Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Concrete Poetry

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

Interested in poetry?
Write a concrete (shape) poem in this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between.

concrete mouse poem 2

A. Introduction to Concrete Poems

Concrete poems are a special kind of poetry in which the words themselves make a shape! It’s fun, it looks neat, and most importantly, it makes the poem come alive to the reader in a unique way.

Here’s an old example of a concrete poem. It was written by George Herbert, who lived from 1593 to 1633 in Europe. If you turn it sideways, it looks like two sets of Angel Wings! 

Angel Wings

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
      Though foolishly he lost the same,
            Decaying more and more,
                  Till he became
                        Most poore:
                        With thee
                  O let me rise
            As larks, harmoniously,
      And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did beginne
      And still with sicknesses and shame.
            Thou didst so punish sinne,
                  That I became
                        Most thinne.
                        With thee
                  Let me combine,
            And feel thy victorie:
         For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

At the top of the page is a poem that I wrote when I was putting together this activity. It was inspired by a recent mouse incident we had in our basement!

See how it looks like a mouse? Sometimes you have to turn the paper to read all the way around a concrete poem!

B. Writing a concrete poem
Your turn!

1. Pick a simple shape. You can pick your own shape or print out one of these templates:
ball
star
butterfly (advanced)
paw print (advanced)

2. Write a poem about your shape on a separate piece of paper. Even though my poem rhymed, yours absolutely doesn’t need to. Just write words to describe your shape. 

3. Write your poem around the shape!

4. Would you like your concrete poem to be only words and no drawing marks? Here’s a mini-tutorial to help:
a. Trace your shape with a dark marker
b. Place a clean piece of white paper on top of your shape so the shape shows through
c. Write your poem on the white paper, using the shape underneath as a guide

Pleased with your poem? Snap a picture of it and share it in the comments or post it on my

Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Sonnets, Week 2

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Five Senses Poem

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

Interested in poetry?
Write a five senses poem in this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between.

prairie.jpg

Note: This activity is brought to you by my very own poetry-loving mother, Elizabeth Thomas. Thanks, Mom, for all the love, support, and creative input you’ve given me over the years!


A.  Observations using the five senses

  1. If you’re able, this is a great chance to grab a notebook and take your writing outside! If you’re unable to go outside, find a place in the house that’s fairly quiet. Write on your paper:I see
  2. Now look around you. Write down all the things you see, one on each line. Keep going for a few minutes or until you run out of things you see. Try to include as many details as you can. For example, instead of just saying, “My shirt,” describe the shirt. (example: My red shirt that says, “Peace.”)I’m doing this project on my couch after my kids are in bed so this is what my list looks like:

I see
A dusty lampshade
Red suede couch cushions
A grape juice spill on the wooden floor
A cowboy boot sitting on
A grey and turquoise rug
The bare feet of
My husband

  • When you’re finished writing down all the things you see, move on to what you hear. Skip a line and write on your paper:I hear

 

Write down all the things you hear, one on each line.

 

  • Keep going in this way with the other three senses, one sense at a time, making sure to skip a line after each sense.I feel

 

I taste

I smell

  • When you’re finished, take a 2 minute break to stretch your legs, jump up and down, or move inside to continue the activity.

 

B. Crafting Your 5 Senses Poem

Welcome back! Hope you had a nice little break.
Did you know you just wrote a poem???

Take a look at your paper.

  1. Each sense (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling) is like a little stanza, or group of lines.
  2. Give your poem a title! Name your poem based on your surroundings. So, if I were going to title mine at the moment, I would title it:After Bedtime Living Room
  3. The first word of your title should have a capital letter, as well as the larger words.  Smaller, more common words like the, and, in, a, and with don’t need to be capitalized.
  4. Write your title at the top of your page, before you wrote I see.
  5. Look at your poem and add any capital letters or punctuation in order for the poem to be a complete sentence.
    1. Note about capital letters: Traditionally, poems begin every line with a capital letter. Forward-thinking poets like E.E. Cummings challenged this and since your poem is already free-verse, not rhyming or following any kind of meter, you don’t have to capitalize if you don’t want to.
    2.  Make sure you add commas and periods as needed. You may also want to add the word “and” in order to complete the sentence. For example:After Bedtime Living Room
      I see
      a dusty lampshade,
      red suede couch cushions,
      grape juice spilled on the wooden floor,
      a cowboy boot laying on
      a grey and turquoise rug, and
      the bare feet of
      my husband.
       
  6. You’re finished! Read your poem aloud and enjoy it with a friend.
  7. Note: This week’s poem study is full of five-senses imagery.

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

 


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study:  Summer in the South by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Sonnets (Week 1 of 2)

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Limerick Fill-in-the-blank

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

Edward_Lear_A_Book_of_Nonsense_01
Edward Lear’s Illustration of his Old Man with a beard

Interested in poetry?
Construct a limerick in this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between.

A.  Introduction to Limericks
Have you ever read a limerick? They sound a little like this…

The Jibbericky
There once was a poem named Limerick,
Who thought everything was a gim-er-ick.
It started to giggle,
Which made the words jiggle,
And mixed them all up into jibberick.
~Hannah Spuler

(Written in complete and utter silliness three minutes ago. The birds in my back yard are wondering what’s so funny)

Limericks are (often) silly poems that follow a certain pattern of beats (stresses) and rhymes. If you’re looking for a poem to make people laugh, a limerick fits the bill. No one is quite sure where the limerick started, but Wikipedia.org seems to think it’s as old as the early 1700’s. Oh, and there’s also a town of Limerick in Ireland which seems to have nothing to do with the poem. (Didn’t you want to know that?)

B. Limerick Example

Here’s an example from Edward Lear, master of the limerick. He wrote a book called A Book of Nonsense that’s full of all kinds of silly… nonsense. (Hm! Imagine that.) His book was full of limericks, which is actually what made the limerick a popular form today.

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!–
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
~Edward Lear (Book of Nonsense, 1)


C. Fill-in-the-Blank!

Now it’s time to write your own Limerick! To make it easy for you, I’ve made a form so you can just fill in the blanks.

Details in case you get stuck:

  1. A limerick has 5 lines.
  2. The 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyme
  3. The 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines all have 3 beats and 7-9 syllables
  4. Need help understanding syllables? Think of how many times your chin drops when you say a word. Lim-er-ick has three syllables. Li-on has two. Cat has one. Still don’t understand? Ask an adult to help!
  5. The 3rd and 4th line rhyme
  6. The 3rd and 4th line have 2 beats and 5-7 syllables
  7. They’re as silly as you want them to be. So don’t get too caught up in the details!

Form poem: Limerick

  1. There once was a ____________ named __________
  2. Who wanted to ________________________.
  3. He/She/It (sat/stood/laid) on a _________________,
  4. And said, “What a ______________!”
  5. And then ___________________________________.

Still feeling stuck? Go back to the Edward Lear example and follow it as a model.

Note to parents: Limericks are fun for the whole family to write together! Small children like to come up with the character in the poem but might not be able to rhyme or do syllables on their own yet. That’s perfectly fine! Let them help as much as they’re able! By 4th or 5th grade many children will be able to contribute quite well.

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2

 

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Analyzing Poems

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

edit drops of water-815271_1920
Interested in poetry?
Analyze a poem using this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between.


A.  Introduction
Today we will dive a little deeper into the poetry pool. Sometimes poetry can be a little tricky to understand, but with the right tools, you can draw quite a bit of meaning off the page!


B. Read the poem aloud
Little Things

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.

Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Help to make earth happy
Like the heaven above.

~Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney


C. Respond
Write down or share aloud your response to the poem by answering these questions:

  1. Who or what is the poem about?
  2. Is the poem about something/someone real or pretend?
  3. What’s the mood of the poem? (Emotion: Funny, serious, silly, sad, excited, thoughtful, or something else)
  4. Does the poem rhyme?
  5. Does it have a steady meter? How many beats (stresses) per line? (See About Meter)
  6. How did the poem make you feel?
  7. Where is the truth in the poem? Is there anything that’s not true?
  8. What do you know about the person who wrote this poem? Where can you find out more?
  9. Would you recommend this poem to a friend?


C. Additional Poetry Challenge
Write your own version of the poem, replacing some of the words, or rewriting the whole thing but making it similar to its mood, meter, rhyme scheme, or subject.

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study:  The Arrow and the Song by Henry W. Longfellow

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks (Week 1 of 2)

 

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Acrostic Poem

Interested in poetry?
Write an acrostic poem using this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between!

 

A. Choose a word for your poem
Pick a word. It could be your name, but if your name is either super short or super long, you might want to choose a different word. For the sake of this example, I’ll choose my last name: Spuler

B. Write your word
Now write your word vertically (up and down) on your page, starting at the top and going down:

S
P
U
L
E
R

C. Write your poem!
Now think of words that start with the letter on each line. Try to use words that describe or relate to the word you chose. I chose my last name, so I’ll describe my family:

Spirited
Poetic
Unique
Loving
Expressive
Resourceful

D. Share your Poem in the comments or on my Facebook page, or…

E. Try this challenge!
Make an acrostic poem with the word SUNSHINE, except this time change the location of the words. For example….

                Simmering
              fUn
shines oN my face
      BurnS
              H
I
N
E

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study:  The Sun Has Set by Emily Jane Brontë, or Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Ballads

 

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Alliteration Poem

Interested in poetry?
Learn about alliteration using this poetry activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between!

sun
(photo credit: Hannah Spuler)

A. Introduction to Alliteration:
Have you ever tried to say a tongue-twister? Can you say this one?

She sells seashells by the seashore.

Think it’s difficult to say this singularly silly saying?

When two or more words start with the same letter or sound, it’s called an alliteration.
(I just adore amazing alliterations! Don’t you?)

Here are some more examples:

1. Alexander the armadillo ate absolutely amazing apples and ants.
2. Beehives buzz and babies blow bubbles.
3. Caroline cried because she couldn’t catch cantaloupes.
4. Daryl didn’t do anything daring, did he?

These are silly examples, but alliteration can also be used beautifully in poetry to make it sing.

B. A Sunny Alliteration Poem
Our activity today will use alliterations to write a poem about the sun.

  1. Write down all the words you can think of that have to do with the sun. For example:
    hot
    big
    shines
    beautiful
    etc.
    Bonus points if you think of “s” words!
  2. Now see if any of those sun words can be changed to a word that starts with “s.” For example, the word “hot” can become “simmering,” and the word “beautiful” can become “spectacular.” Change as many as you can without help.
  3. (optional) Now see if you can change even more by using a thesaurus!
    What’s a thesaurus?? A thesaurus is a big book full of words that helps you find a different word that means the same thing. If I wanted to find another word for hot, I would look it up in my thesaurus and I might find words like scorching, sizzling, or boiling. If you don’t have a thesaurus on your bookshelf, you can use an online thesaurus. Type in your word and see what you find!
    http://www.thesaurus.com/
  4. Okay, do you have your list of s words that have to do with the sun?
    It might look a little like this:


    hot               
    scorching, sizzling
    beautiful    spectacular, superb, stunning
    big               substantial

     

  5. Now we write the poem!
    A few notes:

    ~This poem doesn’t have to rhyme or have a meter. It can just be free-form (See my example if that didn’t make sense. Notice how my poem doesn’t rhyme?)

    ~In this kind of poem, the first word of each line does not have to be capitalized. Use capital letters the way you would use them in a normal sentence.

    ~Each line can have one word, or many words. Play with the spacing! You have complete freedom.

    ~Not every word has to begin with “s.” If you need a few extra words to tie it together, that’s okay!

     

  6. Below is an example of what your poem could look like. Mine is pretty short, having used a short word list, but feel free to make yours longer! You could make it silly, super simple, or more serious. Experiment with different groups of words too. The sky’s the limit!


Sun
Spectacular,
striking,
sizzling,
stunning,
shining on
my skin,
shining in
my soul—
sun.
~Hannah Spuler

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!

 

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study: Bear in There, by Shel Silverstein

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Ballads, (Week 1 of 2)

 

Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Fill-in-the-Blank Poem

Interested in poetry?
Combine rhyme and meter using this fill-in-the-blank poetry activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between!

fill in the blank poem

A. Review: Rhyme

Remember the lesson about rhyming?
These are examples of words that rhyme:

stop, hop, lop, plop

Need a refresher on rhyming? Click here.

B. Review: Meter

Remember the lesson about meter?
Here are two lines that have four beats, or stresses:

Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.

Need a refresher on meter? Click here.

C. Fill-in-the-blank poem

Below is a fill-in-the-blank poem where the basic idea and structure is there and you get to fill in the blanks! This poem has a strong meter as well as an AABB rhyme scheme (lines 1 and 2 rhyme with each other and lines 3 and 4 rhyme). If the word is at the end of the line, make sure you keep the rhyme scheme. Give it a try!

(Title)

My       (noun)       is/are cold
And my       (noun)       is/are old.
My       (noun)       is/are hot
But my       (noun)       is/are not.

My      (noun)       is/are blue,
My      (noun)       too,
But not my       (noun)     ,
Because it’s/they’re       (noun)        .

I have a       (noun)       
And he/she/it has a      (noun)      .
I/We        (verb)       outside
But I/we        (verb)       inside.

My      (noun)        is tall,
My      (noun)        is small,
And that is all,
My friend.

The End.

 

Simplified definitions:
Noun: a person, place, thing, or idea
Verb: an action word


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study: The Brook, by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Odes, Week 2