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



5-8, Education, K-5, Websites

Bright Ideas for Summer

Read, Write, Think has a page of recommended summer activities that would be good to share with parents.  “Bright Ideas for Summer” includes links to four activities that could be used with students in 2nd-8th grades.  I’m already planning to use “Can You Convince Me?” with my 9 year old daughter!  All of the activities have recommended links, resources, and plans for implementing.  Bookmark this site for something different to do on a hot summer day!

Education, K-12, Social Studies, Teaching Tools, Videos, Websites

Martin Luther King, Jr. Resources

In the United States, many of us will be celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. next Monday.  Here are a few resources that can help our students to understand the impact this great man has had on our nation:

A simple interactive timeline with quotes for younger kids (grades 2-5)

National Geographic for Kids Video – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembered

MLK Animated Video Below (can also be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k6Au81aHuSg#!)  Choose full screen, so comments are not viewable by students.

[vodpod id=Video.15934148&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

The Orange County Register Interactive (one of the many links from Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Websites for Learning about Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Read Write Think – Lesson resources for MLK Day (scroll to the bottom to find more resources for various grade levels)

Education, Writing

My Favorite Online Writing Tools

Many schools are out for the next two weeks, which gives teachers the opportunity to catch up on their personal lives.  Sometimes, though, teachers like to use this time for planning.  As the number of subscribers to this blog climbs, I am aware that many of you may not have had time to read all of the posts, or might have missed some of the earlier suggestions.  So, I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far.  Today, I would like to offer my Favorite Online Writing Tools:

#3 – Writing Prompts – Luke Neff provides this site with wonderful writing prompts usually accompanied by thought-provoking graphics.

#2 – Read Write Think – The student interactives alone on this site make it well worth a visit.  But it is also rich with lesson planning ideas and other resources for teachers and parents.  It’s one of the many sites tied to Thinkfinity, which I featured as one of my favorite teaching tools.

#1 – Storybird – I cannot say enough good things about this site, which allows students to create stories from sets of illustrations provided on the site.  Students can comment on each other’s work, parents can view the stories online or even purchase published products of their children’s masterpieces.  I have had several students who thoroughly dislike writing suddenly plunge themselves into weaving tales on Storybird.  One of them even wrote a thank you note to me for introducing him to the site.  This is, by far, one of my favorite discoveries this year.

If you are interested in reading my original posts on each of these resources, please click on the following:  Writing Prompts, Read Write Think (part of my post on Thinkfinity), and Storybird.