Acrostic Poem

ag_english_acrostic

Write and illustrate an acrostic poem in 3D
Grades 2-6

Introduction
An acrostic poem is a form of nonrhyming poetry in which the first or last letters of each line spell a vertical word or phrase that forms the theme. The horizontal lines of poetry describe the theme. Often, the theme of an acrostic poem is a proper name. For example:

R arely
O bnoxious
L oves to laugh
A nd
N ever
D rives badly

Lewis Carroll wrote a number of acrostic poems in which he used girls' names as the vertical element. His poems differed from more modern acrostic poems in that (1) they did rhyme and (2) the lines of the poems had a theme that differed from the girls' names that they spelled out. Some examples of Carroll's acrostics can be found on the web at http://www.4literature.net/Lewis_Carroll.

Preparation
Students may also wish to work out their poem with pencil and paper before using the Blocks.

Procedure
The teacher explains the format of acrostic poems and presents some brief examples.
The teacher assigns a theme for an acrostic poem, such as each student's name or an animal. Students should be encouraged to think about the characteristics they want to describe or express before attempting to fit them into the format. The emphasis should be on genuine expression within the format, rather than on the format determining the expression.
Students use the Blocks (including the ABC tool) to write an acrostic poem and illustrate it.


Evaluation
Students' acrostic poems are evaluated for imagery in language and for how well they convey the theme within the correct format.
Print outs of Blocks scenes are assessed for their consistency with the imagery of the poems they depict.


Extensions
Students are paired up, and each student is instructed to interview his or her partner. Using the Blocks, students then write and illustrate an acrostic poem about their partner, with the name of the partner serving as the vertical element in the poem. (This is a good activity at the beginning of the year.)

Students who are receiving instruction in a second language are asked to use the Blocks to write an acrostic poem in this new language and to illustrate it accordingly.

Acrostic poems can be used to explore student reactions to a story or a current or historical event. For instance, the teacher can read a sad story out loud or assign such a story to students. Their reactions can then be expressed in the form of acrostic poems, using the Blocks to write and illustrate. A historical event that students are studying might also be examined from the point of view of those who lived through it. Thus, students studying the 1920s and the Great Depression might be asked to create an acrostic poem for DEPRESSION to illustrate the feelings of those living at that time.

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