Review: Pensee Poem Writing on Teachers Pay Teachers

The pensee poem writing activity is a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers. The two-page packet is meant to introduce students to the pensee style of poetry and then have students practice their own pensee poems.

Sometimes it seems like haiku gets all the good publicity, but students who learn about pensee will have another option to consider when there’s an intense need to write structured poetry. The pensee structure consists both of numbers of syllables per line and a pattern of content that each line covers, making it slightly more prescribed than the most commonly taught forms of haiku.

The worksheets provided in this download are certainly suitable for photocopying and classroom use. The packet is marked for sixth through twelfth grades, but it’s entirely possible that students younger than sixth grade would also have a good time with the pensee poem. The two pages of worksheets are a good introduction to the topic, with prompts and an easy-to-follow guide for students to complete their own poems. The only drawback to the worksheets, and this is minor, is that there aren’t enough examples of the poetry for it to be a stand-alone lesson. The handouts only demonstrate one poem, however, so teachers who wanted to use these worksheets would probably want to talk about the poem style rather than relying solely on the handout. That’s what teaching is about, though, right?

You can download your own copy of the Pensee Poem Writing activity here.

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.
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