Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Composing Cinquain Poems: A Quick-Writing Activity

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Composing Cinquain Poems: A Quick-Writing Activity

Grades 1 – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time One 60-minute session
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction & Activities


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • write a poem about another topic, using the cinquain graphic organizer or outline.

  • use words learned in the current thematic unit in poems they write.

back to top


Instruction & Activities

  1. Share examples of cinquain with your students. Using the Sample Cinquains handout or poems that you have written yourself on the topic that your students are exploring is also available.

  2. You or the students might read the poems aloud. Try reading some of the cinquain more than once to show how different words can be emphasize and to talk about line breaks. See "Joyful Noises: Creating Poems for Voices and Ears" (Apol and Harris, March 1999) for more information on reading poetry aloud.

  3. Outline the cinquain (below) for students on the board or using the graphic organizer:
    To begin, choose an person, place, or thing to write your cinquain about.

    Line 1: One word that tells what the poem is about
    Line 2: Two words that describe the subject
    Line 3: Three words that describe something the subject does
    Line 4: Four to six words describing the subject further
    Line 5: One or two words that rename what the poem is about (a synonym)

    Here's an example:

    spotted, happy
    running, barking, jumping
    a wagging tail on the end
    Fire Dog!
    (See graphic organizers or the Sample Cinquains handout for more examples)

  4. Once you and your students discuss the poems, students can use one of the Cinquain Graphic Organizer printouts to compose original poems of their own. Students can work individually, with partners, or in small groups.

  5. Once students have finished their poems, the cinquains can be shared with the entire class.

back to top



  • Make stapleless books out of the cinquain.

  • Illustrate the cinquain on a sheet of paper with colored pencils or fine-line markers.

  • Create a bulletin board or school website anthology of your cinquain.

back to top



  • While students work, use kidwatching techniques to observe and monitor students' progress.

  • Once the activity is completed, provide verbal feedback as individuals or groups share their work with the class. Commentary might focus on the students' feelings about the person, place , or thing described in the cinquain (e.g., "Your poem suggests that you really love your dog. Was it hard to choose just what to say in just five lines?), particularly interesting word choice (e.g., "You choose the word stubborn to describe your dog. Can you tell me something stubborn that your dog has done recently?"), and your own reaction or connection to the poems (e.g., "Your poem reminds me of my first dog, Taffi. Especially when you say that your dog is "a playful bundle of trouble." That's a good description of a puppy.")

  • After students have shared their cinquain with the class, students could reflect on their own and their classmates's poems. Students could discuss their reactions out loud or use the cinquain reflections worksheet to record their thoughts.

back to top