3-12, Creative Thinking, Education, Student Products, Writing

Tried and True – Parallel Poetry

an example of Parallel Poetry done by one of my 4th grade students
an example of Parallel Poetry done by one of my 4th grade students

On this blog, I tend to post about a lot of ideas that I find, and some readers don’t always get a chance to know if I ever tried them – or if they were complete flops.  This week, I want to feature a few past ideas that I did try and that were successful – and that I definitely want to do again.

If you teach a poetry unit, I strongly urge you to check out this post that I did on Parallel Poetry.  It has definitely been one of my “Tried and True” lessons throughout the years for me, and I am always delighted by the results from my students.  I felt so strongly about the power of this activity that I submitted it to Ian Byrd for his Byrdseed TV.  (You need a subscription to view the full lesson.)

While we are talking about poetry, I would also direct you to Newspaper Blackout Poetry if you have never tried it.  This past year was our first attempt, and I definitely plan to do it again.

3-12, Education, Language Arts, Reading, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites, Writing

Parallel Poetry

Update 4/11/2022: This poetry lesson, along with many others, appears in my Poetry Wakelet collection. Click here to find more free ideas!

I don’t often repeat lessons from one year to the next.  But this has been one of my favorites to use with my 4th grade GT students during my career.  The only change I made this year was to integrate it with some technology lessons on using Google Drive – specifically the Presentations.

In 4th grade, we read Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt, which is rich with wonderful examples of figurative language.  It’s truly one of the most poetic pieces of prose that I have ever read, and I delight in the author’s descriptive phrases each year – though I’ve read it over 14 times.

I’m not sure if it’s the age or the GT-ness of my students, but I always have a high percentage of reluctant writers in 4th grade.  The Found/Parallel Poetry lesson on ReadWriteThink, however, seems to bring out the most amazing ideas from nearly every one.

After going over the figurative language in the story (here is one Haiku Deck lesson we did at the beginning to practice), I ask the students to pick one of their favorite paragraphs from the novel.  They write the paragraph, and then I tell them to take it apart – get rid of extraneous words and punctuation.  Then they “move the words” to create lines that have a rhythm.  The result is their “Found” poem.  You can see an example here from the ReadWriteThink site.

Then, it’s time to create a “Parallel” poem.  Mimicking the rhythm of the “Found” poem, but writing about a completely different topic that is relevant to them, the students compose something in their own words.

Here are some of this year’s examples (Click on each slide to enlarge.):

Plane Ride