A professor in college once explained poetry as “language distilled,” which is a great way to think about it because often times, it really is just the most important parts of language written with extra detail and description. In this writing unit, students will be exposed to different types of poetry and will be asked to write their own versions of each. At the end of the unit, their rough drafts will be published in a special collection of poems that they will share with parents during our culminating event, the Poetry Café.
At the beginning of the unit, I give students a rough draft booklet, which contains a page for each type of poetry, along with its definition, and space to practice their own examples. I will ask them to have this booklet with them for each lesson.
I begin this lesson by showing students examples of Acrostic poems and asking them what they notice. I lead a discussion that allows them to come to the conclusion of what Acrostic poetry should be. Then, I share with them that the definition for Acrostic is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, name, or phrase when read vertically. In our Acrostic poems, they will be using their own names to describe people and I would like them to incorporate similes. I model an example for them:
M – merry, like a smile that never stops
E – energetic, like a luminous lightbulb
L – loving, like a mama bear caring for her cubs
O – optimistic, like a child waiting for Christmas morning
D – determined, like a runner in an Olympic race
Y – youthful, like a kid at heart
As today’s assignment, I ask kids to write two Acrostic poems that they will be able to choose from for the final draft later in the unit. Most kids will choose to write one about themselves and one about a best friend or family member. I remind them that I will choose a few students to share so that they make sure to complete their task.
Transition Time: Every day after the mini-lesson, students get 5 minutes of Prep Time to gather materials, find a comfy spot, use the bathroom, and anything else they might need to do to prepare for 30 minutes of uninterrupted Independent Writing.
Guided Practice: Today, I would be calling writing groups to monitor their progress with the task, help students that are struggling, and allowing students to share their favorite parts with the group. This is also when I could find some strong examples that I will ask the authors to share during our lesson closing. The closing is the last five minutes of our Writer’s Workshop time, where we come back together to reinforce the day’s lesson and share some solid examples of the task.