Give me Five

In Mrs Graham’s class, as part of the writing programme, we explored Shape Poems and Cinquains, over a three week period, culminating in the children writing poems to honour Armistice Day. The armistice poems were to be displayed within a wreath of poppies, crafted by the children.

What was the expected learning?

  • To write Shape poems that take on the shape of the object being written about. e.g. trees.
  • To write poems that did not need to rhyme
  • To understand that deep emotion can be expressed through poetry.

How did the learning occur?

Week 1:

The class observed trees of different species all around the school. Oaks, plane trees, cherry blossom trees. The class discussion then produced a large bank of adjectives and verbs and ideas about trees.

The children incorporated these into their own Shape Poems.

Week 2:

Favourite Puddings was the focus for the second week and the Cinquain was introduced to the children. Very much like the shape poem, the cinquain had only 5 lines and the children learnt that cinque means 5 and quain means line in french.

What happened in the end?

  • The class worked very hard indeed and wrote some fine cinquain and shape poems.
  • Through this poetry focus, they developed an awareness of metre, a more sophisticated bank of descriptive words and began to grasp that successful writing can be short and succinct.
  • The children also saw that poetry could be quickly crafted and fun to do.

I asked Nick at the end of the first poetry session what he thought we were all working on.

We are learning a pattern for how to write poetry. The tree poems look like a tree. The cinquain

has 5 lines.

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I asked Brooke what she had learnt about poetry today at writing time.

I looked at trees and wrote poems in a tree shape. We used words like glistening, swaying, proud.

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The poets in Mrs Graham's class wrote meaningful, descriptive poems drawing on their school environment for inspiration. They developed their own writing voice in a succinct, descriptive cinquain.

Keywords : Poetry, Metre, Descriptive writing, Cinquain,

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