I was looking for poems that would work great at the beginning of the school year with middle schoolers and upper elementary kids, and I’ve found some great ones! Some are about starting back to school, and some are about perennial school topics. Some are funny, and some are serious. If you’re looking for poems to use during the first days back at school, check these out!
Funny School Poems
Sick, by Shel Silverstein
Little Peggy Ann has an endless list of funny excuses why she can’t go to school today – until she finds out that it is Saturday.
The Aliens Have Landed! by Ken Nesbitt
These aliens are creepy and disgusting, and yes, they’re working in your school as teachers!
My Teacher Sees Right Through Me, by Bruce Lansky
The school day can be difficult when your teacher is also your dad.
Serious Poems with Good Themes for the Beginning of the Year
Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes
It’s all about perseverance and not giving up.
We Real Cool, by Gwendolyn Brooks
Are they really “real cool”?
The Young Poets of Winnipeg, by Naomi Shihab Nye
To be creative, just think like a second grader.
Funny Poems with Classic Middle School Topics
Love Struck, by Amy S. Mullins
The girls are in love, but the boys aren’t liking it!
Gym Class, by Neal Levin
Read about the locker room in smelly detail.
Serious Poems with Classic Middle School Topics
Oranges, by Gary Soto
This one’s about a sweet moment with twelve year olds on a first date, and a thoughtful adult.
An Ode to My Locker, by ElKay, a teen author on the Teen Ink site
This is a teen’s tribute to school lockers, which he describes as the only thing in school that doesn’t judge him.
Do you have favorite poems to use with back to school activities in your classroom? If you do, I would love to read those as well. Leave a note in the comments below, and I’ll check them out.
Before I leave the subject of poetry, here is a FREEBIE. It’s a short, colorful PowerPoint presentation that introduces the topic of imagery using explanations and examples of imagery that appeal to the five senses including descriptive language and figurative language – great for introducing poetry (or for any literature unit). Click on the image to download it now.
Related Products from Classroom in the Middle:
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We do a poem in our class every week in kindergarten! Students love singing together, and they get to share it with their families. Thank you for sharing these great poems!
It’s amazing what a wide age range some of these poems appeal to!
I *love* Langston Hughes. There is so much to be thought over and explored in his works. Thank you for including him on this great list.
And, I admit, the short blurb on “An Ode to My Locker” has intrigued me and I definitely want to check it out, haha!
One thing I would do in my poetry units was to break poems into Reader’s Theater bits and explore rhythm while reading them out loud with several kids. Sometimes it would take two or three readings before students became comfortable expressing the poetry with emphasis or new rhythm, but every now and then you have that one kid who’s been waiting to share his or her dramatic flair. Which of course, made it all the more fun. 🙂
It sounds like poetry must be a lot of fun for the kids in your class!
One of my favorites is Mother to Son. So beautiful!
Seriously, you found some great poems for middle schoolers. I have always loved Sick by Shell Silverstein, and now I am going to add Gym Class to my list of favorites. It really is funny and sums up middle school PE! Thanks for sharing these!