State and federal history standards should be kept in mind when creating assignments. The use of poetry can allow the teacher to meet many of these standards, as well as some of those in Language Arts. Poetry is one tool that can be used to teach the standards. It is up to the teacher to determine when poetry is best used.
The Elements of Poetry
If you were teaching the students how to be poet laureates or Nobel prize winners, then teaching the many intricate, specific, complicated elements of poetry is probably necessary for the dreaded state test. But for a history class, the basics are enough to start. Start with rhyme, internal and external; similes and metaphors; and imagery. Introduce terms like verse, line, stanza, rhythm, and figurative language. Be careful, too much, to soon will destroy a studentŐs enthusiasm for writing. Just introducing a couple is good to start. You may want to create a list of poetic terms that students can refer to and can keep as a resource.
Go slow when teaching the elements of poetry. As you introduce different styles of poetry, introduce only the elements the students may need to accomplish the assignment. DonŐt stress out the student.
Use extreme caution when using eighty-year-old examples to teach the elements. Students will immediately see the elements as archaic. They will also see you as archaic. Let the Language Arts teacher deal with the literature.