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Now available - Riddles in a Language Arts classroom containing twenty different Cloud Kingdom riddles with accompanying worksheets. Teach poetic forms the fun way! Riddles in a language arts classroom

Teaching Poetry with Riddles

Steve Martin
May 2007

Steve Martin (no, not that one) is an administrator in a state Department of Education. He's also one of Cloud Kingdom's RiddleMasters.

English teachers teach poetry. Kids hate poetry. Riddles are in poetic form. Kids love riddles. So riddles are a way to teach kids poetry.

Well, perhaps that's a little harsh: some kids love poetry and some hate riddles. Riddles written as poems are different than most poems in that there is a puzzle to solve. It turns a simple poem into a game.

The following is an outline of a lecture given to a seventh grade Language Arts students about riddles and poetry.

  • Sample riddle. Show them an easy riddle and have the class solve it.
  • Why does one write poetry?
  • Solve another riddle.
  • Who can be a poet? (For fun, hand out "poetic licenses")
  • Solve another riddle.
  • Tolkein Talk. Show riddles from The Hobbit.
  • Discuss forms of verse (limerick, haiku, sonnet, etc.)
  • Limericks, including some sample riddle limericks.
  • Haiku and haiku riddles.
  • More about rhythm.
  • Samples of anapestic meters.
  • Riddles written in anapestic feet.
  • Conclusion: poetry can be fun!
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