This is a multi-lesson unit on poetry for second graders. It can be adapted for use with students in grades above or below. Each day begins with a short lesson to introduce a poetry style and is followed up with an art activity.
Day One -- List Poems. Give students any topic, and ask them to brainstorm words into a list. The title of the list poem appears at the top. An example follows:
After writing a class poem together, give the students a new topic -- butterflies. Ask them to write a list poem of their own about the topic.
For the art project that goes with this lesson, have each student do the following:
Day Two -- Haiku. Haiku poems are highly structured and usually focus on nature. The three lines of haiku must follow the syllable rules for the format: The first line must have five syllables, the second line must have seven syllables, and the last line must have five syllables. Share some examples from a book of haiku or from the Student Showcase: Winter Haiku Web page. Invite students to write haiku on the topic of spring. An example follows:
Rain floating softly
This lesson's follow-up art project involves each student creating a kite out of construction paper, writing her or his haiku poem on the kite, and posting the kite to a bulletin board backdrop that includes raindrops, clouds, and other symbols of spring.
Day Three -- Makes-Me-Think-of Poetry. Poems in this format begin with a word (for example, spring), and they end with that same word. The lines in between lead back to the original word. An example follows:
Spring makes me think of grass.
To accompany the lesson, students can paint watercolors to produce a rainbow on construction paper. When the paint dries, have students write their spring makes-me-think-of poem on the paper.
The assessment for this lesson is, ultimately, the students' poetry. I generated a simple rubric, giving the children choices of "beginning, advanced, and professional" to judge their own work. The categories in which they judged their work were as follows: attention to format, handwriting, neatness, visual imagery, and presentation.
Martha Leslie, Centennial Elementary, Spanaway, Wash.
Originally publishes 04/26/2002
Links last updated 03/03/2015
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