to sit on the lines. It is the “music” that the poet chose. The way he/she wanted it be read. We look at the Goldfish poem and talk about it and how it sits on the lines too. Practice reading it. (1 day lesson).

9. Have students partner and use the Fireworks poem to take the words and place them on lines so that they make “poetry music”. Share all the various ideas and then read/share the actual poem. (1 days lesson)

10. Choose one idea from the poetry museum and put it on the chart paper. As a class, make a web of everything about that word that you can think of. Then take the ideas put them in phrases and place them on lines so that they make the poetry music! You have a class poem!(1 day lesson)

11. Now it’s time to write your own. In the poetry notebook have students take the idea they circled and make a web of ideas. Then take those ideas and using phrases make a poem! It’s amazing the poems that come out of that first day. It’s the prep. work ahead of time and the poetry examples that make this work so great. Teacher types poems and children illustrate their work!


As the video conference approaches, teacher and students plan who will share. The three types of poems, rhythm, image, and feeling will be shared. The class poem and 3-4 individual poems will be shared. Introductions about our community and weather and school should be put on poster board. Students can work in pairs. Questions for Q & A should be developed as a class and assigned to individuals. Students from other countries should partner to make and color flags that represent their country.

Students are responsible for posters and flags and questions. Teacher is responsible for poetry process and assigning parts.

Our media specialist tests the connection and gets all of the equipment ready for our use. We display the posters on a document camera and she gets presets ready so that we not only view the whole class, but also the speakers up close and their posters.


Debbie Bryant came up with the idea of the student’s from various country’s making the flag that represents his/her country. She used it for her VC and it worked out great.

The above lesson plan is far more than just what happens for the VC, but with this lesson it is really in the pre-work that poetry is taught. What we share in the VC is a culmination of this 4-6 weeks project. It is a fun writing lesson, very much enjoyed by the children. It is based off of the Lucy Calkins writing program that our school uses. The poetry museum and poetry suitcase are add-ons to the Calkins poetry book.

Poems used in lesson:

Close your eyes.
Don’t peek.
Close them tight,
tight so it’s
dark, dark
Till you see something
in sight.
Close your eyes
don’t peek.
and see a poem.

Droopy Dog
Drippy dog, droopy dog,
Sloppy, slurpy tongue,
Playing in the puddles
Just for fun.
Chewing all the people’s shoes,
Chew, chew, chew.
Watch your tinkly, winkly toes,
So it doesn’t chew you.

The Alligator
The alligator chased his tail
Which hit him on the snout;
He nibbled, gobbled, swallowed it,
And turned right inside-out.

My hamster died on Saturday
I touched him. He didn’t squirm.
He died without telling me.
My hamster died on Saturday.

Goldfish flash gold and silver scales.
They flick and slip away under green weed-
But round brown snails stick to the glass and stay.

Gold and silver scales;
They flick and slip away
Under green weed—
But round brown snails
To the glass
And stay.


Dear Parent(s),

Attached you will find a poem that your child selected as a “favorite” from a collection of poetry books we have been reading through. As a part of our study on poetry, we talk about images and visualizing. I put together a “suitcase” with items in it that represent some of my favorite poems. We then selected items from the suitcase and I shared the corresponding poem.

This week it is your child’s job to practice reading his/her poem and to select an item from home (or make one!) that he/she feels best represents what the poem is about. We will then put the object into the suitcase and take objects out, a few a day, and try to guess what the poem is about. It will be your child’s job to read his/her poem!

Please send the items in no later than _________________and have your child be prepared to read his/her poem by that date too. We will spend the week looking through out poetry suitcase! It is sure to be lots of fun!! Thank you for your help!

Mrs. Dow

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.