Entries Tagged 'Poetry' ↓
April 9th, 2012 — Poetry
APRIL IS National Poetry Month. Here at In Our Write Minds, I’m posting a different poetry activity or tip list each week to help you incorporate more poetry into your homeschooling.
Pick one or two of these activities to do with your children to celebrate this special literary month. Together, discover the joy of poetry!
1. Write Magnetic Poems
Put up a magnet board (a cookie sheet works great) with magnetic words and encourage family members to create their own poems. Get them started by reading short poems together and posting some of them near the magnet board.
Check out these fun magnetic word kits:
2. Enter a Poetry Contest
Encourage your budding poets to enter a contest. Here are several to consider:
Warning: There are lots of poetry contests out there, but they’re not all worth entering. Steer clear of bad poetry contests!
3. Hit the Library
April 8-14, 2012 also happens to be National Library Week!
Check out several poetry anthologies from the library and keep them in a basket or on a shelf, along with pads of paper and pencils.
Encourage your children to read several poems each day, writing down the titles and authors of their favorites. When you return the anthologies, have each child check out a book of poems by just one author. For example, if your child wrote down a Shel Silverstein poem on her list, she may want to check out Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, or another book of poetry by Silverstein.
4. Host a Poetry Slam
A poetry slam is a competition where poets read or recite their original work. Host an open mic night or poetry slam where children are encouraged to share their own poems with family, friends, or your homeschool group. Enjoy homemade treats and present awards for “Most Original Poem,” “Best Use of Rhyme,” “Happiest Poem,” or “Best Alliteration.”
Give these a try! When you enjoy, share, and celebrate poetry, you begin building a lifelong appreciation for this well-loved genre.
Share one thing your family or classroom is doing to celebrate poetry this month.
April 2nd, 2012 — Poetry, Writing Lessons
APRIL IS National Poetry Month. In honor of the occasion, I thought it would be fun to introduce some new poetry activities!
Today, why not have your children write a “Never Poem”? With only a few simple rules to get them started, they should produce some gems in no time at all.
When your children write their poems, they will need to choose a consonant sound* to repeat using alliteration.
al·lit·er·a·tion is the repetition of an initial consonant sound.
Betty Botter bought some butter,
“But,” she said, “the butter’s bitter.”
To write your “Never Poem,” you will write one sentence for each of the following, repeating the ___* sound as frequently as possible.
- Something you would never eat.
- Something you would never wear.
- Something you would never buy.
- Something you would never do.
- Someplace you would never go.
- Something you would always like to think about.
- “And I promise you I will never …”
Once their poems are finished, invite them to choose some words from the poem and write a title.
Of Blue Biscuits and Bouncing Balls
I would never eat blue biscuits.
I would never wear a baggy beaded bonnet with brown buttons.
I would never buy a box of bumpy bowling balls.
I would never read a book about boat-building in Bulgaria.
I would never go to Brooklyn to get bologna.
I would always like to think about bouncing a rubber ball in the bathtub.
And I promise I will never let Bubba’s bunny eat barbecued beans for breakfast.
Poetry should be shared! I hope you’ll post your kids’ “Never Poems” in the comments.
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October 20th, 2011 — Poetry, Writing Games & Activities
Writing activity centers are a great way to reinforce the formal composition skills you’re teaching in your curriculum. They’ll give your kids more practice writing in a fun, relaxed setting. Here’s the second post in our four-part series.
Mold and sculpt figurines from modeling clay or dough. When they’re finished, write five words or phrases describing the figures.
Family Poetry Jam
Place books of poetry in a basket for examples and inspiration. Supply paper, pencils, and colored markers for your children to write poems about family members, topics of study, or any subject they wish. Use other poems as a guide or invent new formats. When finished, dim the lights, spread out comfortable pillows on the floor, and host a poetry reading. Serve milk and cookies!
[Kim says: Looking for a great poetry resource? The Random House Book of Poetry for Children has been our family's favorite. Compiled by Jack Prelutsky, this anthology is a delightful collection of both classic and contemporary poems children love. My own well loved copy has literally fallen apart!]
The Further Adventures of…
Collect a set of picture books with interesting, appealing characters. Read a book aloud, and then continue the story on paper, with additional adventures of a favorite character. Create imaginary illustrations and colorful covers for these new tales.
Order, Order, Please!
Provide envelopes of pre-written sentence strips, each envelope containing the lines of a familiar poem. Have the kids work together to read the sentences and figure out the correct sequence of each poem. Provide copies of the poems for the kids to check their efforts.
Each child writes sentences on construction paper. Using a variety of pasta shapes such as elbow macaroni, orzo, and linguini, have the kids glue on the “punctuation” where necessary. The children should incorporate all the punctuation marks they’ve been taught to this point: periods, question marks, commas, quotation marks, exclamation marks, and/or apostrophes.
How Do You Do It?
Ask your children to think of experiences they’ve had in which they’ve learned to do something all by themselves. Perhaps it was the first time they rode a bike without training wheels, learned to tie their shoes, or did the laundry on their own. Ask them to write a set of directions teaching someone else how to do this specific action. Illustrate the directions to provide more details. Then, have each child “teach” another child using his or her instructional page.
“I’m Thinking of…”
Each child writes a very specific description of an object nearby, whether in the living room, kitchen, etc., without actually naming the object itself. When finished, read the descriptions aloud and see who can identify the items described.
Related Post: Writing Activity Centers: Part 1, Writing Activity Centers: Part 3
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Janet Wagner is a regular contributor to In Our Write Minds. For over two decades, Janet was an elementary and middle school teacher in two Christian academies, a public district school, and a public charter school. She also had the honor of helping to homeschool her two nieces. Janet and her husband Dean live on the family farm in the Piedmont region of north central North Carolina. Currently, she enjoys a flexible life of homemaking, volunteering, reading, writing, tutoring students and training dogs, and learning how to build websites. You can view her web work-in-progress at www.creative-writing-ideas-and-activities.com.
April 11th, 2011 — Poetry, Writing Games & Activities
Sultry spring breezes drifted through the open windows, swaying the blinds, teasing our noses with the perfume of honeysuckle and wild roses. It was hard to maintain concentration on American constitutional history. Competing for attention, the open textbooks on our desks lost to the wide-open world outside.
“Hey, Mrs. Wagner! Can we go outdoors and play the “Looks Like” game?” one student pleaded. He was joined by a chorus of “Please?”
“Sounds good to me!” I don’t know of any human being immune to the southern springtime scent of honeysuckle and wild roses.
Playing the “Looks Like” Game
The “Looks Like” game was a favorite metaphor exercise. Kids played the game everywhere: on the bus, in the classroom, and always outdoors. A quick method of jumping into creative images, it freed imaginations even within my most self-proclaimed “unimaginative’ kids.
We grabbed notebooks and pens, scattering into small groups.
Clouds drifted, veiling the sun, then rolled on again. “The sun looks like a puppy wrestling with the laundry,” a child wrote.
Leaves rustled against an azure sky. Another student jotted, “The trees look like feather dusters, cleaning the clouds.”
Dogwood petals and honey locust blossoms scattered across the fields. “The blossoms look like sprinkled soap powder,” penned a young lady.
Back inside our classroom, the kids’ metaphors birthed the images of a new group poem:
The sun hides in a basket of clouds,
a puppy playing in the laundry.
Trees dust the sky,
sprinkling soap powder blossoms
over the earth’s green carpet.
As the kids demonstrated that day, we naturally see things metaphorically. We constantly compare the way one thing looks to another. Comparison is custom-built into our language. Writing a poem can be as simple as bringing images together through metaphor and simile.
Today with your children, grab pen and paper and play the “Looks Like” game.
What do you see around you? Focus on details and write down:
- I see __________
- It looks like __________
- I see __________
- It looks like __________
What shared poem will you and your kids write together today to mark a wonderful day of living? Post your poems here in our comment section!
You might also enjoy:
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Janet Wagner is a contributor to In Our Write Minds. For over two decades, Janet was an elementary and middle school teacher in two Christian academies, a public district school, and a public charter school. She also had the honor of helping to homeschool her two nieces. Janet and her husband Dean live on the family farm in the Piedmont region of north central North Carolina. Currently, she enjoys a flexible life of homemaking, volunteering, reading, writing, tutoring students and training dogs, and learning how to build websites. You can view her web work-in-progress at www.creative-writing-ideas-and-activities.com.
November 30th, 2010 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Poetry
Haiku poems may be short in length, but they’re long on vivid
description and imagery that make the most of every word.
Though there are variations, the typical haiku poem contains three lines with a specific syllabic pattern:
Line 1 = 5 syllables
Line 2 = 7 syllables
Line 3 = 5 syllables
For a special holiday twist on the traditional nature-themed haiku, invite your children to pattern a haiku poem after a Christmas carol. This can be challenging, making it a good activity for teens, but younger children might also enjoy giving it a try.
Since it’s rare for the lines of a carol to match the requirement of 5-7-5 syllables, they’ll need to do some creative rearranging of words and lines. Just make sure they stay true to the message of the original song.
Tips for Turning a Carol into a Haiku
Add or remove words to create an accurate syllable count.
O what Child is this (5)
On His mother’s lap, sleeping? (7)
He’s the King of Kings. (5)
Silent, holy night (5)
The Virgin Mother and Child (7)
Sleep in perfect peace. (5)
Hint: If the line has too many or too few syllables, find a synonym or replacement for one of the words. Sleep in heavenly peace contains 6 syllables, but by changing heavenly to perfect, the line now has 5 syllables. Sometimes a thesaurus will be useful in helping your child find an alternate word.
Swap the order of the lines.
Earth receives her King (5)
Ev’ry heart prepares Him room (7)
Joy to the world. Joy! (5)
Pick and choose lines from the carol.
Hark! The angels sing (5)
Glory to the newborn King (7)
Join in the triumph. (5)
Babe in a manger (5)
Jesus lay down His sweet head (7)
Asleep in the hay. (5)
Combine ideas from several lines of the carol.
Town of Bethlehem… (5)
Tonight, everlasting light (7)
Shines in your dark streets (5)
O red-nosed Rudolph (5)
It’s a foggy Christmas Eve (7)
Drive my sleigh tonight. (5)
Dashing through the snow (5)
In a one-horse open sleigh (7)
O’er the fields, laughing. (5)
Choose a lesser-known verse from the carol.
Come to Bethlehem (5)
Worship Christ on bended knee (7)
He whom angels laud. (5)
(based on “Angels We Have Heard on High”)
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Need some ideas to get you started? Ambleside Online’s Holiday Carol Book and Caroling Corner list dozens of popular (as well as lesser-known) Christmas songs, along with lyrics, to inspire your young poets.
Copyright 2010 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
May 4th, 2010 — Grammar & Spelling, Just for Fun, Poetry
The English Language
A pretty deer is dear to me,
A hare with downy hair;
A hart I love with all my heart,
But I can barely bear a bear.
‘Tis plain that no one takes a plane
To have a pair of pears.
All rays raise thyme, time razes all;
And through the whole, hole wears.
A writ, in writing “right” may write
It “wright” and still be wrong—
For “write” and “rite” are neither “right,”
And don’t to write belong.
Beer often brings a bier to man,
Coughing a coffin brings,
And too much ale will make us ail,
As well as other things.
The person lies who says he lies
When he is but reclining;
And, when consumptive folks decline,
They all decline declining.
A quail won’t quail before a storm—
A bough will bow before it;
We can not rein the rain at all—
No earthly power reigns o’er it.
The dyer dyes awhile, then dies;
To dye he’s always trying,
Until upon his dying-bed
He thinks no more of dyeing.
A son of Mars mars many a sun;
All days must have their days,
And every knight should pray each night
To Him who weighs his ways.
‘Tis meet that man should mete out meat
To feed misfortune’s son;
The fair should fare on love alone,
Else one can not be won.
The springs spring forth in Spring, and shoots
Shoot forward one and all;
Though Summer kills the flowers, it leaves
The leaves to fall in Fall.
I would a story here commence,
But you might think it stale;
So we’ll suppose that we have reached
The tail end of our tale.
From Eclectic Magazine, January 1881
. . . . .
The author of this poem uses many homophones to create plays on words. But if some of these homophones regularly give your children trouble, consider All About Homophones, a wonderful resource that clearly teaches homophone spelling rules with fun games and activities. Contains exercises for grades 1-8.
April 15th, 2010 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Poetry, Word Banks
by Karla Kuskin
I’m swinging through trees
I’m winging skyhigh
With the buzzing black bees.
I’m the sun
I’m the moon
I’m the dew on the rose.
I’m a rabbit
Is twitching his nose.
I’m kicking my heels.
I’m crying “Come Dance”
To the fresh water eels.
I’m racing through meadows
Without any coat
I’m a gamboling lamb
I’m a light leaping goat
I’m a bud
I’m a bloom
I’m a dove on the wing.
I’m running on rooftops
And welcoming spring!
From In the Middle of the Trees by Karla Kuskin.
Copyright © 1959, renewed 1986 by Karla Kuskin.
Spring is here, and I’m loving it! Every week brings something new to my garden: The grass is thickening and greening up. Our silver maples, usually waiting till May, are in full leaf—just behind the birch trees, fruitless mulberry, and white alders. Daisies, sweet alyssum, and vivid impatiens dance in pots on my porch and patio. A consortium of snails meets on the front walk every morning. And a good drenching rain each week is keeping everything blooming and blossoming.
A Spring Word Bank
There’s so much to write about in spring. Even if your children have been weakened by a bout of spring fever, a word list filled with fresh, cheerful spring vocabulary will help motivate them to describe the season in all its glory. If you’ve enjoyed our other seasonal word banks, you’ll love this one too!
spring, springtime, season, weather, March, April, May, galoshes, hat, jacket, rain boots, raincoat, slicker, umbrella, baseball, bike, kite, roller skates, sidewalk
Over in the Meadow
creek, gurgle, icy, pond, puddles, seep, splash, stream, trickle; copse, dale, earth, farm, field, furrow, garden, hill, loam, meadow, mud, mulch, ooze, orchard, row, soil, trees, vale, valley, woods; apple blossom, bulb, bud, cherry blossom, crocus, daffodil, daisy, flower, grass, grassy, iris, leaf, leaves, lily, maple, pansy, petals, plants, sap, sapling, seed, seedling, shoot, snowdrop, sweet pea, tulip, twig, violet; chard, lettuce, peas, fence, hoe, spade, watering can, wheelbarrow
Welcoming New Life
babies, baby, born, birth, new life, newborn, animals, birds, nature; downy, feathery, fluffy, gentle, soft, tender; bee, bluebird, bunny, butterfly, calf, caterpillar, chick, duck, duckling, eggs, fawn, finch, flock, foal, frog, hatchling, ladybug, lamb, polliwog, scarlet tanager, slug, snail, robin, tadpole, worm; barn, henhouse, nest
In Like a Lion, out Like a Lamb
airy, blow, breeze, bright, brilliant, brisk, cheerful, chilly, clean, clear, clouds, cool, drip, drizzle, fair, fresh, melt, new, rain, rainbow, showers, sky, sparkling, sunny, sunshine, thaw, verdant, vivid, warm, warming, wind, windy, blue, brown, green, pink, white, yellow
Feelin’ Like Frolicking
blooming, blossoming, bobbing, budding, building, buzzing, cavorting, chirping, darting, digging, dipping, diving, flapping, flourishing, flying, frolicking, gamboling, gardening, germinating, growing, hatching, hoeing, leafing, leaping, nesting, planting, playing, pruning, romping, running, scampering, singing, spading, sprouting, sugaring, swimming, teeming, tilling, waving, winging
Copyright 2010 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
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Share a comment: What does spring look like outside your window today? Pick 5-10 words from the Spring Word Bank that describe spring at your house, and list them in the Comments section.
March 30th, 2010 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Poetry
Spring is in the air—and it’s a great time to look for some fresh writing opportunities for your children. Considering my wacky schedule this week, I thought I’d visit the archives and find some creative writing ideas that will help you dispel spring fever. Give them a try!
New birth, fresh growth: springtime fairly explodes with life! Poetry is a perfect way to capture the fragrance, blossoms, showers, sunshine, and birdsong of the season. Visit these mini poetry lessons for some inspiration.
Brighten up your schooling: let your children dabble in these simple, creative, colorful writing exercises. You’ll love the results!
March 1st, 2010 — Poetry, Writing Lessons
Words Matter Week: Day 1
Every single day, almost without fail, the poetry lessons draw more folks to this blog than any other article (with the two most frequently accessed posts being Writing a Diamante Poem and Cinquain Poetry).
This inspired me to launch right into Words Matter Week by introducing a brand-new lesson: how to write haiku (and offer a fun contest too)!
What Is Haiku?
Japanese in origin, haiku is not based on rhyme, but on a pattern of syllables. At three lines long, haiku is a poem of economy. Traditionally, only 17 syllables are allowed, so a finished haiku may end up being just 12 or 13 words long.
By its nature, haiku is concrete and concise, capturing a single moment in a mere handful of words. It’s a tall order to write a poem full of rich imagery, paint a picture in the reader’s mind, and leave an impression on a heart or soul—and do so with so few words.
Every word counts, and that’s why—perhaps more than any other poetry genre—haiku is especially fitting for Words Matter Week.
Writing Haiku Poetry: An Experience with Nature
Choosing a Subject for Your Poem
Haiku poems celebrate appreciation for beauty and nature. Plants, animals, water, weather, and seasons are often subjects of haiku. Powerful yet sensitive, these poems communicate a mood or tone without actually using words to describe feelings.
Red and gold poppies
explode with fresh spring colors,
invading my yard.
Notice how this haiku expresses a crisp, springy, bright feeling. You can picture a tired winter garden coming to life. The words never actually say, “After a cold, colorless winter, I am so happy and cheered to see flowers again!” Yet this is the message the poem brings.
In the darkest wood
with heads hanging mournfully,
weeping willows cry.
This poem gives a feeling of sadness, even though the words don’t tell you how the poet feels, or how you should feel. Notice how personification helps to communicate this tone. When writing haiku poetry, think about the emotions you want your reader to experience. Paint a picture with your words to express a mood.
Formatting Your Haiku Poem
Some poetry forms require the writer to follow a certain format, or structure. You may remember that cinquains and diamantes, for example, call for you to use an exact number of words within an exact number of lines. Haiku, on the other hand, requires you to carefully count syllables instead of words. This form of poetry always uses 3 lines and 17 syllables.
Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables
When counting out syllables, listen to the beat within a word, silently tapping it out on the table. Usually, a syllable is marked by a vowel sound. “Butterfly” has three syllables (but/ter/fly). The word “cocoon” contains two syllables (co/coon). The word “exuberantly” has five (ex/u/ber/ant/ly). “Flight” has only one (flight).
Because your entire poem is only 17 syllables, every single word must be carefully chosen to say exactly what you want to communicate. Rely heavily on a good thesaurus for terrific, specific words! Your thesaurus will also be useful when you need to find a synonym of more or fewer syllables that will fit better on a line of your poem.
What to Do if a Line Contains Too Few or Too Many Syllables
> Leave out or add articles (a, an, the) to shorten or lengthen the number of syllables. Example: a six-syllable line must be shortened to five syllables.
A/ small/ frog/ trills/ loudly = 6 syllables
Small/ frog/ trills/ loud/ly = 5 syllables (drop the “a”)
> Use your thesaurus to find a similar word that will fit.
Suppose your haiku looks like this:
Thunder clouds follow me (6)
booming from behind (5)
the sky is so mad. (5)
Do you see how each line has too many or too few syllables? Let’s look at them one at a time.
Example: the first line of a haiku poem must be 5 syllables long.
Thun/der/ clouds/ fol/low/ me = 6 syllables (it’s too long – you need 5 syllables)
Now, look up follow in the thesaurus. Can you find a one-syllable word that will fit? (chase)
Thun/der/ clouds/ chase/ me = 5 syllables (this will work)
> Look for a word to drop.
Thun/der/ clouds/ fol/low = 5 syllables (just drop the “me”)
> Find a different way to say a similar thing. Often your thesaurus will help, but sometimes you just need to think! How can you express the same message while adjusting the number of syllables?
Example 1: The second line must be 7 syllables.
boom/ing/ from/ be/hind = 5 syllables (it’s too short – needs 7 syllables)
bel/low/ing/ from/ a/ dis/tance = 7 syllables (use longer words)
Example 2: The third line must be 5 syllables.
the/ sky/ is/ so/ mad = 5 syllables
The number of syllables is correct—so what’s wrong with this line? Remember that you want to avoid “to be” words such as is, and empty words such as so:
the/ an/gry/ sky/ shouts = 5 syllables, OR
the/ black/ sky/ threat/ens = 5 syllables
While still expressing a “mad” feeling, these lines use more specific words that paint a fuller picture. Show, don’t tell.
OK, here’s the finished haiku poem:
Thunder clouds chase me (5)
bellowing from a distance (7)
the angry sky shouts. (5)
Should haiku have a title? Typically not. If you think it needs a title to better explain the poem, do your best to work the title into the poem by removing and replacing words. Use your new syllable skills to help when writing haiku poetry.
Happy Words Matter Week . . . and happy writing!
Copyright © 2010 Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
A Haiku Contest for Words Matter Week!
Now it’s time for your children to write some haiku! Everyone who posts a haiku poem in the comments before March 7, 2010 will be entered in a contest. One winner will be chosen randomly to win your choice of a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card or a $20 WriteShop gift certificate.
Only one entry per person is allowed, so pick your best poem.
Your haiku must be formatted properly in order to qualify for a prize.
This contest has ended.
February 2nd, 2010 — Poetry, Resources & Links, Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing Games & Activities
Math poetry—who would have thought?
I’ve always been a big fan of writing across the curriculum. After all, it just makes sense to tie writing into as many subjects as possible. Why separate the two when they’re so much happier married?
It was’t hard to assign related writing when studying history, art, geography, Bible, or literature, though I must confess that dovetailing math and writing was a stretch for us. (I did sometimes have the kids write their own word problems. That counts, right?)
My new friend Jimmie at Jimmie’s Collage took up Math Mama’s challenge to write a poem that puts a positive spin on math. I think it’s a brilliant idea, and both she and her daughter Sprite wrote some very creative math poems. Here’s one by Sprite. Isn’t it clever?
Untitled, by Sprite
Dividing is divine,
And four plus five is nine.
Adding is just fine,
Four plus five is nine.
Negative and positive are always great.
But four plus six is is not eight.
There are no prizes involved, and no deadline, so why not plan a time to squeeze this activity into your homeschooling—and join Math Mama’s challenge. And if you’d like to share your poems here as well, you know I’d just love to see ‘em!
Meanwhile, you can visit a page filled with fun number poems you’re sure to enjoy. Here’s the first one to whet your appetite!
Penny, penny, easy spent,
Copper brown and worth one cent.
Nickel, nickel, thick and fat,
You’re worth 5. I know that.
Dime, dime, little and thin,
I remember—you’re worth 10.
Quarter, quarter, big and bold,
You’re worth 25, I am told.
Half a dollar, half a dollar, giant size.
50 cents to buy some fries.
Dollar, dollar, green and long,
With 100 cents you can’t go wrong.
Edit: Jimmie duly chastised me, wondering why I wasn’t writing math poetry. So I too am rising to the challenge! Here’s my humble offering.
Of Sides and Angles
Geometry, ordered and tidy,
Pyramid, circle, and locus;
Precision of sides and of angles,
A midpoint that keeps me in focus.
Symmetry, area, compass,
Diameter bisects a chord;
Distance, dimension, and drawing,
You see why I never get bored.
Parallel planes and perspective,
The measure and tilt of a line;
Volume and ratio and surface,
Geometry suits me just fine.