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Easy Abstraction Poems

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This is a very easy and rewarding poem to write with your students. A tried and true poetry exercise which always surprises students who do not think of themselves as writers and teachers who may be uncomfortable teaching writing.

To write your poems have students choose a feeling like love, hate, anger, friendship, jealousy, etc. You can brainstorm some ideas together as a class if you like. Then students write the feeling they have chosen at the top of their paper as their title. Beneath the title have the students write a line for each of the five sense. For example: Jealousy tastes like pickled plums, smells like rotten fish, looks like..., feels like..., sounds like a traffic jam. Write a poem together as a class first to get the students thinking and so they fully understand. Then, let the students write their own poems. Make sure the students use concrete images and encourage them to let their imaginations run wild.

It sounds strange, but sometimes a time limit helps to keep students from censoring their ideas and makes their writing more creative. Try 10 minutes for this exercise first and then give students more time if they need it when the 10 minutes are up.

Write your own Abstraction Poem before class or while the students are writin, so you can be the first to share your work. Then encourage students to share their writing with the class.

Angela Brenner
EFL teacher, Gifu City, Japan

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