Lesson Plan

Grade 3-5: Pre-visit - Poets and Poetry


Students will explore one of Sandburg's literary genres: poetry, using his poem "Fog". Lesson plan guides the student on ways to physically express poetry and then write their own, based on a "fog" formula.


Learning Targets:

  • I can dicuss Sandburg's use of figurative language in the poem "Fog".
  • I can write a poem using figurative language to compare weather to an animal.

Common Core State Standards
Writing Standards:
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
Speaking and Listening Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1
Engage effectively in range of collaborative discussions, building on other's 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?


Materials Provided

  • Copy of "Fog" (can be projected on Smartboard or written on large chart paper)
  • Where To, What Next education film with Glenis Redmond (request a free DVD from park or download here)

Materials Needed

  • Thought bubble on chart paper or whiteboard
  • Post-It notes for students to answer thought bubble
  • Notebook paper and pencils
  • Optional—weather photos or videos


Activating Strategy
Thought Bubble - Have a thought bubble posted with the question "What is a poet?" Students will write their answers on post-it notes and stick them in the thought bubble. The teacher will share several answers with the class. Ask students "Can anyone write poetry?"  

Teaching Strategy
1.   Show the first part of the video Where To, What Next. Stop right after Glenis Redmond introduces herself: "I'm Glenis Redmond, and I'm a poet." (a little over 3 minutes of the video). 

2.   Discuss with the class what they learned about the poet Carl Sandburg from the video. How did the pictures and information about Carl Sandburg in the video compare and contrast with their previous definitions of the word "poet" in the thought bubble?  

3.   Ask students to close their eyes as the teacher reads the poem "Fog" out loud. What did they visualize as they heard the poem? Share visualizations with the class. 

4.   As a whole class, act out the poem "Fog" by adding movements one line at a time and repeating the poem. 

5.   Gather students together as a group, with teacher at the front with "Fog" displayed on whiteboard.  

6.   Explain to students that they will have the opportunity to embody a poem through acting out the words of the poem. 

7.   Re-read the poem to the children and prompt students to think about how they might move to express the poem. 

8.   Teacher says first line of poem while modeling and encouraging students to add body movements, which they repeat back. Complete poem activity by reading each line and repeating the movement. 

9.   Look at the poem "Fog". Discuss how Carl Sandburg used figurative language (metaphor) to compare the fog to a cat. Why do they think he chose to do that? What are the similarities between fog and a cat? (How do they both move, look, etc?) (You could use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast cat and fog.) 

10. As a whole class brainstorm about snow. (How does snow move, what does snow look like, etc?) Share ideas with the class and write on the board. 

11. As a whole class, brainstorm animals that they would compare with snow.  Choose one of the animals. 

12. Model for the students how to write a poem using figurative language to compare snow and the animal keeping the format of the poem similar to "Fog".

13. Show the rest of Where to? What next? 

Summarizing Strategy
Ticket out the Door - Students will answer the question, What is figurative language? on a slip of paper and turn it into the teacher.


Have the students work in small groups or individually to write a poem using figurative language to compare another type of weather and animal. Share poems with the class.