The Acrostic: A New Look at an Old Friend

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SWBAT compose an acrostic poem using evidence from the text to support the traits they choose.

Big Idea

Understanding character traits and motives is a key foundational skill to understanding fiction itself.

Hello, Old Friend!! Meet My New Friend!!

10 minutes

Today's lesson will be another chance for students to look at Snowflake Bentley's character traits with a twist.  In writing an acrostic poem, the students must synthesize a few different skills- they must know what a character trait is, they must be able to infer to come up with the character trait and they must have  large enough vocabulary to match traits to the letters in his name.

We begin by showing an example of an acrostic.  They realize immediately what they're about to do and get SO excited because they've all done it before with their own names.  So, getting the format in their heads, I then begin to show them the way they've done it before.  Again, they are so excited I feel like I'm getting ready to tell them Christmas is cancelled!!  But we press on and I show them (with all my enthusiasm) the way I want them to do it for Snowflake Bentley.

After the Smart board discussion, I prepare to hand out the papers on which they will write their acrostic.


Working With the New Friend

40 minutes

After I pass out the papers, the students begin working.  I tell the students that these papers are just the graphic organizer.  After they complete these, I tell them to cut out the letter squares and paste them on the large construction paper I have for them.  After they attach their letters, they may transfer over their evidence in pencil and finally, when all steps are done, they may trace over their pencil with a Sharpie marker.  

A note here:  It may be helpful to have a model of this as sometimes kiddos get lost in multi- step directions.  I've also included a direction sheet for those who do better reading than listening.

In order to differentiate this activity, I sit with my readers that are not at grade level until they feel ready to work independently.  I have our class- made list of traits handy for them to use as I also help them find appropriate evidence from the text.


A "Glow" and a "Grow": Sharing Our Work

15 minutes

After all the students have finished their poems, it is that magical time we call sharing!!  This is a good time for students to practice those skills of eye contact, voice projection and pacing that are so difficult when speaking in front of one's peers.  

I use a random name chooser to decide who gets to share.  After each share, the students listening give a "Glow" and a "Grow" for each acrostic.

I collect the acrostics and dismiss the students to their next class.