I created this unit for a group of students who needed extra practice with fluency and a beginner’s understanding of poetry. Each day provided a quick lesson on one characteristic or type of figurative language, multiple readings of a short poem, and practice using the term of the day. The unit was designed to take no more than thirty minutes per lesson and lasted three weeks in my classroom.
Due to copyright issues, I could not include the actual poems used each day. However, because the terms being used are universal, fitting poems shouldn’t be too difficult to find! All of the poems I used came from one of two sources:
- The Big Book of Classroom Poems [Hollenbeck, K (2004). The big book of classroom poems. Scholastic Press: New York, NY.].
I tell students that our word of the day is ‘idiom’ and explain that idioms are sayings that have been around for years. Someone, somewhere said each and they somehow stuck! As we go through the lesson, I think you’ll recognize several that you’ve heard many times before and maybe have wondered exactly what they meant!
I ask students to open their poetry packets to page seventeen. I repeat that our term today is hyperbole and explain its definition. Students turn to their partners and do the same – stating the term of the day and telling its definition. I read the page aloud until I come to the example, which we read together.
I point their attention to the poem of the day. I’ve chosen the poem, “Raining,” and we jump right into our first reading. Afterwards, we spend a few moments talking about the examples of hyperboles in the poem. Students underline, label, and then record in their packets. Then partners spend the next few moments reading the poem together. If time, they switch partners at their table and practice with someone new.
I explain that we zipped through the first part of our lesson so that we would have a few extra minutes for our practice. I explained that we would make an idiom alphabet books along with a few students from another class. I held a stack of twenty-six index cards each with an idiom that started with a different letter of the alphabet on the front and definition on the back. As I walked the room, I asked students to each pick a card, read their idioms, and then its definitions. After a few moments, I explained that they were responsible for coming up with a way to use their idiom. They would each write at least three sentences with one containing the actual idiom. The other two (or more) would support that sentence and provide details to help explain the idiom’s meaning. When they were finished, they would illustrate their idiom with clear details.
Students share their work with someone in the room they have not worked with yet. They take turns telling their partners the term of the day, their understanding of its definition, and the work they completed during the practice activity.