New Alberta Curriculum – Grade 5 Poetry Made Easy

Is it time to teach your grade 5 poetry unit? Did you look at the New Alberta Curriculum and experience confusion or frustration? Are you stumped because you’ve never heard of lyric poetry in your life? Don’t worry! We will break down the grade 5 poetry outcomes in the New Alberta Curriculum together.

1) What Poetry Skills and Procedures are in the New Alberta Grade 5 Curriculum?

Students need to be able to do the following:

  • Listen to poems to identify beauty or emotion.
  • Recite or sing a poem from memory.
  • Examine figurative language that can be experienced for its beauty or emotion.
  • Investigate poetic structures that contribute to creative expression of ideas, including stanzas.
  • Experiment with creating lyric poetry.

2) Teaching Grade 5 Poetry – Exposing Students to Lyric Poetry

The first thing that students need to be able to do is to listen to poems to identify beauty or emotion. Now it doesn’t specifically state that the poems must be lyric. However, since students will be expected to write lyrical poetry, I believe exposing them to this specific genre is important.

You will want to introduce lyric poetry to students with a simple definition before providing them with examples to listen to. Describe it as poetry that expresses feelings, thoughts, or experiences musically and imaginatively.

One of my favourite lyric poems is titled Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou. The version in the video below includes beautiful artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I love this poem so much that I created an entire poetry read-aloud unit around it. Not only is this unit perfect for exposing your students to lyric poetry, but it also introduces them to stanzas and provides them with an assignment to create their lyric poetry. Click HERE to check out the unit for yourself!

grade 5 poetry new alberta curriculum

Another of my favourite lyric poems for a grade 5 poetry unit is Caterpillar by Christina Rossetti. Click HERE to check it out.

Rain by Shel Silverstein is another amazing lyric poem. Click HERE to read it for yourself.

3) Teaching Grade 5 Poetry – Reciting Poems from Memory

Next, the New Alberta Curriculum requires students to recite or sing poems from memory. I suggest allowing students to choose their poems to recite. This will increase engagement and student buy-in.

You might allow students to find a poem in a poetry anthology, through a Google search or even use the chorus from their favourite song.

Once students have chosen a poem to recite, they must practice it repeatedly. Practice in front of a mirror is always a good idea. Remind students that they need to read with expression, and make eye contact with their audience. It will take students time to memorize their poems. I suggest allowing them 5 minutes a day for around a month to learn the poems by heart.

4) Teaching Grade 5 Poetry – Figurative Language

It is no secret that I LOVE to teach grade 5 students about figurative language. That’s why most of my Interactive Read Alouds focus on the authors’ figurative language.

One of my all-time favourite figurative language activities is this Figurative Language in Song Lyrics Digital Escape Room. I love it because it requires no prep, it’s engaging for students because it’s a contest focused on song lyrics, and it’s self-marking! Talk about a teacher win! Click HERE to check it out for yourself.

grade 5 poetry new alberta curriculum

Looking for more fun ideas for teaching figurative language? Click HERE to read my blog post on the topic!

5) Teaching Grade 5 Poetry – Creating Lyric Poetry

After students have been introduced to lyric poetry, have been allowed to recite poetry and have lots of experience with figurative language, it’s time for them to start writing their poems. This is by far the trickiest aspect of teaching Grade 5 poetry because it requires students to have a ton of creativity.

My Life Doesn’t Frighten Me unit includes a poetry writing activity to help students achieve this outcome.

So there you have it, 5 steps to a successful grade 5 poetry unit to help your students achieve all of the outcomes of Alberta’s new curriculum.

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