Monday, May 28, 2012

Poetry: Using Our Senses To Describe

When thinking about the many different components of a comprehensive literacy program, teachers often reflect that it is hard to find the time to integrate different language components like giving students a chance to write poetry or having them study language conventions (like grammar), etc. This honest reflection is always followed by, "it's not only about how I can integrate it into my program, but how can I do it thoughtfully and meaningfully?"

Donna and Wendy have found a way to balance these valid reflections into their programs.  Through the integration of their Science topic on the Five Senses, and using this as a basis to study adjectives, students spent time using their senses to write cinquain poems, using different fruit.

Part 1: Mini-lesson
Prior to this lesson, students spent a great deal of time learning about and understanding adjectives and trying to use them in their writing to make their pieces more interesting and engaging for the reader.

Before students began to write a poem of their own, Donna and Wendy led them through an example using chocolate chips.  The children each received a chip and used their words to describe how it felt/looked/smelled/sounded/tasted, connecting to the prior lessons about adjectives.  These words were then used to create a cinquain poem, as a class, preparing them to launch into writing their own poem, with their own focus.
Part 2: Independent/Guided Practice
Wendy and Donna prepared some fruit for students to work with during their independent practice of their poetry writing.  Each chose one fruit and then began to brainstorm their words to describe the fruit.  This ended with choosing the best words and creating their very own poem!

Part 3: Sharing Our Poems
Finding the time to have students share their work is always so important, in any subject!  During this lesson, our student poets were able to share their poems with one another, leaving some more sharing time during the next day for those that hadn't quite finished. 
Supporting the Learning:
Throughout their shared classroom space, Wendy and Donna have ensured that their co-constructed anchor charts are visible and accessible for students to use when needed.

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