April 12, 2016

Friday, November 5, 2010

Concrete Poetry Friday

This Poetry Friday, I am making Poetry Pops with third graders at Fort Garrison Elementary in the Baltimore suburbs.

It's the beginning of the year, and these are emerging writers. The teachers and I work together to create poetry workshops that have a heavy dose of fun.

I hope you have a chance to try this concrete poetry lesson -- which teaches simile, creative thinking, and form -- with your students.

crayons, heavy white paper cut in large (4-5" diameter) circles, large popsicle sticks, swirly lollipop(s) (optional), sample craft.

I bought my lollipops online from Lollies Galore.

Ahead of time:
Make enough "pops" for each student. I used two of the paper circles and hot-glued the popsicle stick between layers to form the lollipops.


1)  Define concrete poetry together.

2)  Read and look at concrete poems from Betsy Franco's A Curious Collection of Cats.

Two of my favorite poems from the book are "Rascal's Tongue" . . .

Rascal's Tongue

by Betsy Franco

If you've
ever attempted to lick your neck clean,
I think you'll understand what I mean
When I say my cat's tongue is especially long.
Go ahead. Lick your neck. Prove me wrong!

and "Limerick on a Leash."

Ask students what they think the shape of the poems add to the words.

They'll probably notice that you have to move your head and neck to read, "Rascal's Tongue," just as the cat in the picture is doing. Did you have to twist the book to follow Miss Boo's twisted leash?

Betsy Franco owns all rights to these poems. Thanks to Betsy for giving me permission to post these pages from her book today. 

3)  Show students the sample craft.

If you have real lollipop -- oh, joy! -- let students examine them using all 5 senses. What colors do they see? What do they think those colors taste like?

4)  Discuss similes.

If students haven't encountered similes before, we usually talk about looking for shapes in the clouds. That's making similes!

5)  Writing challenge: For each color, think of a simile that isn't a food.

Writing Steps
  • Write down a simile for each color on the pop.
  • Using crayons, write your poem in swirls on your Poetry Pop (match color to the color you are describing).
  • Color the back of your pop, or create another poem for the second side.
Here is the Poetry Pop poem I wrote:

Poetry Pop

By Laura Shovan

Red like a cardinal looping through the sunny blue sky.
Yellow as a daffodil's curly edges in a colorful garden.
Blue as waves crashing over a rainbow surfboard.
Green like the  fat blades of grass I use to whistle.
Orange as a tabby cat's curved tail.
White as swirls of frost on my winter window.

and the finished Poetry Pops look like this:

(P.S. They make great fans on a hot day.)

Our Poetry Friday host is the gang at Teaching Authors. Stop by for more tasty poetry posts.


Mary Lee said...

Great lesson! Simply yummy! I didn't guess what kind of poetry would be on the lollipops, but I LOVE the similes! We'll be doing this in my classroom!!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Mary Lee. I'd love to see what your students come up with. Glad you can use the lesson.

Thanks, Toby. You're going to love Betsy's book. It's sensory friendly -- bright and fun.

Tabatha said...

Very beginner-friendly lesson, Laura! The pops look great. Thanks for the introduction to Betsy's book. I like the way the words and art work together.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Great lesson! I can just see these poetry pops hanging from the ceiling, swirling in the breeze and inviting more sweet thoughts.

jama said...

Your Poetry Pops lesson is a gem! Now, why didn't any of my teachers think to introduce poetry to us this way?

JoAnn Early Macken said...

What fun!

Author Amok said...

Tabatha -- I work with a lot of third graders. For many, this is their first encounter with simile (even though they use them often). It's good to focus on *one* skill.

Andi, the classroom teachers are putting the pops we made today in the school hallway. I'll post some of the kids' creative similes on Facebook later today.

laurasalas said...

Fun! What a great idea!

Amy L V said...

I love the idea of comparing a simile to the way we see pictures in clouds! And thank you for the reminder to buy this, thanks to you, I'm off to raid the Halloween candy! A.