I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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Holiday Poet Tree

December 2, 2012

Holiday Poet Tree

Deck your classroom with student poetry–any grade level or ability!

This easy Poet Tree assignment works for any season. Build literacy with your students–or just have fun with words!

Holiday Poet Tree

For K-1 , ELL, or higher*

Standards: Reading foundation/Phonological Awareness/Recognize and produce rhyming words.

Supplies needed:

  • class set of index cards or small pieces of construction paper / 1 per student;
  • string (or yarn or ribbon, paper clip, ornament hook, twisty etc.) for each card;
  • holiday tree  (or a drawing of one on butcher paper will do)
  • optional--a star at the top of tree that reads: Poet Tree
  • optional–crayons, glitter/glue–or whatever you have to decorate the finished product

To Do ahead of time:

word cards

Write each sight word below on an index card or construction paper. (Upper grades variation below. Feel free to come up with your own list.) Attach a string (or yarn or ribbon, paper clip etc.) on each word card and hang on the Poet Tree. Turn the cards so the words are not visible.

For upper grades, each card will have multiple words.

Suggested sight words: (I’m sure you can think of others.)

all— ball— doll

bed  — red —sled

tree– me– three

toy — boy— joy

go— snow — oh no!

hear — year — deer

nose — blows — snows

street — treat — sweet

mess — dress — guess

today — Santa’s sleigh — holiday

far— are— star

light — right — night

grandmother — each other — Oh, brother!
holly — dolly  (or crawly)— jolly

*To supplement or have younger kids come up with their own list, have them collect pairs of rhyming words from their favorite rhymed picture books or holiday carols!

*Upper grades variation: Have each student come up with their own words. Students write these two or more rhyming words on one card to hang on the tree. Proceed with 1, 3, 4 below.

*Immersion teachers like my Twitter friends @madameaiello and @fiteach are planning to use this with French vocabulary.

To Do with the class:

1. Have each student pick a word (*or list of rhymed words/upper grades) off the Poet Tree at random. Note: Upper grades cannot pick their own card.

2. Direct the students to find the two others who have words that rhyme with theirs. *variation–use only two from each trio of rhyming words above. Thus students will form rhyming pairs.

a. If this is done without talking (Good luck! Young or old–they always want to talk, of course–  but it’s still fun.) students walk around in a circle with their card held out to show everyone.  Each student must read the cards and decide which rhymes with theirs. When the three (or  two) have found each other, they hold their cards up together.

b. Or–if you don’t mind a little more chaos, students circulate saying their word aloud and listen for their rhyming partners. When the three (or two have found each other, they hold their cards up together.

3.  Model the next step on the board. Direct the pairs or trios of rhymed words to write a poem together using their words. The words will go at the end of each line. (Advanced upper grades–give them a poetry scaffold –ex. a sonnet–and have them plug in the rhymed words at the end of the lines.)

a. Example: ____________________________________________poem.



or if they have three:


____________________________________________know it.

____________________________________________show it.

b. Completed examples:

____My friend and I have written a _______________poem.

____I hope we get to take it_____________________home.


or if they have three:

___My teacher thinks I am a ____________________poet.

___She says all my friends will soon_______________know it.

___I just have to write this and ____________________show it.



It’s fun to be a poet.

I’m right and you know it.

This poem will show it.

PS Don’t stress if they end up writing phrases or more than one sentence per line. Poetry doesn’t have to be grammatically correct. : )


Away up in the sky so far

I see them. There they are.

Santa and his reindeer jumping over a star!


4. When the poems are done, have students cut them out in a circle–like an ornament.

Ready for the tree!

Or for a springtime activity–make them egg shaped. Optional–Students may decorate them and attach the string (or yarn or ribbon, paper clip) from the word cards to hang it back on the tree.

Another advanced option–have them decorate an “ornament” with their favorite poem or song lyrics (clean, legal, and appropriate!). Each student should be prepared to read it aloud or recite to the class.

Optional: Have some extra rhymed words on hand for those overachiever partners who finish early so they can write another.

Happy Poet Tree to all!

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