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Poetry Shopping Spree


  • Language Arts
  • Literature


  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Students "shop" for poems that provide examples of literary elements/devices such as metaphors, similes, personification, imagery, or onomatopoeia.


Students will
  • demonstrate the ability to evaluate authors' use of literary and stylistic elements such as metaphor, simile, personification, imagery, and onomatopoeia.


poetry, literary devices, terms, Poetry Month, metaphor, simile, personification, imagery, onomatopoeia, poet, allegory, alliteration, allusion, analogy, climax, figurative language, hyperbole, imagery, irony, metonymy, oxymoron, paradox, parallelism, prolepsis, pun, sarcasm, satire, symbolism, understatement

Materials Needed

  • a variety of poems printed on brightly colored paper; each poem should contain one or more of the literary devices on the student's checklist.
  • checklist for each student containing each literary term/device and a blank section in which students can the name of a poem that serves as an example of that term/device; see a list of terms in the The Lesson section below.

The Lesson

Before the lesson, select the literary terms/devices that you might include on students' checklists. Depending on the grade level and skill of your students, that list might include

  • allegory
  • alliteration
  • allusion
  • analogy
  • climax
  • figurative language
  • hyperbole
  • imagery
  • irony
  • metaphor
  • metonymy
  • onomatopoeia
  • oxymoron
  • paradox
  • parallelism
  • personification
  • prolepsis
  • pun
  • sarcasm
  • satire
  • simile
  • symbolism
  • understatement

Find poems that contain the devices that are appropriate to your students' ability levels. Print those poems on brightly colored paper and tape them on walls throughout a designated area. (I used the cafeteria and lobby of our school, but a hallway or even a big classroom would work well too.) After teaching the literary devices, provide students with a checklist of terms. Students can then, in groups or on their own, "shop" for poems that make use of each device. While they are on their "poetry shopping spree," they should identify next to each term the name of the poem -- and perhaps a key phrase or two from the poem that best illustrates the term.

Students should be given a specific amount of time in which to complete the activity.

My tech prep students enjoyed this activity very much and still refer to the poems we used when those terms come up in literature.


Each group or individual student should present filled-out checklists. The teacher then can lead a discussion and have students share answers to evaluate their understanding of the terms on the checklist.

Submitted By

Submitted by Kristen Cash Pittman, Pickens (South Carolina) High School

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