Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Have a Ball with Poetry

Lisa Rowe
Colleges and Universities - Florida


Students will brainstorm words pertaining to the senses (smell, sight, touch, taste, and sound) about the beach by passing a beach ball marked with the categories. Students will write a free verse poem, using these words and adding a line about their feelings.


The student uses effective word choice in written work to tell about experiences (including but not limited to anecdotal detail and figurative language such as similes).


-Blackboard/Dry Erase Board
-Chalk/Dry Erase Marker
-Three sheets of paper per student
-Beach ball segments labeled into five categories (smell, touch, taste, sound, and sight) with permanent marker


1. Mark beach ball with the five categories (smell, sight, sound, touch and taste).
2. Prepare an example of a beach poem.


1. Begin the lesson by asking if students know what their five senses are.

2. Explain the senses briefly to ensure understanding.

3. Ask students if a smell, sight, sound, touch, or taste has ever made them feel or remember something. For example: Does smelling a perfume remind you of your mother or grandmother? Does a special song remind you of a place or person?

4. Explain that we use all our senses each time we visit a place. We can describe what we sense using words that show what we are experiencing and feeling.

5. Ask students to think about their experiences at the beach and about some ways to describe them.

6. Make a heading on the board for each sense.

7. Have students form a wide circle.

8. Toss the ball to a student.

9. Have the student call out a beach word in the category facing him/her on the ball. Example: If the category facing the student is [taste], he might say [salty]. The teacher may want to provide the first example. The teacher will write the words on the board.

10. Continue until there are at least five words in each category, and each student has had a chance to participate.

11. Have students sit down and ask them to think about the words and their own experiences.

12. Instruct student to write a free verse poem using each category and at least one descriptive word. The poem is finished with one line describing how the words/experience makes the student feel. Provide an example:
I hear shells crunching and kids laughing.
I see blue sky and white sand.
I taste salt and lemonade.
I touch smooth driftwood and rough sand.
I smell cookouts and sunscreen.
The beach makes me feel tired, hot, and happy.

12. Monitor progress as students work on their poems.

13. Allow students to share their poems if they wish.

14. Assess the activity using checklist. (See Assessment.)


Match poem and student participation against this checklist:

Student contributed words and ideas to the activity.
Student used brainstormed words to form a poem.
Student used each sense category.
Student used at least two descriptive words.
Student finished poem with a line about feelings.
Student used effective word choices to convey
feelings and/or experiences.
Student was observed working cooperatively with others in the ball-passing activity.


This lesson could be further integrated with science by expanding on the theme of the five senses. Other settings and experiences could be substituted for the beach, such as the forest, school, etc. Students may want to illustrate their poems.
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