Use GollyGee Blocks to write and illustrate a short poem
Grades 4-6

A poem is a distinctive form of creative writing that incorporates sound, imagery, and rhythm. Poems can be as long as epics or as short as two-line epigrams. Some poems are based on intricate patterns of rhyme and meter, while others, such as free verse and blank verse, use less conventional formats or no formats.

All poems should make use of the sounds of words and syllables to create an effect and the use of imagery to create a picture or mood in the reader's mind. Poems about personal experiences or feelings will aim to create a different picture than poems about an inanimate object. Personal poems may be quite serious in tone and in the picture they create, while poems about other topics may be serious or whimsical.

Books of different kinds of poetry for children should be available. Students may also wish to work out their poem with pencil and paper before using the Blocks.

The teacher reads examples of short poems (see web site recommendations if desired). The selection should include poems that rhyme as well as free verse, and they should cover a variety of topics.

A brief discussion of the poems should center around the pictures that each poem creates in the listeners' minds.

Students use the Blocks (including the ABC tool) to write a short poem and illustrate it. Limitations should be placed on the length of the poem. The teacher can also specify if the poem should rhyme or not, and if the poem should have a specified theme.

Students are evaluated on their poems for sound and imagery in language and for each poem's success in conveying its theme.

The Blocks pictures are assessed for their consistency with the imagery of the poems they depict.

If rhyme scheme or a theme has been specified, then students are also evaluated on how well they have followed that instruction.

Students are instructed to use the Blocks to write and illustrate a haiku. This Japanese form of poetry contains seventeen syllables in three lines in the following arrangement: the first line has five syllables, the second has seven syllables, and the last line has five syllables.

Students who are receiving instruction in a second language are asked to write a short (two- or three-line) poem in this new language and to illustrate it accordingly.

Students are asked to create an epigram and to illustrate it with the Blocks. An epigram should be a pithy observation on life, such as Oscar Wilde's ``Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes," or Martial's ``The good man prolongs his life; to be able to enjoy one's past life is to live twice."

The teacher reads a short poem to the class and asks each student to develop a personal interpretation by using the Blocks to illustrate the poem.

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