Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Has Sprung: Poetry in Elementary

Hi friends!  I am really excited to be taking part in this poetry blog hop

Now, I must confess that I didn't really do much with poetry until last year.  I decided to create a lesson on syllables to go along with my Earth Day unit, and from there, I decided to have my first graders create a haiku about the Earth.  Pretty ambitious plan for first grade, wouldn't you say?

In case you don't know, or have forgotten, a haiku is a traditional Japanese poem made up of 17 syllables, written in a 5-7-5 format, so the first line is 5 syllables, the second line is 7 syllables, and the third line is 5 syllables.  I've read that modern haiku is moving away from that format of 5,7,5 as long as there are 17 syllables, but I chose to keep it because I wanted to integrate the concept of counting syllables in each line.  

I began with reminding the children what syllables were, and how now that we were becoming better readers, we would be challenged with longer words.  Longer words are made up of smaller parts called syllables, parts of words.  We practiced by clapping and counting the syllables in our names.  Then I gave them white boards, and posted one word at a time in my  pocket chart.  The children clapped and counted the syllables on their own, and I could quickly scan their answers to see if they were understanding the idea of syllables. I also had them insert the slash where they thought one syllable ended and the next began, but that wasn't the main focus of the lesson.  Mostly I was concerned with their ability to count the number of syllables.

garbage = 2 syllables
rainforest = 3 syllables

The next day, after a quick review of syllables, it was time to try to write a haiku about the Earth or Earth Day.  I wasn't sure if  they would be able to count syllables and create the haiku, so I started with having them write a rough draft on scrap paper.  Then they brought it back to me, and together we counted the out the syllables in each line, making sure it followed the 5-7-5 pattern. Once we had the haiku organized , I gave them the paper to write out their haiku in their best printing.

After that, I gave them the pieces to create their haiku craftivity.  
click the image above to see the unit in my TpT store

The finished poems and craftivities came out really, really cute.  I was very pleased with their first attempts at writing poetry in the form of haiku.  I wish I would have thought to take pictures of their finished projects last year, but you can be sure I will this year!  

I also included an acrostic poem in this packet that you could use instead of the haiku. The download also includes the pieces, minus the face, to make the craft.  You can ask your kids to draw the face.  If you would like to get a download of the acrostic poem page, you can click on the picture below.
click the picture above to download your acrostic poem template.  

To read from other fabulous bloggers on their ideas for poetry in the classroom, and other great freebies and giveaways, hop onto the next blog,  , by clicking on the hop over to the next stop button!

Happy poetry month, everyone!  May your meters be measured and your syllables count out perfectly, and may you always find a rhyme in time!


  1. Your earth day packet looks great! I love poetry and craftivities!!! What a great combo!

  2. I love having the students create different forms of poetry throughout the month of April.

    1. I'm trying to expand my bag of poetry activities. Who knows, maybe a future resource?!

  3. Lots of acrostic poems for new vocabulary. Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  4. I've never thought to use acrostic poems that way. Great idea.

  5. I love the idea of haiku = syllables practice. Great ideas!

  6. Thanks Rebecca, and thanks for hosting the linky. I can't wait to hop through and see everyone's ideas.

  7. Thanks. I really enjoyed your post. Love the haiku.

  8. I like to read Love That Dog. Thanks for the giveaway :)


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