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.


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

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Sonnets

Let’s write some poetry!

The next two Tuesdays we’ll be learning about sonnets!

edit summer pretty-woman-1509956_1920 (1)

A. Introduction to Sonnets:
Why on earth would you want to write a sonnet?

I’m so glad you asked! It’s easy to hear the word “sonnet” and the phrase “iambic pentameter” and be thoroughly unimpressed. So here’s a list of why sonnets are a fantastic poetry form:

       Why sonnets?

  1. Because Shakespeare. Shakespeare wrote pages and pages of sonnets, all in this magical meter called iambic pentameter (which I’ll explain later). Shakespeare, who wrote bucket-loads of plays, knocking the socks off theater-goers in England in the 15-1600’s, is still entertaining us today even after his death (although I’ll keep my socks if-you-don’t-mind).
  2. Because writing sonnets will help us appreciate sonnets. There are countless sonnets out there to enjoy. They also connect us to poets of the past and help us recognize the nuances of their creativity.
  3. Sonnets are like a puzzle to solve. They are the poetry version of  a crossword puzzle or a word search, except that you get to express yourself as you try to find just the right words that fit.
  4. They’re fun! You’ll have to experience this one for yourself. So, are you ready to dive in?!

B. Sonnet Example

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed;
But they eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st:
    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
~William Shakespeare

C. About Sonnets

Note to Beginners: I recommend starting with “What is a sonnet” below. The goal is fun exposure to poetry and a chance to practice writing. Once you’ve got that first set down, try the next section!

As I explain all the parts of a sonnet, look at the example above to help you process.

What is a sonnet?

  1. Sonnet means “little song.”
  2. A sonnet has exactly 14 lines.
  3. For simplicity sake, we’ll divide our sonnet into four groups, or stanzas:
    1. Four lines
    2. Four lines
    3. Four lines and
    4. Two lines.
  4. The example below is actually in one big stanza, which is the way William Shakespeare wrote. (It’s actually called a Shakespearian Sonnet. Hmm, wonder where it got that name!) Since we’re beginners, breaking up the stanzas will make it easier.
  5. Sonnets have a rhyming scheme. Within each stanza…
    ~The 1st and 3rd lines rhyme and
    ~the 2nd and 4th rhyme.
    ~The last two lines in the whole sonnet also rhyme.
  6. This rhyme scheme is often expressed this way:
    1. ABAB
    2. CDCD
    3. EFEF
    4. GG

(Are you lost yet? If it’s really confusing, this Youtube video I found explains it pretty well.)

What is a sonnet (part 2)?

  1. Many sonnets are written in something called iambic pentameter.
  2. Iambic words have a short sound followed by a stressed one.
    For example:
    exIST, beLONG, preDICT, aWAY, aBOVE.
  3. A group of words can be iambic as well:
    the ONE, we PLAYED, you KNOW.
  4. From our example:
    “Rough WINDS do SHAKE…” and
    “SomeTIMES too HOT
  5. Pentameter means 10 syllables per line. Every single time.
  6. (What’s a syllable? A syllable is a whole sound within a word. The word “Cat” has one syllable. Apple has two: “Ap-ple”. “Pine-ap-ple” has three! You can usually tell how many syllables a word has by how many time your chin drops when you say it!)
  7. Look at this line and count to ten: Shall I com-pare thee to a sum-mer’s day?
  8. Try reading through the poem and counting the syllables! Each line has 10.

D. Write your sonnet
Do you feel ready to write your own sonnet? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try four lines and then take a break. You can pick it back up after the break and write the next one!

Pleased with your poem? Share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!

Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Five Senses Poem

Poem Study:  Summer in the South by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Fun List Mondays

What are Three Smells You Like (And Two You Don’t)?

Fun List Monday, August 13

Ahhh, what is that heavenly smell? It must be the chicken I put in the crock pot, or the apple crisp in the oven. Maybe it’s freshly picked flowers or the breeze after a storm. What smells do you enjoy?


Write a list with me! Every Monday I will post a fun list. Fill out your list and enjoy it by yourself, share it on my Facebook page, in the comments or on Twitter (with the hashtag #FunListMondays). Not convinced? Read about how lists encourage better writing here.

Like this activity? See other Fun List Mondays here.

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’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

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2

Let’s write some poetry!

Edward Lear’s Young Lady in White

The next two Tuesdays we’ll put on our creative caps and write some Limericks!

A. Introduction to Limericks
What’s a limerick? They sound a little like this …

Let’s all try to write a new limerick.
I bet you can all learn it really quick!
Just try to engage
As you read down this page
And soon you’ll be writing them— pretty slick!

B. About Limericks
Here are some facts about limericks:

  1. A limerick has 5 lines.
  2. Limericks rhyme:
    The last words of lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme
    The last words of lines 3 and 4 rhyme
  3. They have set syllables:
    Lines 1, 2, and 5 have 7-9 syllables
    Lines 3 and 4 have 5-7 syllables
  4. Fun fact: There’s a town in Ireland named Limerick that probably has nothing to do with the poems
  5. They’re usually kind of silly and often start with “There once was a…”
  6. Edward Lear made them popular in his book: A Book of Nonsense

C. Limerick Examples

There was a young lady in white,
Who looked out at the depths of the night;
But the birds of the air,
Filled her heart with despair,
And oppressed that young lady in white.
~Edward Lear

There was an old person of Brill,
Who purchased a shirt with a frill;
But they said, ‘Don’t you wish,
You mayn’t look like a fish,
You obsequious ol person of Brill?’
~Edward Lear

Hickory dickory dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
And down he run.
Hickory dickory dock.

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

D. Write your own Limerick
Feel ready to write your own limerick? Great! Follow the guidelines above and see what you can create! 

Happy with your poem? Remember to share it on my Facebook page or in the comments!


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poetry Activity (for kids, adults, and everyone in between): Limerick fill-in-the-blank

Poem Study The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Furry Thursday

Fluffy Thursday

Can you guess the animal based on the clues?
Smash up science and English parts of speech together with this guessing game!

adjectives: fluffy, “wise”, unintelligent, nocturnal, regal, brown or white or black, feathery, stealthy
verbs: hoot, hunt, screech, stare, dive, swoop
nouns: wings, beaks, talons
biomes: Deciduous Forests, Conifer Forests

Think you know which animal?
Click here for the answer!

Simplified definitions:
Adjective: a describing word, placed before a noun (or pronoun)
a person, place, thing, or idea
an action word
the type of environment where living things make their homes, a habitat (ex: desert, rainforest, tundra)
eats both plants and meat

fluffy thursday

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)