Lesson Plan

Grade 3-5: On-site - Sandburg's Writing "Spring Grass"

Grade Level:
Third Grade-Fifth Grade
Literature, Poetry
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
in the park
National/State Standards:
Reading Standards for Literature
Speaking and Listening Standard


This lesson is intended for on-site at the park, but can be used in any outdoor location near the classroom.


Learning Targets

  • I can identify Fog, Try Being a Goat, and Bug Spots as poems written by Carl Sandburg.
  • I can determine the theme of one of Carl Sandburg's poems using the details in the text.

Common Core State Standards
Reading Standards for Literature
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a poem from details in the text.
Speaking and Listening Standard
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


Check out the other lessons in this plan:

Pre-Visit Lesson: Connemara Farm
Pre-VIsit Lesson: Poets and Poetry
Pre-Visit Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - Growing Up

On-Site Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - From Prairie Town Boy to Famous Writer
On-Site Lesson: Sandburg's Writing "Spring Grass"

Post-Visit Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - Autobiographical Poem
Post-Visit Lesson: Sandburg and Lincoln
Post-Visit Lesson: Why Goat's Milk?



The poetry activity should take about 10 minutes and the hike should take about 20 minutes. This lesson begins at the large rock behind the house. 

Activating Strategy
Think-Pair-Share, teacher will have students sit on the rock. Teacher will pose this question to the students, "What is important about this rock?" Allow students one to two minutes to think about this question. Next, have students share with a partner their answer to the question. Finally, teacher will ask some students share with the whole class.

Teaching Strategy
1. Explain to your students that Carl Sandburg loved nature. He would often walk these trails and collect items such as acorns and put them in his pockets to take back to the house. Carl Sandburg wrote many children's poems that focus on nature. Can the students identify any of his poems? (Fog, Try Being a Goat, Bug Spots)

2. Ask students to silently look around the rock where they are sitting using all of their senses to observe nature. What natural objects do they see that might have inspired Carl Sandburg's writing?  What do they hear? What do they smell? What do they feel? How would they describe those objects?

3. Ask the children to close their eyes while you share one of these poems "Spring Grass" with them. What did they visualize while you were reading the poem? How did Carl Sandburg use descriptive language in this poem? How did he use all his senses in writing this poem? (smell—young spring grass, hear—shoots of the big green whisper)  

4. Re-read the poem to the class. What words do they hear repeated throughout the poem? (come up, spring grass)

5. Have the students stand up. As you re-read the poem, they will be adding movements. Every time you read the words spring grass, they need to crouch down and spring into the air. Every time you read the words come up, they need to jump up and down.

6. Re-read the poem again adding the movements.

7. Finish the activity with a hike around the Memminger trail using all their senses to observe the different natural objects along the way.

Summarizing Strategy
Quick Talk, students will have a limited amount of time (one to two minutes) to discuss with a partner the title of the Carl Sandburg's poems discussed today, the importance of "the rock" and something they noticed about the environment while on their hike.


When the students return to class they can write their own poem about something they observed during the hike.