Nostalgic Poetry Lesson

With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, I’ve begun the related lessons in class. Last year I taught my middle school kids how to make simple cards, so this year I decided to level up! In a semi-frantic search online this weekend, I scoured through links for good Valentine’s Day events, and eventually I came across one about cinquain poems. While the lesson is, I believe, originally intended for native speakers, cinquain poems are easy enough even for my first-year students. I remember writing cinquains in elementary school, and my fourth grade class magazine (of which I have two copies) holds over twenty – at least one from each student. So, with a simple enough explanation and the teachers there to translate, why not give it a go?

For those who may not know what cinquain poems are or who, like me, forgot their structure, it’s really simple, and you could write one in a couple of minutes. There are five lines, and they contain:

1. noun
2. two adjectives describing the noun
3. three words ending in -ing that describe the noun
4. a short phrase that describes the noun
5. a single word that is a synonym for the noun

In the end, it makes a diamond shape, like this:

delicious, chewy
baking, eating, smiling
my favorite dessert

Simple, see? I made that up about as fast as I could type (which, I like to think, is relatively quickly). My kids simply needed to choose a noun, of which I suggested many, from family to animals to sports, then describe them as they liked. I suggested words for lines two and three, since the third line is particularly challenging.

Most kids ended up writing about their friend, and a lot of first-year boys wrote about their baseball team, but a few wrote about chocolate or fishing. The ones I saw were nice to read, and any drawings accompanying them were amazing. For your viewing pleasure, I end this post with pictures of my own cinquains.

Mata, ne!


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