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.



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.




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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