James Whitcomb Riley
Riley was known as “The Hoosier Poet” as well as
“The Children’s Poet.” He wrote many poems that
celebrate the natural world as he experienced it throughout his
life in Indiana.
The purpose of this lesson plan is to read Riley’s poetry
pertaining to nature and relate it to personal experiences that
students have had growing up in Indiana.
1) To explore natural life in Indiana, as compared to the rest
of the United States and the world.
2) To write original poetry and prose regarding similar personal
experiences with nature.
3) To explore different types of poetry.
This is intended to be a five-day lesson plan that helps students
explore personal feelings and experiences with nature, as well as
explore different types of poetry.
Read “Autumn,” “A Hint of Spring,” and
“A Summer Afternoon.”
Activity #1: Students will write rhymed stanza poetry relating
things they have experienced with the season of their choice. Students
may write about things they have seen in a season or how a certain
season makes them feel about nature.
Discuss with the students the cycle of the seasons in Indiana and
the extremes that are experienced. Compare our cycle of seasons
with the seasons in other regions of the United States and the world.
Read “The Frog” and “The Katydid.”
Activity #2: Students will write an original limerick about species
they have experienced in nature, such as amphibians and insects.
Discuss with the students the specific amphibians and insects that
are found in Indiana.
Activity #3: Mini-research project—Have each student in the
class choose a different state and research the different types
of amphibians and insects found there. Each student will present
their findings to the class. As a group, compare and contrast the
types of amphibians and insects found in other states.
Read “The Rose” and “The Clover.”
Activity #4: Students will write an original haiku about the different
types of plants they have seen in nature, such as shrubs and trees.
Discuss with the students the different types of plant life found
in Indiana. Compare and contrast these types of plants with plants
found in other parts of the United States and the world.
Read “The Jaybird,” “The First Bluebird,”
and “The Yellowbird.”
Activity #5: Students will write an original free verse poem about
what they have seen and experienced with birds in nature. For example,
they can write about the state bird, the cardinal.
Discuss the different types of birds that are most commonly found
Activity #5: Take students on a hike in a local forest
or park to get more firsthand experience with nature. Once the students
are back in the classroom, have the students work collaboratively
on a mural, making sure they include the amphibians, insects, plants,
and birds that they’ve written about and discussed in class.