Here's a lesson plan based on the poem "The Tiger in the Zoo" by Leslie Norris:


  • Students will analyze the themes, imagery, and figurative language used in the poem.
  • Students will explore the emotions and perspectives conveyed by the poem's speaker.
  • Students will engage in creative writing activities inspired by the poem.

Duration: 45-60 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • Copies of the poem "The Tiger in the Zoo" by Leslie Norris
  • Whiteboard/markers or digital presentation slides
  • Writing materials for students (notebooks, pencils, etc.)

Lesson Plan:

  1. Introduction (5 minutes):

    • Begin by asking students if they have ever visited a zoo and what their experiences were like.
    • Introduce the poem "The Tiger in the Zoo" by Leslie Norris. Provide some background information about the poet and the context of the poem.
  2. Reading and Discussion (15 minutes):

    • Read the poem aloud as a class, or have students take turns reading.
    • Discuss the imagery and figurative language used in the poem. What pictures come to mind when reading the poem?
    • Explore the emotions conveyed by the speaker. How does the speaker feel about the tiger in the zoo?
  3. Analysis (15 minutes):

    • Break students into small groups and assign each group a stanza from the poem.
    • Have groups analyze their assigned stanza, focusing on the meaning, symbolism, and literary devices used.
    • Groups will then share their analyses with the class.
  4. Creative Writing Activity (15 minutes):

    • Ask students to imagine they are the tiger in the zoo. How would they feel being confined to a cage? What would they see, hear, and smell?
    • Have students write a first-person narrative or poem from the perspective of the tiger.
    • Encourage students to incorporate sensory details and emotions into their writing.
  5. Conclusion (5 minutes):

    • Wrap up the lesson by discussing the significance of the poem's themes, such as captivity, freedom, and the human-animal relationship.
    • Encourage students to reflect on the poem's message and how it relates to their own experiences and perspectives.


  • Assess students based on their participation in class discussions, their ability to analyze the poem's themes and literary devices, and the creativity and thoughtfulness of their writing in the creative activity.

Extension Activity:

  • Students can research and write about the ethical considerations of keeping animals in captivity, particularly in zoos.
  • Students can explore other poems or literary works that deal with similar themes of captivity and freedom, such as William Blake's "The Tyger" or Yann Martel's "Life of Pi."

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