“The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” – Poetry Cut Up Activity

“The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls”

Standardized testing, snow days, delayed openings, special schedules, and mid-winter blues – ugggghhhhh. I wanted to do an activity during ERB testing week that was related to our current unit on tides, but was flexible enough due to the uncertainty of how often, and for how long, I would see each of my classes. This activity covered 3 shortened class periods and was completed for homework as needed.


  1. The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” – cut-up version and instructions (pdf)
  2. scissors
  3. glue sticks
  4. colored pencils or markers
  5. colored construction paper
  6. white printer paper

I used the poem “The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (link) and randomized the phrases to create the handout. Students cut the phrases apart and rearranged them to create their own original version of the poem and added an illustration to depict a scene from their poem. This activity reminded them of the magnetic poetry kits they have used in the past. As they worked on their poetry, I played some ocean sounds and beach themed music, it was a great way to unwind during a stressful testing week. The image above shows some of the poems & artwork, the rest were on a different bulletin board.

After all the poems were collected, I read the original poem for them as they watched the stop-motion video below. They noted how they grouped some of the phrases together just like the poet did in the original poem, or how different their version was. We also discussed the rhyming pattern he used, AABBA.