Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing an Alphabet Poem

A simple poem structure can still let you, as the teacher, explore a number of poetic elements. Here I look at using the alphabet poem. Often thought of as over simplistic, this poem will grab all of your students' attention. They will laugh outloud as they explore the different sound effects. All writers, from the weakest to the most boyish, will be happy to have a go.The individual lines are sophisticated enough to stretch the most able of children.You will find the poem linked below with a writing scaffolding template linked as well. Alternatively I have often just put the first few lines on the board (IWB or hand--written) and the structure speaks for itself.

Start a lesson by asking children if they have ever made a sound for a gun while playing a game. Go around the class listening to suggested sounds and phonetically transcribe the sounds on the board for all to see.

Introduce the next poem as about an alien that comes to earth in a spaceship and shoots lots of different things before returning to space. Ask the children to think about the size of the things that the Gwolsh shoots and to decide if this might give an idea to the size of the Gwolsh.

Read A Gwolsh with a Gun by Tricky McDee.

Using the Poem

  1. Look at the structure of the poem - identify the alphabetic pattern
  2. Look at the pattern from line to line where the alphabetic pattern starts (sound effect first word, three words of alliteration, animal/object in the middle of line, effect or what happens on the end)
  3. Spot changes to the pattern - does it matter?
  4. Write their own part to the poem using the writing scaffolding frame here
  5. older or higher ability children can attempt the writing scaffolding without seeing the original poem
Follow Up

Sound effects are for saying out loud. The children should read the poems putting as much effort into making their sound effect words as possible.

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