As students view my Acrostic Poem Flip chart, I introduce Acrostic Poems. Most students are familiar with this type of poetry from previous experiences. Regardless, I want everyone to be on the same page, so I begin with the introduction by defining the features of an Acrostic Poem. We analyze a sample poem together and discuss its characteristics. Through our discussions and differentiated assessments, I monitor students' understanding of this concept. As students visualize the contents of an acrostic poem, they gain insight on how words and phrases in poetry affect the overall meaning in poetry.
Background knowledge is important for students to make sense of their learning. Students enter with different life experiences and knowledge into this lesson. Part of the flip chart is to assess what students already know. We build knowledge from where students are to reach a higher level of learning. Students take off from a basic, concrete point in their learning progression into more complex, abstract concepts.
Students begin creating their own Acrostic Poem about themselves. I ask students to create an acrostic poem using the spelling of their name. They are to write a poem that describes themselves. I encourage students to incorporate Tier 2 words. I gave students a brief explanation of these words as mature language that adults would use socially. I printed a Tier 2 Vocabulary Word List and further explained that these words appear frequently in text, across all subjects. Students may add drawings and embellish their creations. I give students an Acrostic Poem Rubric so that they know the goal or expectations for this project. Students know that a score of 3 on this rubric is their goal. Scores of 1 or 2 are approaching that goal. I give students materials to complete this task: poster size paper, crayons, dictionary. I monitor students and assist as needed. I also give students access to laptops and digital sources such as acrostic poetry definitions and examples via videos and downloaded articles. Students may also choose to collaborate with a partner if they need additional assistance writing their poems.
As noted on the hierarchy of Bloom's Taxonomy, creating uses higher order thinking processes. There is much more rigor to creating a poem than merely remembering, understanding, or applying what they learn from this type of poetry. Creating requires students to synthesize information, generate hypotheses, and develop new ideas that is relevant to them. Thus, students are deeply immersed in understanding how words and structure of poetry can add meaning and rhythm.
This lesson concludes with a poetry reading of students' final product. During the Student Poetry Reading, students share out the poems they created. I rate student product and performance using the Oral Presentation Rubric. Students were given this rubric prior to their presentations in order to prepare as needed. The class also gives feedback on student presentations for using the Acrostic Rubric as their guideline. I ask students for feedback and conduct various formative assessments to ascertain that my students are meeting the demands of common core. These are essential steps in teaching Common Core, as is demonstrating performance based tasks effectively.