“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” I don’t know who said that or what they meant, but I like it. I also agree with the aphorism, “Two heads are better than one.” (Though I like my single head on my shoulders just fine, thank you. No reason to be Zaphod Beeblebrox.)

Take advantage of the classroom having many people in it.

Choose a topic.

Students (and teacher) brainstorm together. Come up with as many connections, words, metaphors, and ideas connected to that thing as possible.

When you (or they) get stuck, think of the senses. Have you touched on all those? What does that topic relate to? What does it never relate to?

Write everything on the board.

As a class, take all those words, ideas, connections, and create a class poem on the topic.

Then have the students choose ten of those to write down themselves. Have them come up with their own poem, using the ideas the whole class came up with.

I have gotten some of the most insightful poetry from eight, nine, and ten year olds as I have ever seen in my life with this exercise.

This is a framework that you can plug your own ideas into.

If you’d like a published writer (both poetry and nonfiction) to come to the class and do this exercise with your students, I am available for a reasonable fee.