Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Sneaky Poem

Julia Balukin


Using poetry to share their ideas, students incorporate a subject and its synonym, and the parts of speech to create a Sneaky Poem.


The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, letters to invite or thank, stories or poems to entertain, information to record).

The student listens and responds informally to a variety of oral presentations such as stories, poems, skits, songs, personal accounts, or informational speeches.


-Notebook paper for each student
-COME TO THE GATHERING by The Pyrowriters, September 1998, Evelyn W. Allen, Publisher
-Overhead and markers
-Example of Sneaky Poetry copied onto an overhead transparency (see associated file)
-Second example of Sneaky Poetry, teacher example, copied onto an overhead transparency (see associated file)
-A copy of the checklist for each student (see associated file)
-A copy of the student response sheet for each student (see associated file)


1. Gather materials for writing activity.
2. Make copies of student response sheet for each student (associated file).
3. Make copies of the checklist for students to use as a guide for writing expectations, one per student (associated file).
4. Make overhead transparacy copies of the two examples of a sneaky poem (associated file).
5. Have overhead and markers with blank transparencies should you choose to create a sneaky poem with the class, prior to beginning lesson.


Day 1
1. To begin this lesson, very dramatically walk over toward a student as though you are sneaking up on him or her. Do not say a word out loud at this time.

2. Stop, walk normally back to the front of the classroom.

3. Suddenly, begin to walk around the class and dramatically sneak up on another student in the classroom.

4. Stop again and walk back to the front of the class.

5. Ask students if someone can volunteer to tell the class what you were just doing. Lead students to use the word sneak or sneaky in their description as to what you were doing.

6. At this time, ask students if anyone has ever heard of or written a sneaky poem. Explain now that the class will be creating their very own sneaky poetry.

7. Before getting into the criteria for creating this poetry, explain that there are a few things that will need to be reviewed as a class.

8. Explain that when they write their poems, they will need to remember the meaning and use of nouns and adjectives. Use this time to do so through brainstorming.

9. Explain that students will also need to understand the meaning of what a subject is and that their poem will be about a specific subject. Brainstorm with the class various subjects and find adjectives and nouns that give -sneaky- clues as to what the subject is that is brainstormed. Use the examples copied to transparancies for examples or references to show the students (see associated file).

10. Explain that students will need to be familiar with synonyms and how to use them in place of the subject of their poem as they build to the last line. Use this time to brainstorm words and find synonyms of their meaning.

11. Read a bit of COME TO THE GATHERING in part or all of the book, stopping to discuss language and how the author used creative language. If not available, read a few passages from any book that express the use of creative language.

12. Now you will explain, tying together all that you have reviewed with the class (nouns, adjectives, subjects, and synonyms), that the main idea with this type of poetry is to try and build the poem as a riddle, the last line naming the subject or topic of the sneaky poem.

13. Explain that the class is going to create a sneaky poem about something that might be fun or interesting to write about. (ie. chicken and Sunday dinner, chicken and feathers...)

14. Brainstorm with students various subjects that they may feel might make a fun, sneaky type of poetry. Write their ideas on the overhead or on the board.

15. Explain to students that sneaky poems are written in a way that the reader doesn't know, until the last line is read, what the poem is about (the subject).

16. Hand out students copies of the sneaky poetry Checklist (see associated file). Review The Pattern criteria with students.

17. The teacher will show the class the overhead of the example pages copied onto transparancies from the associated file. Discuss where nouns, adjectives, and synonyms are used.

18. The teacher may then model sneaky poetry by writing his/her own sneaky poem on the overhead with the class. Allow students to help you to create this.

19. Explain that students will now begin to create their own sneaky poetry. *Note-students may need to write their chosen subject, line 5 of the checklist pattern, to help them stay on track with the subject.

20. Have students get out their pencils and paper to work on their rough draft.

21. Explain that they are not to write their poetry on the checklist that was given, at this time.

22. Students may now begin to write their poetry.

23. The teacher will need to roam around the room to answer questions that arise. Expect questions.

Day 2
24. When students have completed their first draft of their sneaky poem, have them exchange papers with a peer for peer editing. Use -Sneaky Poetry Checklist- as their guide (see associated file).

25. When students have had a peer edit their papers, they will write their final draft on the checklist form.

26. When all students have completed their final drafts, provide a copy of the student response sheet for each student.

27. Explain the objectives of the response sheet and that it is each student's responsibility to listen to peers as they read their poems, oral presentations, from the author's chair. They are then to respond to one of their peer's oral presentations, as assigned or as chosen, following the guidelines on the response sheet.

28. All of the students will have an opportunity to complete their poems, read them from the author's chair, and respond to a peer on the response sheet.

29. Students will turn in their final drafts of their poems on the checklist sheet and the student response sheet. These will be used to assess students.

* Allow for an opportunity to give students feedback on their work when returning the completed poems.


Use checklist to assess student's ability to:
-create poetry
-write for the purpose of entertainment

Use student response sheet to assess student's ability to:
-listen to an oral presentation
-respond to an oral presentatioin

*The checklist and student response sheet in the associated file will include the criteria for successful completion.


Some students may need additional assistance writing the poem. This can be accomplished through working with a peer in creating and writing their sneaky poetry.

Web Links

Web supplement for A Sneaky Poem

Web supplement for A Sneaky Poem
Poetry 4 Kids

Web supplement for A Sneaky Poem
Kristine George

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