April 12, 2016

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Onomatopoeia Lesson Part 1

Boom! Crash!

Look out, readers. The Manor Woods Third Graders have more ear-splitting onomatopoeia poems to share with you today.

Diane Mayr is hosting all
of the Poetry Friday links
at Random Noodling.
Stop by for book reviews,
original verses, favorite
poems, and more.

After last week's Halloween sound poems, many of you asked about the onomatopoeia lesson that I use in elementary schools. For Poetry Friday, I'm sharing Part 1 of the workshop, along with some sample responses. Next week, I'll post Part 2. Feel free to use or adapt this lesson plan for your classroom.

Onomatopoeia is a great way to start a residency or poetry unit with emerging writers.

1. I write the word "Onomatopoeia" on the board with great flourish.

This, everyone, is exciting. Onomatopoeia is a long word. It's a cool word. A mysterious word. Plus, it's fun to say. (The whole class says "onomatopoeia!")

2. Rather than defining "onomatopoeia" for the students, I help them to figure the meaning out themselves. I begin filling the board with words:





3. After just a few of these words, the students are starting to get the idea. Now we have something to discuss. 

Onomatopoeia has to do with sound. Some may notice that most of the words on the board are one syllable. They have a few words to add to the list: pop, stomp, shush, splash. But it's still not easy to come up with a definition.

What if I say, "Loud and quiet are not onomatopoeia words"? Hmm. Those words are about sound. So why aren't they onomatopoeia words? The light bulbs are really flashing on now. Oh -- onomatopoeia words make a sound.

4. Yes! Now I can integrate everyone's ideas and share a definition. Onomatopoeia words sound like, or mimic, the sounds they are describing. It's pretty cool to look at a word such as "Moo" and realize the cow sound came first and people created a word from it.

In the next post, I'll take you through a poem walk with the model poem for this lesson, Eve Merriam's "Weather." Until then, let's enjoy some onomatopoeia poems from the Manor Woods third grade poets.

Here's one last Halloween poem for those of you still enjoying your candy haul.

One Piece
by Nora E.

One piece
of candy and a boo.
A wolf in the woods
and a crunch munch
on candy. A funny
or scary costume.
A meow from a cat.
Laugh from a witch.
The wind goes by.
An owl's hoo.
Hoo! Hoo!
A stomp, stomp, stomp
and a trick or treat.

The next poem tells the story of a typical school morning through the sounds our poet, Chimee, hears.

Rolling Away
by Chimee E.

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
Hop down from the bed.

Brush! Brush! Swish! Swish!
Teeth are sparkly white.

Drop drip, drop drip.
Step into the shower.

Wipe dry. Wipe dry.
Pull on your clothing.

Tie tie, tie tie.
Shoes are tied well.

Munch, crunch, much.
Needs more milk.

Sip, sip, sip.
Taste the orange juice.

Open, close.
Chilly fall air.

Vroom! Vroom!
The bus is coming near.

Sniff! Sniff!
Smell the gasoline.

Clop! Cop!
Walk to the seat.

Rumble! Rumble!
We're rolling away.

In the last poem for today, Nathan takes us to a very noisy place -- a construction site.

Big Machine
by Nathan Z.

Boom! Crash!
Hammer strike. Hammer strike.
Looking out, a mess.
Ready for lunch!
Tires are rolling.
Lots of wet concrete.
Splat, sploot, spleet.
A big machine goes by.
Cranes are everywhere.
So much wood.
A brand new area is born.

Thanks to the awesome educators (seriously, they are a joy to work with) at Manor Woods. And a special thanks to the PTA and the Howard County Arts Council for sponsoring our poetry residency.

Parents and poets -- I love being able to share your poems. Thanks to all of you for giving me permission to post your work today.


Diane Mayr said...

Thanks for sharing your lesson, Laura. It's great that you're able to visit the schools and work directly with kids.

By the way, have a Pantone 211 type of day!

Carol Varsalona said...

Laura, I enjoyed your lesson on my favorite childhood word, onomatopoeia. Providing the students with entry into the lesson via sound words was an excellent approach. Student discovery is so important rather than a teacher-directed lesson. Thank you for your insight. Now a question. Is there a sound poem written by a 3rd grader that would fit in the Finding Fall Gallery? Would you or the teacher be interested in writing for the gallery and submitting one of the student pieces? (Info at Thank you.

Linda B said...

Love hearing how you approach the lesson, your poem & theirs too, Laura. "Splat, sploot, spleet" is terrific! Did you know you can learn to spell onomatopoeia by singing Old McDonald? Thought you'd enjoy that perhaps to use with your lessons!

jama said...

I'm also enamored with "splat, sploot, spleet." :)

Fun hearing about your lesson and reading more student poems.

Doraine said...

It's always fun to see how you approach a class with your lessons. Thanks for sharing. Great job by these students, too.

Sheri Doyle said...

'Sounds' like the poets had as much fun writing these poems as I did reading them. Great job!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Thanks for recreating your blogger-eaten post, Laura; thanks for the cow serenade; and thanks for sharing these fabuloso student poems! I can always count on you for some fine poetry instructional entertainment!

Tara said...

Such fun to see what your students could do with your lesson, Laura - they ran with the notion!

Donna Smith said...

Thanks for sounding off on onomatopoeia! And thanks Linda B. for that Old MacDonald help. It really works!

Ruth said...

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing this!

Margaret Simon said...

Onomatopoeia is an awesome word. We try to learn to spell it by chunking into 3 letters. My student Matthew never forgets because it has his name Mat in it.
Love these poems full of sounds. What fun!

Bridget Magee said...

Snap, crackle, pop - my brain synapse came alive with this post, Laura! Thank you for sharing your lesson and your students' work. =)

Mary Lee said...

I LOVE this lesson (and the video clip of "moo")!! I'll be borrowing it!

Irene Latham said...

How fun to work with kids about writing sounds. And they did such a great job! A good reminder to use more sound in poetry (both onomatopoeia and words about sound!).

Joyce Ray said...

Great post, Laura. I think kids love knowing how to use this million dollar word in their writing.

jan godown annino said...

O. My! Whee!
A lifting up, lilting up gift you bring on school computer feet.

Nora E
Chimee E.
Nathan Z
can't become pencil pushing poets
because they are - already!

Thank ye, thank ye.