Thursday, March 30, 2023

National Poetry Month Competition and Resources

April is the time of year
For kids to write a poem.
There's loads of fun activities
Here for you to show 'em.

Technology can be used
To make the perfect rhyme,
With templates, tools, and writing prompts
To save your students time.

Draggable Drawings, random Sheets,
And Google Docs highlighting
Will give your students inspiration
For their creative writing.

So look below to find out more,
Then get your students on it,
Writing their ode, haiku, free verse,
Their ballad or their sonnet.

🏆 Poetry Competition

During the month of April 2023, Book Creator is running a poetry competition for students! The competition launches on Monday April 3rd and will run for the whole month. 

There will be two age categories: 4-11 and 12-18. 
  • For younger students, they are asking you to get collaborative and create a book of poetry together, showcasing different forms of poetry. 
  • For older students, they want entrants to focus on creating a beautiful poem and showcasing how they bring it alive by reading it out loud.
I am excited to be serving as one of the judges for the competition, so I am so looking forward to reading what your students create!

For full details, head over to the competition entry page at:

Now to help students with inspiration, templates, and tools to write their poems, see below for a collection of poetry-related resources and activities I have created or collected over the years.

🤖 Verse By Verse - Write a Poem with AI

If your students are needing a little inspiration when writing a poem, what could be better than getting inspired by famous poets themselves? "Verse By Verse" is a Google tool that uses artificial intelligence to provide suggestions based on the writings of classic American poets to help you write your own poem. Here is how is works...
  • First, go to the website at: and click "Let's write a poem".
  • Next select three poets you would like to write with. There are 22 poets for you to choose from, and as you choose each, you can learn about them and read some samples of their work.

  • After choosing your muses, you will select the form for your poem (Quatrain, Couplet, or Free Verse), as well as the syllable count and rhyme scheme.
  • Finally you can begin writing your poem.
  • After you write your first line, you will now get three suggestions from each of the three poets for a possible next line.
  • If you do not care for any of the suggestions, you can click the "Refresh" button to get new ones.

  • You can use the lines for inspiration to write something new of your own.
  • Or you can click on a suggestion to add that line to your poem, but can still edit it afterwards to make it your own.
  • When you are all done, you can download for final work as an image.

🧲 Drag and Drop "Magnetic" Poetry

Magnetic poetry kits have been around since the early 90’s, providing children and adults with inspiration to create poems on refrigerators everywhere. As fun as those magnetic kits are, they have some limitations. By using a technology option, such as Google Drawings, you get many benefits:
  • No limit on the quantity of words provided. Just copy and paste more of them as needed.
  • Great tech skills practice with dragging and dropping and copying and pasting.
  • Ability to edit the words provided if needed.
  • Ability to add your own words.
  • Easy collaboration with others.
  • Easy to share or download your final creation.
  • No pieces to get lost.
  • It’s free!

Below are several Google Drawings templates I have created over time for variously-themed drag-and-drop "magnetic" poetry activities. Feel free to use these with your students. You can even make copies and then make changes to create your own themed versions for different holidays, seasons, or events.

For detailed directions on how your students can complete these activities and share their creations, you can see my earlier posts where I originally shared these templates:

🎲 Random Writing Prompts for Poems

When our students go to write a poem, a blank page can be both exciting (with so much potential) and intimidating (where do you begin?) One method to help inspire our students’ imaginations is to provide them with writing prompts. It can help them think of new ideas, jog their memories, make a connection, or simply inspire them to try out a topic. But where can they get writing prompts?

One fun option is to use the random function built into Google Sheets to generate writing prompts for students. In the past I have created two such templates, one with just text and the other with emojis.

Random Text Writing Prompt Generator

This Google Sheet randomly pulls from a list of about 2,000 adjectives and 1,000 nouns to create over 2 million unique prompts. You can get a new set of 20 random prompts by refreshing the page in your browser, or by pressing Ctrl and R.

You can get your own copy of the Sheet here...

For more details on how students can use the Sheet, see my earlier post where I originally shared the template.

Random Emoji Writing Prompt Generator

Instead of just text writing prompts, we can also use Google Sheets to generate emoji prompts! They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is so, then emojis should be able to bring even more meaning and ideas and inspiration than just words alone.

There are several great reasons for using emojis as writing prompts:
  • Since emojis are images, they can be used with students of any age, language, or reading ability.
  • Also since they are images, they can provide a wide range of ideas since each student will have their own interpretations of the pictures.
  • Emojis are very popular with students, so they will likely have familiarity with the images.
  • They are fun! And writing should be fun!

You can get your own copy of the Sheet here...

For more details on how students can use the Sheet, see my earlier post where I originally shared the template.

⬛ Black Out Poetry with Google Docs

Another fun way to engage students in poetry is by having them create "Black Out" poems. Basically you give the student a page of text pulled from a book, article, websites, or such. The student then blacks out all of the text, except for the words they want to leave behind to form a poem. This can be helpful for students struggling to write a poem, since they do not need to come up with any words of their own, but instead are working within a set collection of available words and in a particular order.

A lot of times you see this activity done with physical paper and big black markers. However, "Black Out Poetry" works great in a digital format. Using Google Docs and a few simple tricks, students can easily create and share their poems.

Below is a simplified list of the steps involved. To get all the details, tip, tricks, and even a tutorial video, see my earlier post where I originally shared the idea.

Basic steps...

Paste your source text into a Google Doc. For best results click "Edit" and then "Paste without formatting" to just paste the raw text and none of the original colors or styles.

Change the background color of the Google Doc to a temporary color, such as gray, by clicking "File" then "Page setup".

Next highlight the words you want to keep in the poem with white, by selecting the text and clicking the "Highlight color" button in the toolbar.

Finally change the background color of the Google Doc to black to hide all the other words you did not highlight.

📜 Poetry Templates

Another way to help students when writing poetry is to give them a predefined template to fill in. For students that struggle with writing, this can give them guidance and structure to help them make their poem. For students that are writing successfully this can force them to be creative to fit their ideas into a set format.

Below are two sample poetry templates:

Haiku Template in Google Drawings

A haiku is a type of Japanese poetry made of 3 lines. The first line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the third line has 5 syllables.

Student can use this Google Drawings template to help make a haiku poem. Click below to get your copy.

Each box in the Drawing represents one syllable of the poem. For a word with multiple syllables, the student would use multiple boxes, one per syllable.

The template also has an image in the background. To change the background image to something that matches their haiku, the student can click on the picture, then click "Replace image" in the top toolbar. They can then upload or search for a new image.

"Pi Poem" Template in Google Sheets

A fun form of poetry that mixes writing and math is the "Pi Poem". A "Pi Poem" is composed of words where the length of each word is equal to each digit of pi in order. So for example, the beginning of the poem would be made of a 3-letter word, 1-letter word, 4-letter word, 1-letter word, and 5-letter word, for the beginning of pi which starts as 3.1415. Punctuation doesn't count.

To help with this activity, I have created a Google Sheets "Pi Poem" template. The template makes it easier to create your poem with helpful boxes for each letter of each word. To get your own copy of the template simply click the link below.

For more details on how students can use the Sheet, see my earlier post where I originally shared the template.

🎨 Book Creator Pen Tools

Book Creator is a fantastic tool for students and teachers to create and share their poems as digital books. Not only does it help you write the poem, it also makes it super easy to illustrate your creation with pen tools that include:
  • 🖍️ a marker, paint brush, crayon, and highlighter to draw and write with
  • 🌈 the magic ink option to draw, write, and fill with colorful patterns
  • 💧 a fill tool to color items in with colors or patterns
  • 😀 an emoji tool to search, find and insert emojis
  • 🤖 and (best of all) the AutoDraw tool
Check out my blog post and video where I demonstrate each of these tools while illustrating my kids poem called "Don't!" - Blog post link

➕ Rhyming Add-on for Google Docs

A final tool that may come in handy is the "OneLook Thesaurus" add-on for Google Docs. This is a tool that provides a list of rhyming words for any word you select in a Google Document (as well as synonyms and more).

This may help the students to discover rhyming words they may not have thought of, or find a rhyme when they are stuck. Here’s how to it works:

First you will need to install the add-on.
  • In Google Docs, click “Add-ons” then “Get add-ons”.
  • Search for “OneLook Thesaurus”.
  • Alternately you can use this direct link: Google Docs Add-on link
  • Click the “Install” button to install the add-on.

After the add-on is installed you can use it as follows.
  • Click “Add-ons” then “OneLook Thesaurus” then “Home”.
  • This will open a panel on the right of your document.
  • Highlight any word in your Google Doc.
  • Click the “Rhymes” button in the panel on the right.
  • A list of rhyming words will show up in the panel.

🎧 Bonus: Audio Version

A while back had the privilege to be a guest on Vicki Davis' show "The 10-Minute Teacher Podcast" to discuss some of the resources shared in this post. In addition to getting all the details for the projects above, you can also listen to an audio version here:

Or you can go to Vicki's blog for her post and the transcript of the audio recording at:

🏁 Conclusion

As educators we are always looking for new and creative ways to inspire our students to write. Hopefully these poetry ideas will provide you with some more tricks in your bag to use with your students.

If your students create poems with any of these templates and ideas, I would love to see what they make. Please feel free to share your creations, ideas, suggestions, and questions in the comments area below.

And be sure to enter Book Creator's poetry competition for April 2023! Again, all of the details for the competition can be found at

Post by Eric Curts
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