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List Poem

Teacher Lesson


  • Arts & Humanities
    Language Arts
  • Social Sciences



Brief Description

Students construct and illustrate a list poem that expresses personal likes and dislikes. This lesson is effective at the beginning of the year or at the start of a poetry unit.



  • make a list of personal likes and dislikes.
  • select and organize entries as they construct list poems.
  • create an illustration or a decorative border for the poem.


list, poem, poetry, icebreaker

Materials Needed

  • colored pencils or markers
  • white paper
  • colored construction paper
  • scissors
  • rubber cement
  • magazines

Lesson Plan

This lesson is a good one for the start of the school year. The lesson enables students to think, discuss, and create. The finished product makes a great classroom display for open house.

Discuss with students the idea that knowing what we like and dislike is a way of describing who we are. This information can lead to greater understanding and a greater feeling of community.

Pose some of the following questions to challenge students to think about their likes and dislikes: Can you think of something that made you smile inside? What was it? Can you think of something that made you sad? What was that? Take a few minutes to let students respond. Then tell them that you are going to give them an opportunity to do some more thinking about things they like and dislike.

Pass out half sheets of paper, and ask students to jot down three personal likes and three dislikes. These may be favorite foods, clothes you never want to be given, sports heroes, and so on.

Let students gather into "buddy groups" of three or four students. Then have students share their likes and dislikes with one another and add to their lists.

Have students circle entries on their lists that are most meaningful for describing themselves.

Talk about a "list poem." A list poem expresses ideas in a consistent style. The following sample poem will illustrate that style:

I am Jesse Taylor.
I like cheese, steak, shrimp, ice cream, apple pie, hockey, basketball, and fantasy stories.
I dislike spinach, chicken, chocolate cake, baseball, tennis, and romance stories.
All this ... and more ... make me who I am.
I am Jesse Taylor.

Let students work on their poems in buddy groups. Each student should share his or her poem with one or more members of the group; the peers will check poems to make sure all directions have been followed and the appropriate form has been used.

Have students write their finished poem on white paper. Students may either draw or cut out pictures from magazines to illustrate their work, or they might create a decorative page border. Students might attach their poems to the construction paper border.

Finally, let students share their work with the entire class so others might learn about their likes and dislikes.


Students should be able to identify the characteristics of a list poem.

Submitted By

Ruth Henck McCreery, Visitation School, Kansas City, Missouri


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