Monthly Archives: June 2019

Cinquain Poetry with Third Grade

I tried something new this year with third grades for National Poetry Month. We tackled writing cinquain poems.  I read poetry to students during April, having all grades involved with poetry in some way.  April is also the time when third through fifth grades take part in state standardized testing, so I need flexible and fun activities for the students.  I think poetry doesn’t get enough time in the classroom (I heard somewhere that we value what we can test….) so I like putting the spotlight on poetry for all students.

Cinquain Poems-Shape Poetry

A cinquain poem is a type of shape poetry consisting of five lines which forms a symmetrical shape as the writer follows a formula of a certain number of words per line.  I was inspired by a post on the WriteShop website (  I created a graphic organizer so students could follow the directions, brainstorm and be successful.

After explaining what a cinquain poem was, I had a graphic organizer for each student and dictionaries and thesauri on hand at each table.  We worked on the poems for three library visits.  During the first two sessions the students used the graphic organizer to brainstorm and refine their writing.


Final Product

At the last session they rewrote their poem on a new sheet of paper and added art work. They were proud of their poems!








Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Found Poetry Using Magazines – Fifth Grade


During National Poetry Month in April I have each grade level write some type of poetry.  Our state standardized tests are also during April so things have to be flexible and not stressful!  This year I decided to try something different and had the fifth grade students create found poetry using cut out words from magazines.

I must admit, I got a little obsessive about cutting out words.  It was a great activity watching television at night hunting for words.  I almost couldn’t stop and now I have to make myself just recycle that magazine without searching for cool words!

Found Poetry-Words from Magazines

Found poems, according to the website,, take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems.

Anyway…..I cut out a lot of words for the students.  I created a Google Slide with examples of found poems created using cut out words and showed the students.  We discussed what they thought poetry was and how found poems fit into that literary form.

Then I turned them loose with a sheet of copy paper, a glue stick and a whole bunch of words on the tables.  I told them to just start looking for interesting words or words they found exciting.  They were timid at first but after a couple of minutes they got into the hunt.  Then when I said they could get up from their table and walk around to other tables, it really got fun.

Fifth grade students in April can be so blase and cool, but boy, did they get excited. They really seemed to be having a good time. It was an opportunity to be creative, be free, no right or wrong answer and just have fun.  And they did.


Sharing with Padlet

I took a photo of each one and uploaded each classes’ poems to Padlet.  I emailed the link to the teacher (or the students if they asked).  This way they could read their classmates’ poems.

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet

Some of the poems were quite touching.  Some were funny and a few were head scratchers.  I will definitely do this again next year.  In the meantime, I think I see some magazines sitting on the coffee table…..

Leave a comment

Filed under Makerspace Activity, Students using technology, Uncategorized

Summer Gig-Storytime at ESOL Camp

One of my teacher colleagues asked me to be a guest reader at the ESOL summer camp where she is teaching.  I jumped at the chance.  One, I love to read books to children and two, I would get to see some of our ESOL (or ELL-English Language Learner) students.

Their theme was underwater things, so that opened up all sorts of possibilities.  I had to plan for two groups, K-Grade 2 and Gr. 3-5.  So many books to choose from!


I am rarely in any photos as I’m usually the one taking them!

A House for Hermit Crab and More


I settled on A House for Hermit Crab for both groups and filled in a couple extra books depending on the age group.  I designed an activity for the K-Gr. 2 group to go along with the theme in Eric Carle’s book about the hermit crab.  His house is too plain.


Showing my example of my decorated shell.


So after reading the book, I asked the children to decorate their shell with things they liked or however they wanted to make it less plain and boring.  I drew a shell resembling Hermit Crab’s and made copies for everyone.  I also asked them to add themselves inside the shell.  IMG_1512

I also read, Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward and T. J. Marsh.  I love Kenneth J. Spengler’s illustrations (as did the children) and it was good for this age group because of the rhyming words.


Shark Lady and Plankton is Pushy-Grades 3-5

I wanted to hook this older group right away so I started with Jonathan Fenske’s Plankton is Pushy.  I thought they would enjoy the humor and they did!


I followed up with Jess Keating’s biography of Eugenie Clark, Shark Lady.  This short, but engaging story of Clark’s passion for sharks was just right for this age group and setting.


I ended with A House for Hermit Crab, which was also a hit.  I had planned to have them build a house with LEGOS, but time did not permit.

I am definitely going to use these books and activities in the upcoming school year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Makerspace Activity, Uncategorized

Pre-K Visit, Three Little Pigs and Makerspace Activity

IMG_1056We invite all of the county Pre-K classes to attend out International Parade each year.  This year we had about 320 pre-K students watch the parade then visit the school, rotating through kindergarten classrooms, music room, art class, our makerspace and the library.  I decided this year I would include an activity in addtion to reading them a book.

The Three Little Pigs-Paul Galdone version

I really like the Galdone versions of traditional folk tales, especially the Three Little Pigs.  He doesn’t sugar coat the story line; yes, the first and second pigs get eaten (they took the easy way out)!  After reading the book we discussed differences in this book and other versions they may have heard before.

KEVA Planks

I borrowed some KEVA Planks from our school’s makerspace for this activity.  After reading the story, I asked the students to build a house for one of the pigs.  I had them work in pairs and I also invited a couple of third grade students to come to the library to be helping hands.  I instructed the third grade students to only step in if the pre-K children seemed to be struggling.  They were great helpers.

The pre-K children really enjoyed building with the planks.  Some struggled to get things to balance and stay upright, others had more developed fine motor skills.  They were not discouraged if their house fell and they had to start over.  A lot of collaboration and sharing took place while building.

I will definitely repeat this activity with my kindergarten classes in the fall and maybe even first grades as well.IMG_1016IMG_1017IMG_1020

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Makerspace Activity, Uncategorized